Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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"Baton Rouge" redirects here. For the film by Rachid Bouchareb, see Bâton rouge (film). For the restaurant, see Baton Rouge (restaurant).
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
City
City of Baton Rouge
Flag of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Flag
Official seal of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Seal
Nickname(s): Red Stick, The Capital City, B.R
Location in East Baton Rouge Parish and the state of Louisiana.
Location in East Baton Rouge Parish and the state of Louisiana.
Baton Rouge is located in USA
Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 30°26′55″N 91°07′33″W / 30.44861°N 91.12583°W / 30.44861; -91.12583
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Parish East Baton Rouge Parish
Founded 1719
Incorporated 16 January 1817
Government
 • Mayor Melvin "Kip" Holden (D)
Area
 • City 79.11 sq mi (204.89 km2)
 • Land 76.8 sq mi (199 km2)
 • Water 2.2 sq mi (5.7 km2)  2.81%
Elevation 56 ft (17 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • City 229,553
 • Estimate (2013)[2] 229,426
 • Rank US: 93th
 • Density 2,964.7/sq mi (1,144.8/km2)
 • Urban 594,309 (US: 68th)
 • Metro 820,159 (US: 69th)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 70821
Area code(s) 225
Website City of Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge (/ˌbætən ˈrʒ/), French for "Red Stick," (French: Bâton-Rouge [batɔ̃ ʁuʒ] ( )) is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana and its second-largest city. The seat of East Baton Rouge Parish, the city is located on the banks of the Mississippi River.

As the "Capital City," Baton Rouge is the political hub for Louisiana,[3] and is the second largest metropolitan city in the state with a growing population of 229,426 people as of 2013.[4] The metropolitan area surrounding the city, known as Greater Baton Rouge, has a population of 820,159 people as of 2013.[4] The urban area has around 594,309 inhabitants.

Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture,[5] and growing technology[6] center of the American South. The Port of Baton Rouge is the ninth largest in the United States in terms of tonnage shipped, and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling Panamax ships.[7][8]

The Baton Rouge area owes its historical importance to its site upon the Istrouma Bluff, the first natural bluff upriver from the Mississippi River Delta, that provided the city’s residents a safe business quarter from flooding. In addition, the city built a levee system stretching from the bluff southward to protect the riverfront and low-lying agricultural areas. The city is a culturally rich center, having lived under seven different governments: French, English, Spanish, West Floridian, Louisiana, Confederate, and American.

History[edit]

Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville provided Baton Rouge as well as Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas their current names

Beginnings[edit]

The European-American history of Baton Rouge dates from 1699, when French explorer Sieur d'Iberville leading an exploration party up the Mississippi River saw a reddish cypress pole festooned with bloody animals that marked the boundary between the Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds. They called the pole and its location le bâton rouge, or the red stick. The local Native American name for the site was Istrouma. (See Creek War for discussion of Red Sticks as related to Creek group.)

From evidence found along the Mississippi, Comite, and Amite rivers, and in three Native American mounds remaining in the city, archaeologists have been able to date indigenous habitation of the Baton Rouge area to 8000 BC.[9] The mounds were built by hunter-gatherer societies in the Middle Archaic period, perhaps as early as 4500 BC, more than a thousand years before the pyramids of Egypt were begun.[10]

The settlement of Baton Rouge by Europeans began in 1719 when Baton Rouge was established as a military post by the French. During the French colonial period, most settlement and agricultural development was concentrated in the area of New Orleans, which became a port for the colony.

Since European settlement, Baton Rouge has been governed by France, Britain, Spain, Louisiana, the Florida Republic, the Confederate States, and the United States. In 1755, when French-speaking settlers of Acadia in Canada's Maritime provinces were driven into exile by British forces, many took up residence in rural Louisiana. Popularly known as Cajuns, the descendants of the Acadians maintained a separate culture that immeasurably enriched the Baton Rouge area. During the first half of the 19th century, the city grew steadily as the result of steamboat trade and transportation.

Incorporated in 1817, Baton Rouge became Louisiana's state capitol in 1849. The architect James Dakin was hired to design the Capitol building in Baton Rouge. Rather than mimic the federal Capitol in Washington, as many other states had done, he designed a Neo-Gothic medieval cathedral, complete with turrets and crenellations, and stained glass, which overlooks the Mississippi. It has been described as the "most distinguished example of Gothic Revival" architecture in the state.[11]

By the outbreak of the Civil War, the population of Baton Rouge was 5,500. The war halted economic progress and the Union Army occupied Baton Rouge in the spring of 1862. The Confederates at first consolidated their forces elsewhere, during which time the state government was moved to Opelousas and later Shreveport. In the summer of 1862, about 2,600 Confederate troops under generals John C. Breckinridge (the former Vice President of the United States) and Daniel Ruggles attempted in vain to recapture Baton Rouge. After the war, New Orleans served as the seat of the Reconstruction-era state government. When the Bourbon Democrats regained power in 1882, they returned the state government to Baton Rouge, where it has since remained.

