Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baton Rouge-Part 1

Bob and the boys are off this whole week for Thanksgiving. We decided to take advantage of the time off and take a mini-vacation. We'd never been to Baton Rouge, so Sunday afternoon we hopped on I-10 and headed east. By the time we arrived in our state capitol, it was late in the afternoon and not many tourist attractions were open. We strolled the LSU campus, met their mascot Mike the Tiger, then had dinner at Boutin's, a great Cajun restaurant.

Monday morning, our first stop was the Coffee Call for beignet fingers and cafe au lait. The beignets were good but suspiciously similar to funnel cakes. Then we drove up River Road toward St. Francisville. Besides field after swaying field of sugar cane, what struck us immediately were the large numbers of blue-tarped roofs. We knew that Baton Rouge had been hit hard by Hurricane Gustav, that many areas had lost power for up to ten days. But seeing all the blue roofs make the reports real. We crossed the mighty Mississippi river on a ferry boat at St. Francisville. While parked in line, awaiting the ferry, a woman parked in front of us kept throwing small dark objects out of her car. We were baffled as to what she was littering. We guessed she must have been cleaning something out, but what? And why was she tossing them out the window? When we finally moved forward to board the ferry, we looked down out the windows and saw Oreo cookies minus the filling. She'd been sitting there eating the white creamy middles and throwing the chocolate cookie part away. Imagine! Tossing the best part! We got a good laugh out of that.

After the ferry, we found Rosedown Plantation. I told the boys I learn more history in one house tour than I would in a whole semester of a history class or in any book. I imagine it's 1830 and I've just moved into my new mansion, mistress of the manor. What a different lifestyle! Both the beautifully restored mansion and the gardens were lovely.

After Rosedown, we had lunch at a charming little restaurant called Magnolia Cafe. Then on to the Audubon Historical Site and Oakley Plantation. John Audubon had briefly tutored the daughter of the owner of Oakley Plantation, while adding to his bird painting collection, hence the connection. It was interesting to see the contrasts between the two plantations, each unique and different. There's also a wonderful nature trail on the property. On the grounds at Oakley, there's a turkey named Gus who thinks he's a dog. He's friendly and loves to be petted.
As we drove south back to Baton Rouge, evening descended and a thick blanket of fog shrouded the countryside.

That evening, we visited our friends, the Cavells. They adopted our dog Holly (which we owned all of four months) last summer. Holly's thriving there. She's still happy and very excited to see people. We don't know for sure, but we like to think she remembered us.


jess said...

What a great tour! Glad you met Mike the tiger and roamed the LSU campus. Chaney was born in BR and we used to wheel her around campus in her stroller.

BR is my favorite Louisiana city--so many wonderful places to eat.

leafmonster said...

The photo of the plantation house brought back an old foggy memory. When I was 12 we lived in Mississippi for a year. While we lived there we visited what we were told were "antebellum homes" - gigantic houses, with a separate building for a kitchen. I was very impressed by those houses. I never connected them with the word "plantation." I probably didn't know what 'antebellum' meant either.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Dear Leafmonster,

Antebellum is just a fancy word meaning pre-Civil War. I usually associate it with the south also.

Mindy Blanchard said...

Wow, Angie - great tour. Maybe I need to take a trip to Baton Rouge!!! lol

The Plantation and the fog - hmmm so much to write about.

Whats up with throwing the Oreos - JEEZ!

I can't wait to read where ya'll went next


Winona said...

St. Francisville is truly one of my favorite places in the world. There is an old, and still privately owned plantation called Catalpa. It's small and the owner still lives on the second floor. She is very old and decides whether or not to let people tour based on if she likes how they look. Her place is quite historic. The notches in an old desk the Union officers took over. Dented silver that was bagged and tossed in a pond. And, really awful brandy at the end of the tour. I love Rosedown. Just a great place. I'm glad you had such a great vacation. Next time you have a long weekend consider Natchez,MS

Shannon said...

I think Holly did remember you. She does love everyone, as you know, but I think she loved y'all a little bit more than most people.