Map of Baton Rouge in 1863

Karl Baedeker in his 1893 guidebook described Baton Rouge as "the Capital of Louisiana, a quaint old place with 10,378 inhabitants, on a bluff above the Mississippi."[12]

Today[edit]

In the 1950s and 1960s, Baton Rouge experienced a boom in the petrochemical industry, causing the city to expand away from the original center. In recent years, government and business have begun a move back to the central district. A building boom that began in the 1990s continues today, with multi-million dollar projects for quality of life improvements and new construction happening all over the city.

In the 2000s (decade), Baton Rouge has proven to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the South in terms of technology. Baton Rouge's population temporarily exploded after Hurricane Katrina, as it accepted as many as 200,000 displaced residents. Metropolitan Baton Rouge is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. (under 1 million), with 602,894 in 2000 and 802,484 people as of the 2010 census.[13] Some estimates indicate that the Baton Rouge metro area could reach 900,000 residents as soon as 2013.[14]

The city has a mix of the cultures found throughout Louisiana, from which it developed its motto: "Authentic Louisiana at every turn".[15]

Geography and climate[edit]

Baton Rouge as viewed from the International Space Station

Baton Rouge is located at 30°27′29″N 91°8′25″W / 30.45806°N 91.14028°W / 30.45806; -91.14028 (30.45, −91.14) on the banks of the Mississippi River in Southeastern Louisiana.[16] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 79.1 square miles (204.9 km2), of which 76.8 square miles (198.9 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (2.81%) is water.

The city is located in the Mississippi River Delta on the first set of bluffs north of the delta's coastal plains. Because of its prominent location along the river and on the bluffs, which prevents flooding, the French built a fort in the city in 1719.[17]

Baton Rouge is the third southmost capital city in the continental United States, after Austin, Texas and Tallahassee, Florida.

Tallest buildings[edit]

Downtown Baton Rouge
JP Morgan Chase Building and Riverside Tower

Baton Rouge's tallest buildings are as follows:[18][19]

Name Stories Height
Louisiana State Capitol (Capitol Park; tallest state capitol building in the U.S.) 34 450 ft (137 m)
One American Place 24 310 ft (94 m)
JPMorgan Chase Tower (Chase) 21 277 ft (84 m)
Riverside Tower North (Chase) 20 229 ft (70 m)
Marriott Hotel Baton Rouge 22 224 ft (68 m)

Neighborhoods[edit]

Baton Rouge has many neighborhoods both inside and outside the city limits:

Houses in the University Lakes neighborhood
  • Arbor Walk
  • Banks
  • Beechwood
  • Belfair
  • Beauregard Town
  • Bird Station (Old)
  • Bird Station (New)
  • Bocage
  • The Bottom
  • Broadmoor
  • Brookstown
  • Brownfields
  • Camelot
  • Capital Heights
  • Cedarcrest
  • Centurion Place
  • Concord
  • Country Club of Louisiana
  • Dixie
  • Eden Park
  • Easytown
  • Fairfields
  • Froggy Mo
  • Gardere
  • Garden District
  • Goodwood
  • Glen Oaks
  • Ghosttown
  • Greendale
  • Inniswold
  • Hickory Ridge
  • Jefferson Terrace
  • Kenilworth
  • Lake Beau Pré
  • Lakes at Highland [20]
  • Mall City
  • Magnolia Woods
  • Mayfair
  • Mcdonald land
  • Melrose Place
  • Merrydale
  • Mid-City
  • Millerville
  • Monticello
  • North Gate
  • North Sherwood
  • Northdale
  • Oak Hills Place
  • Ogden Park
  • Old Hermitage
  • Old Jefferson
  • Orleans Place
  • Parkview Oaks
  • Parktown
  • Pelican Bay
  • Pollard Estates
  • Riverbend
  • Riverdale
  • River Oaks
  • River Oaks East
  • Santa Maria
  • Scotlandville
  • Shenandoah
  • Sherwood Forest
  • South Baton Rouge
  • Southdowns
  • Southern Heights
  • Spanish Town
  • Stratford Place
  • Tara
  • Tigerland
  • The Avenue's
  • The Field
  • The Lake
  • The Maryland
  • University Acres
  • University Club
  • University Gardens
  • University Hills
  • University Lakes
  • Wedgewood
  • Westdale Heights
  • Westminster
  • White Oak Landing
  • Woodgate
  • Woodlawn Estates
  • Woodlands
  • Woodstone
  • Valley Park
  • Victoria Gardens
  • Villa Del Rey
  • Village St. George
  • Zion City

Climate[edit]

Baton Rouge has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with mild winters, hot and humid summers, moderate to heavy rainfall, and the possibility of damaging winds and tornadoes yearlong. The area's average precipitation is 55.55 inches (1,411 mm) of rain and 0.1 inches (0.25 cm) inches of snow annually. With ample precipitation, Baton Rouge is fifth on the list of wettest cities in the United States. Snow in the Baton Rouge area is usually rare, although it snowed in three consecutive years recently: on December 11, 2008, on December 4, 2009 and on February 12, 2010.

The yearly average temperature for Baton Rouge is 67.5 °F (19.7 °C) while the average temperature for January is 51.21 °F (10.67 °C) and August is 80.54 °F (26.97 °C). The area is usually free from extremes in temperature with some cold winter fronts but those are usually brief.[21]

Baton Rouge's proximity to the coastline exposes the metropolitan region to hurricanes. On September 1, 2008, Hurricane Gustav struck the city and would become the worst hurricane ever to hit the Baton Rouge area. Winds topped 100 mph (160 km/h), knocking down trees and powerlines and making roads impassable. The roofs of many buildings suffered tree damage, especially in the Highland Road, Garden District, and Goodwood areas. The city was shut down for five days and a curfew was put in effect. Rooftop shingles were ripped off, signs blown down, and minor structural damage occurred.

Climate data for Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Metropolitan Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 85
(29)
88
(31)
93
(34)
96
(36)
101
(38)
103
(39)
103
(39)
110
(43)
104
(40)
98
(37)
89
(32)
88
(31)
110
(43)
Average high °F (°C) 62.3
(16.8)
65.7
(18.7)
72.7
(22.6)
79.3
(26.3)
86.2
(30.1)
90.9
(32.7)
92.2
(33.4)
92.5
(33.6)
88.7
(31.5)
80.8
(27.1)
71.9
(22.2)
64.1
(17.8)
78.9
(26.1)
Average low °F (°C) 41.2
(5.1)
44.5
(6.9)
50.3
(10.2)
56.8
(13.8)
65.2
(18.4)
71.4
(21.9)
73.7
(23.2)
73.4
(23)
68.5
(20.3)
57.9
(14.4)
48.9
(9.4)
42.7
(5.9)
57.9
(14.4)
Record low °F (°C) 9
(−13)
2
(−17)
20
(−7)
31
(−1)
40
(4)
53
(12)
58
(14)
58
(14)
43
(6)
30
(−1)
21
(−6)
8
(−13)
2
(−17)
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.72
(145.3)
5.04
(128)
4.41
(112)
4.46
(113.3)
4.89
(124.2)
6.41
(162.8)
4.96
(126)
5.82
(147.8)
4.54
(115.3)
4.70
(119.4)
4.10
(104.1)
5.60
(142.2)
60.65
(1,540.4)
Snowfall inches (cm) 0
(0)
0.2
(0.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.2
(0.5)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.9 8.8 8.3 7.5 7.9 12.1 12.9 11.8 8.5 7.5 8.5 9.1 112.8
 % humidity 62 75 73 73.5 74 75 76 78 77.5 75 72.7 73.5 76.5
Source: NOAA [22] The Weather Channel (record temperatures) [23]

National Protected Areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Baton Rouge City Hall (formerly the Governmental Building)
Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,269
1850 3,905 72.1%
1860 5,428 39.0%
1870 6,498 19.7%
1880 7,197 10.8%
1890 10,478 45.6%
1900 11,259 7.5%
1910 14,897 32.3%
1920 21,782 46.2%
1930 30,729 41.1%
1940 34,719 13.0%
1950 125,629 261.8%
1960 152,419 21.3%
1970 165,963 8.9%
1980 219,419 32.2%
1990 219,531 0.1%
2000 227,818 3.8%
2010 229,553 0.8%
Est. 2013 229,426 −0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[24]
2013 Estimate[2]

As of the census of 2010, there were 229,553 people; per the 2010 census, 88,973 households, and 52,672 families residing in the city. The 2000 population density was 2,964.8 people per square mile (1,144.7/km²). There were 97,388 housing units at an average density of 1,267.3 per square mile (489.4/km²). According to the 2010 the racial makeup of the city was 50.4% Black or African American, 40.8% White, 0.5% Native American, 3.5% Asian, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 3.5% of the population. Non-Hispanic Whites were 37.8% of the population,[25] down from 70.5% in 1970.[26]

Of all households, 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.8% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,368, and the median income for a family was $40,266. Males had a median income of $34,893 versus $23,115 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,512. About 18.0% of families and 24.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those ages 65 or over.

At the 2005–2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, 32.4% of the population had a Bachelor's degree or higher.

Economy[edit]

Baton Rouge enjoys a strong economy that has helped the city be ranked as one of the "Top 10 Places for Young Adults" in 2010 by Portfolio Magazine[27] and one of the top 20 cities in North America for economic strength by Brookings.[28] In 2009, the city was ranked as the 9th best place in the country to start a new business by CNN.[29] The city is home to one Fortune 500 company and one Fortune 1000 company, including Shaw Group.[30] Lamar Advertising Company has its headquarters in Baton Rouge.[31]

Baton Rouge is the farthest inland port on the Mississippi River that can accommodate ocean-going tankers and cargo carriers. The ships transfer their cargo (grain, crude, cars, containers) at Baton Rouge onto rails and pipelines (to travel east-west) or barges (to travel north). Deep-draft vessels cannot pass the Old Huey Long Bridge because the clearance is insufficient, and the river depth decreases significantly just to the north, near Port Hudson.[32]

Baton Rouge's largest industry is petrochemical production and manufacturing. The ExxonMobil facility in Baton Rouge is the second-largest oil refinery in the country; it is among the world's 10 largest. Baton Rouge also has rail, highway, pipeline, and deep water access.[33]

ExxonMobil oil refinery seen from the Capitol tower

Albemarle is headquartered in Baton Rouge. Dow Chemical Company has a large plant in Iberville Parish near Plaquemine.[34] NanYa Technology Corporation has a large facility in North Baton Rouge that makes PVC and CPVC pipes. Shaw Construction, Turner, and Harmony all started with performing construction work at these plants.

CB&I local office on Essen Lane, a commercial office corridor

As well as being the state capital and parish seat, the city is also the home of Louisiana State University. One of the largest single employers in Baton Rouge is the state government, which recently consolidated all branches of state government downtown at the "Capitol Park" complex.[35]

The research hospitals Our Lady of the Lake, Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital (affiliated with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital), Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, and Earl K. Long, helped by an emerging medical corridor at Essen Lane/Summa Avenue/Bluebonnet Boulevard, are positioning Baton Rouge to eventually support a medical district similar to the Texas Medical Center. LSU and Tulane have both announced plans to construct satellite medical campuses in Baton Rouge to partner with Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center and Baton Rouge General Medical Center, respectively.[29]

Southeastern Louisiana University and Our Lady of the Lake College both have nursing schools in the medical district off Essen Lane. Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center, which conducts clinical and biological research, also contributes to research-related employment in the area around the Baton Rouge medical district.

The film industry in Louisiana has increased dramatically in the last decade, in response to generous tax incentives adopted by the state in 2002. In September 2013 the Baton Rouge Film Commission reported that the industry had brought more than $90 million into the local economy in 2013.[36] Baton Rouge's largest production facility is the Celtic Media Centre, opened in 2006 by a local group in collaboration with Raleigh Studios of Los Angeles; Raleigh dropped its involvement in 2014.[37]

Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[38] the top employers in the city were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 State of Louisiana 26,259
2 Turner Industries 9,671
3 East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools 5,995
4 Louisiana State University 5,600
5 City of Baton Rouge - Parish of East Baton Rouge 4,349
6 ExxonMobil Chemical - Baton Rouge Refinery 4,275
7 The Shaw Group 4,243
8 Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center 4,009
9 Performance Contractors 3,500
10 Baton Rouge General Medical Center 3,000

Culture[edit]

Baton Rouge is the middle ground of South Louisiana cultures, having a mix of Cajun and Creole Catholics and Baptists of the Florida Parishes and South Mississippi. Baton Rouge is a college city with Baton Rouge Community College, Louisiana State University, Our Lady of the Lake College, and Southern University whose students make up some 20% of the city population. There is a sizable international population of about 11,300, the largest of which are people of Hispanic or Vietnamese descent. Due to this, Baton Rouge has come to have a unique culture as well as be a representation of many different heritages.[39]

Arts and theater[edit]

Baton Rouge has an expanding visual arts scene, which is centered downtown. This increasing collection of venues includes the Shaw Center for the Arts.[40] Opened in 2005, this award-winning facility houses the Brunner Gallery, LSU Museum of Art, the Manship Theatre, a contemporary art gallery, traveling exhibits, and several eateries. Another prominent facility is the Louisiana Art and Science Museum (LASM),[41] which contains Irene W. Pennington Planetarium, traveling art exhibits, space displays, and an ancient Egyptian section. Several smaller art galleries, including the Baton Rouge Gallery, offering a range of local art are scattered throughout the city.

The city has several designated arts & cultural districts,[42] the most prominent of which are the Mid-City Cultural District and the Perkins Road Arts District. These districts provide tax incentives, mostly in the form of exempting state tax on purchases, to promote cultural activity in these areas.

There is also an emerging performance arts scene. LSU's Swine Palace is the foremost theatre company in the city, largely made up of students of LSU's MFA acting program, as well as professional actors and stage managers.[43] There is also a budding group of physical theatre and circus artists at LSU, who most recently traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland in Summer 2012 to perform Dante in the world's largest Fringe Festival. The show ran in Baton Rouge before going to Fringe, and featured movement, acrobatics, and aerial silk.[44]

The Baton Rouge Little Theater offers a diverse selection of live theatre performances. Opera Louisiane is Baton Rouge's newest and only professional opera company. The Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre is Baton Rouge's professional dance company. The Nutcracker – A Tale from the Bayou sets the familiar holiday classic in 19th-century Louisiana and has become a Baton Rouge holiday tradition. A Tale from the Bayou features professional dancers, a live orchestra and more than 300 area children.[45][46]

Performing venues include the Baton Rouge River Center, Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, which seats approximately 1900, the Manship Theatre, which is located in the Shaw Center for the Arts and seats 350, as well as the Reilly Theater which is home to Swine Palace, a non-profit professional theater company associated with the Louisiana State University Department of Theatre.

In addition, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra has been in service for 61 years, and currently operates at the River Center Music Hall downtown.[47] Today, there are over 60 concerts annually performed by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra directed by Timothy Muffitt and David Torns.[47] The BRSO's educational component, the Louisiana Youth Orchestra, made its debut in 1984 and currently includes almost 180 musicians under the age of 20.[48]

Events[edit]

Many events take place throughout the year. Every year Baton Rouge hosts many Mardi Gras parades, the largest one being held in historic Spanish Town. Other festivals include FestforAll, Louisiana Earth Day, Mardi Gras season, the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Bayou Country Superfest,[49] and Red Stick International Animation Festival.[50]

Miss USA 2014[edit]

Miss Louisiana USA Brittany Guidry, Miss USA 2014, Preliminary Evening Gown Competition

The 2014 Miss USA competition took over downtown Baton Rouge as Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada USA, took home the crown, with Miss Louisiana USA Brittany Guidry, coming close to the win with the third runner-up spot and fourth overall. Veteran pageant host Giuliana Rancic and MSNBC news anchor Thomas Roberts introduced the 51 contestants before judges whittled them down to 20 semi-finalists to compete in the swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions. Cosmo weighed in on the contest, complimenting home state girl Miss Louisiana.[51] Celebrity judges including actress Rumer Willis, NBA star Karl Malone, singer Lance Bass and actor Ian Ziering.[52] In its 62 year history, this was the first year viewers got to vote to keep one of their favorite contestants in the top six by tweeting the hashtag #SaveTheQueen bringing the pageant into the modern age of social media. Baton Rouge was also the site of the 2005 Miss Teen USA Pageant. “The hospitality shown to us while we were there was second to none,” Paula Shugart (Miss USA President), said. “The sense of community that Baton Rouge has is incredibly inspiring.[53]

Libraries[edit]

The State Library of Louisiana is in Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Library Commission in 1920. This would later become the State Library of Louisiana. The State Library provides Louisiana residents with millions of items with its collections, electronic resources and the statewide network for lending. This allows the library to fulfill all requests from its citizens.[54]

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library System has 14 local libraries with one main library and 13 community libraries. The main library at Goodwood houses genealogy and local history archives. The library system is an entity of the city-parish government. The system has been in operation since 1939. It is governed by the EBR Parish government and directed by the Library Board of Control. The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council appoints the seven member board and then the Board appoints a Director. According to its website, all branches are open seven days a week to assist the public with everything from reference and information to computer access.[55]

The Louisiana State Archives’ Main Research Library is located in Baton Rouge as well. It houses general history books, census indexes, immigration schedules, church records and family histories. The Library also has a computerized database of more than two million names that has various information about these people including census info, marriage info and social security filing info.[56]

Tourism and recreation[edit]

There are many architectural points of interest in Baton Rouge, ranging from antebellum to modern. The neo-gothic Old Louisiana State Capitol was built in the 1890s as the first state house in Baton Rouge and was later replaced by the 450 feet (137 m) tall, art-deco New Louisiana State Capitol which was the tallest building in the South when it was completed. Several plantation homes in the area such as Magnolia Mound Plantation House, Myrtles Plantation, and Nottoway Plantation showcase antebellum-era architecture. Louisiana State University has over 250 buildings in Italian Renaissance style, one of the nation's largest college stadiums, and is endowed with many live oaks. Several examples of modern and contemporary buildings are downtown, including the Capitol Park Museum.[57][58] A number of structures, including the Baton Rouge River Center, Louisiana State Library, LSU Student Union, Louisiana Naval Museum, Bluebonnet Swamp Interpretive Center, Louisiana Arts and Sciences Center, Louisiana State Archive and Research Library, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, were designed by local architect John Desmond.[59] Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Company Depot, currently houses the Louisiana Art and Science Museum.[60]

USS Kidd (DD-661) located downtown on the river. Part of the Louisiana Naval Museum

Museums around town offer a variety of genres. The Capitol Park Museum and the Old Louisiana State Capitol Museum display information on state history and have many interactive exhibits. The Shaw Center for the Arts showcases and the Louisiana Art and Science Museum showcase varied arts. LASM also includes science exhibits and a planetarium. Other museums include the LSU Museum of Natural Science and the USS Kidd.

Other attractions include the Mall at Cortana and the Mall of Louisiana (Louisiana's two largest malls) and Perkins Rowe, amusement parks of Dixie Landin'/ Blue Bayou, and dining at the Louisiana-cuisine restaurants.

Sports[edit]

College sports play a major role in the culture of Baton Rouge. The LSU Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars are local college American football teams. College baseball, basketball and gymnastics are also popular.[61][62]

Baton Rouge has a rugby team, the Baton Rouge Redfish 7, which began playing in 1977 and has won numerous conference championships. Currently, the team competes in the Deep South Rugby Union as a Division II team.[63] It also has an Australian rules football team, the Baton Rouge Tigers, which began playing in 2004 competes in the USAFL. The city's minor-league soccer team, the Capitals, play in the PDL[64] (USL Premier Development League). Currently, the team plays home games in Olympia Stadium.[65] The city is also home to the National Hockey League 14[clarification needed] team called the Baton Rouge Blazers.

Nottoway Plantation Located near White Castle, Louisiana

Parks and recreation[edit]

Baton Rouge has an extensive park collection run through BREC (The Recreation & Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge). The largest park is City Park near LSU and is currently undergoing a complete remodeling. The Baton Rouge Zoo is run through BREC and includes 1800+ species.[66]

Government[edit]

The City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge has been run by a consolidated government since 1947, which combined the City of Baton Rouge government with the rural areas of the parish. The City and Parish are served by the Metropolitan Council and the Mayor-President. BRgov.com is the official government website for the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge.[67]

Mayor-President[edit]

Mayor-President, Melvin L. "Kip" Holden

The Mayor-President is the Mayor of the City of Baton Rouge and the President of East Baton Rouge Parish. The Mayor-President's duties include setting the agenda for the government and managing the government's day-to-day functions. He is also responsible for supervising departments, as well as appointing the department heads. The Mayor is unable to set the city's public policy because that is the role of the Metropolitan Council. However, the Mayor-President does have some influence on the public policy by who he appoints and his relationships with Council members.

The current Mayor-President of Baton Rouge is Kip Holden. He was first elected in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.[67][68]

Metropolitan Council[edit]

A map of East Baton Rouge Parish districts

When the city and parish combined government, the city and parish councils consolidated to form the East Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan Council. The Metro Council is made up of 12 district council members with one member being elected to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore.

The Metro Council is the legislative branch of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. The Mayor Pro Tem presides over the council's meetings and acts as the Mayor-President if he/she is unable to be present. The council members serve four year terms and can hold office for three terms.

The Metro Council's main responsibilities are setting the policy for the government, passing legislation and approving the city's budget. The Council makes policies for the following: the City and Parish General Funds, all districts created by the Council, the Greater Baton Rouge Airport District, the Public Transportation Commission, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sewerage Control Commission and the Greater Baton Rouge Parking Authority.[67]

The current council members are Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler Loupe, Trae Welch, Chauna Banks-Daniel, Scott Wilson, Ronnie Edwards, Donna Collins-Lewis, C. Denise Marcelle, Buddy Amoroso, Joel Boé, Tara Wicker, Ryan Heck, John Delgado.

Federal Representation[edit]

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Central Post Office is located at 750 Florida Street in Downtown Baton Rouge.[69]

Education[edit]

Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, generally known as Louisiana State University or LSU, is a public, coeducational university that is the main campus of the Louisiana State University System. LSU includes nine senior colleges and three schools, in addition to specialized centers, divisions, institutes, and offices. Enrollment stands at over 32,000 students, with 1,300 full-time faculty members. LSU is also one of 21 American universities designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant research center. In order to reverse decades of underfunding, the university recently launched an ambitious fundraising drive, called the "Forever LSU" campaign.

Memorial Tower at LSU

Southern University and A&M College is a comprehensive institution offering two associate's degree programs, 42 bachelor's degree programs, 19 master's degree programs, and five doctoral programs. The University is part of the only historically black land grant university system in the United States. Southern became a land-grant school in 1890, and an Agricultural and Mechanical department was established. The University offers programs of study ranging from associate degree to doctoral and professional degrees. It provides opportunities for students to participate in internships and summer assignments in industry and with the federal government.

Virginia College opened in October 2010 and offers students training in areas like Cosmetology, Business, Health and Medical Billing. Virginia College received senior college recognition from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) which now accredits all programs at the school's campuses.

Our Lady of the Lake College is an independent Catholic institution also in the Baton Rouge medical district that offers associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees in programs such as nursing, health sciences, humanities, behavioral sciences, and arts and sciences. It has an associated hospital, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. In 2010, LSU announced that it will relocate its medical education and Hospital Services to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge as a result of a historic agreement between LSU and the training hospital.[70] Tulane University is also opening a satellite medical school at Baton Rouge General's Mid City Campus in 2011.[71]

Southeastern Louisiana University School of Nursing is located in the medical district on Essen Lane in Baton Rouge. Southeastern offers traditional baccalaureate and masters degree programs as well as LPN and RN to BSN articulation opportunities.

Baton Rouge Community College Library

Baton Rouge Community College is an open-admission, two-year post-secondary public community college, established on 28 June 1995. The college settled into a permanent location in 1998. The 60-acre (240,000 m2) campus consists of five main buildings: Governor's Building, Louisiana Building, Cypress Building, Bienvenue Building (student center), and the Magnolia Library Building. The college's current enrollment is more than 8,000 students. The curricular offerings include courses and programs leading to transfer credits, certificates and associate degrees.[72]

In 1980, C.B. and Irene Pennington provided $125 million for the construction of the Pennington Biomedical Research Campus in Baton Rouge. At the time of the donation, it was the largest single gift to a higher learning institution. The Pennington Biomedical Research Center houses 48 laboratories and 19 core research facilities. Researchers in one discipline work in close proximity to one another and other researchers in other fields. This allows them to explore and exchange ideas. With this research across many fields, Pennington discovers mysteries of diseases and preventative solutions to these diseases.[73]

Primary and secondary Schools[edit]

East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools operates primary and secondary schools serving the city. The city of Baton Rouge is also home to 15 charter schools with a total enrollment of 3800 pupils.[74] One of the latest includes the Mentorship Academy in downtown Baton Rouge, which leverages its location downtown to establish internship opportunities with local businesses as well as provide a high tech classroom environment to focus on a digital animation curriculum.[75]

The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is the second largest public school system in the state and contains nine U.S. Blue Ribbon Schools and a nationally renowned Magnet Program. The school system serves more than 42,850 students and with the help of 6,250 teachers and faculty, the district has shown growth and increase in its District Performance Score (DPS).

The East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools serve East Baton Rouge Parish and has 90 schools with 56 elementary schools, 16 middle schools and 18 high schools.[76]

Media[edit]

The major daily newspaper is The Advocate, publishing since 1925. Prior to October 1991, Baton Rouge also had an evening newspaper, The State-Times—at that time, the morning paper was known as "The Morning Advocate." Other publications include: DIG Magazine, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, 225 magazine, inRegister magazine, 10/12 magazine, The Daily Reveille, The Southern Review, Country Roads magazine, 225Alive, Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge, Southern University Digest, and the South Baton Rouge Journal. Other newspapers in East Baton Rouge Parish include the Central City News and the Zachary Post.

Greater Baton Rouge area is well served by television and radio. The market is the 95th largest Designated Market Area (DMA) in the U.S. Major television network affiliates serving the area include:

Tiger Stadium at Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge also offer local Government-access television (GATV) only channels on Cox Cable. Metro 21 on channel 21, Cox 4 on channel 4, and Catholic Life on channel 15.

Infrastructure[edit]

Communication[edit]

Most of the Baton Rouge area's high-speed internet, broadband, and fiber optic communications are provided by Eatel, AT&T Inc., Charter Communications, or Cox Communications.[77] In 2006, Cox Communications linked its Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans markets with fiber optic infrastructure. Other providers soon followed suit, and fiber optics have thus far proven reliable in all hurricanes since they were installed, even when mobile and broadband service is disrupted during storms.[78]

In 2001, the Supermike computer at Louisiana State University was ranked as the number 1 computer cluster in the world,[79] and remains one of the top 500 computing sites in the world.[80]

In 2010, Baton Rouge started a market push to become a test city for Google's new super high speed fiber optic line known as GeauxFiBR.[81]

Health and medicine[edit]

Baton Rouge is served by several hospitals and clinics:

Utilities[edit]

  • Electric: Cajun Electric Power Cooperative, DEMCO, Entergy
  • Natural gas: Entergy, Louisiana Gas Service Company, Mid-Louisiana Gas Company, Atmos Energy
  • Telephone: AT&T Inc.
  • Water: Baton Rouge Water Company, City of Baker, City of Zachary
  • Sewer: City of Baker, City of Zachary, East Baton Rouge Parish
  • Trash: Allied Waste

Military[edit]

Baton Rouge is home station to the Army National Guard 769th Engineer Battalion, which recently had units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The armory located near LSU three company-sized units: 769th HSC (headquarters support company); 769th FSC (forward support company); and the 927th Sapper Company. Other units of the battalion are located at Napoleonville (928th Sapper Company); Baker, Louisiana (926th MAC mobility augmentation company); and Gonzales, Louisiana (922nd Horizontal Construction Company).

The 769th Engineer Battalion is part of the 225th Engineer Brigade which is headquartered in Pineville, Louisiana at Camp Beauregard. There are four engineer battalions and an independent bridging company in the 225th Engineer Brigade which makes it the largest engineer group in the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Baton Rouge is also home to 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment (3/23) is a reserve infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps located throughout the Midwestern United States consisting of approximately 800 Marines and Sailors. The battalion was first formed in 1943 for service in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II, taking part in a number of significant battles including those at Saipan and Iwo Jima before being deactivated at the end of the war. In the early 1960s, the unit was reactivated as a reserve battalion. The battalion is headquartered in Saint Louis, Missouri with outlying units throughout the Midwestern United States. 3/23 falls under the command of the 23rd Marine Regiment and the 4th Marine Division. Recent operations have included tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Transportation[edit]

Shipping[edit]

The Port of Baton Rouge is the ninth largest in the United States in terms of tonnage shipped, and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling Panamax ships.[7][8]

Highways and roads[edit]

Baton Rouge is connected by the following major routes: I-10 (Capital City Expressway via the Horace Wilkinson Bridge), I-12 (Republic of West Florida Parkway), I-110 (Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway), Airline Highway (US 61), Florida Boulevard (US 190) (via the Huey P. Long Bridge), Greenwell Springs Road (LA 37), Plank Road/22nd Street (LA 67), Burbank Drive & Highland Road(LA 42), Nicholson Drive (LA 30), Jefferson Highway (LA 73), Louisiana Highway 1 (LA 1) and Scotland/Baker/Zachary Highway (LA 19). The business routes of US 61/190 run west along Florida Blvd. from Airline Highway to River Road downtown. The routes also run along River Rd., Chippewa Street, and Scenic Highway from Chippewa to Airline. US 190 joins US 61 on Airline Hwy. from Florida Blvd. to Scenic Hwy., where the two highways split. US 190 continues westward on Airline to the Huey P. Long Bridge, while US 61 heads north on Scenic Hwy.

To accommodate the rapid growth of Baton Rouge, sections of its freeways have been upgraded in recent decades and there are currently plans to create a tolled freeway loop around the metropolitan area. According to the 2008 INRIX National Traffic Scorecard, which ranks the top 100 congested metropolitan areas in the U.S., Baton Rouge is the 33rd-most-congested metro area in the country. However, at a population rank of 67 out of 100, it has the second-highest ratio of population rank to congestion rank, higher than even the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area, indicating a remarkably high level of congestion for the comparatively low population. According to the Scorecard, Baton Rouge was the only area out of all 100 to show an increase in congestion from 2007 to 2008 (+6%). The city also tied for the highest jump in congestion rank over the same period (14 places).[82]

Specific problem areas include a stretch of I-12E between the Airline Highway and O'Neal Lane exits, which extends even further to the Denham Springs exit in Livingston Parish. The S. Sherwood Forest Blvd., Millerville Road, and O'Neal Lane exits all made the list of the nation's top 1000 bottlenecks in the aforementioned INRIX study.[83] Three lanes wide in either direction until the O'Neal Lane exit, the interstate abruptly becomes two lanes in either direction thereafter. This stretch of road, called "a deathtrap"[84] by one lawmaker, has become notorious for traffic accidents, many with fatalities. In 2007, ten people died in traffic accidents within a three-month period on this section of road.[85] In 2009, Governor Bobby Jindal and the Baton Rouge legislative delgation were successful in allocating state and federal funding to widen this portion of I-12 to the Range Avenue Exit at Denham Springs. The construction was completed in mid-2012 and has significantly improved the flow of traffic.[86] In 2010, The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act provided committed federal funds to widen I-12 from the Range Avenue Exit to Walker, Louisiana.

I-10W at Bluebonnet Road also ranks within the top 1000 bottlenecks for 2008, and I-10E at Essen Lane and at Nicholson Drive rank not far out of the top 1000. Though significant improvements to I-10 were made to allow for easier access to the Mall of Louisiana, the stretch of I-10 from the I-10/I-12 split to Siegen Lane, which includes the Bluebonnet exit, was not part of these improvements and remains heavily congested during peak hours. Initial work in the 87-million-dollar project to widen this segment to three lanes in both directions has begun and may take up to three years to complete.[87] In 2010, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act provided supplemental funding for this project to extend to the Highland Road exit in East Baton Rouge Parish.[88]

Surface streets in Baton Rouge are no stranger to severe congestion, either. However, relief is starting to be felt after years of stagnation in road upgrades. Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden has instituted an extensive upgrade of East Baton Rouge Parish roads known as the Green Light Plan, geared toward improving areas of congestion on the city's surface streets. With its first project completed in October 2008, it has seen numerous others reach completion as of mid-2009, with several more under construction and still others yet to break ground.[89]

A circumferential loop freeway has been proposed for the greater Baton Rouge metro area to help alleviate congestion on the existing through-town routes. The proposed loop would pass through the outlying parishes of Livingston (running alongside property owned and marketed as an industrial development by Al Coburn, a member of President Mike Grimmer's staff), Ascension, West Baton Rouge, and Iberville, as well as northern East Baton Rouge Parish. This proposal has been subject to much contention, particularly by residents living in the outer parishes through which the loop would pass. If made a reality, the project would cost approximately $4 billion and would not be completed until 2016 at the earliest.[90] Other suggestions considered by the community are upgrading Airline Highway (US 61) to freeway standards in the region as well as establishing more links between East Baton Rouge Parish and its neighboring communities.

Commuting[edit]

The average one-way commute time in Baton Rouge is 22 minutes, 13% shorter than the US average. Interstates 10 and 12, the two interstates that feed into the city, are highly traveled and connected by highways and four-lane roads that connect the downtown business area to surrounding parishes. 99% of the Baton Rouge workforce drives a personal vehicle to work.

Airport[edit]

Located 10 minutes north of downtown near Baker, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport connects the area with the four major airline hubs serving the southern United States. Commercial carriers include American Eagle, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways Express. Nonstop service is available to Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Memphis and Charlotte.

Rail[edit]

Four major rail lines provide railroad freight service to Baton Rouge.[91] Since 2006, Baton Rouge and New Orleans leaders as well as the state government have been pushing to secure funding for a new high-speed rail passenger line between downtown Baton Rouge and downtown New Orleans, with several stops in between.[92]

Buses and other mass transit[edit]

Capital Area Transit System (CATS) provides urban transportation throughout Baton Rouge, including service to Southern University, Baton Rouge Community College, and Louisiana State University. Many CATS buses are equipped with bike racks for commuters to easily combine biking with bus transit.

Greyhound Bus Lines, offering passenger and cargo service throughout the United States, has a downtown terminal on Florida Boulevard.

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

After a visit to the Republic of China (Taiwan), Mayor-President Kip Holden unveiled plans to pursue a sister city agreement with a second Taiwanese city, Taipei.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Geology and Geological Hazards

Coordinates: 30°27′N 91°08′W / 30.45°N 91.14°W / 30.45; -91.14