Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sick Building

Is the Kress-Levy building really sick? It wasn't sniffling when I walked by. It is undergoing renovations, so it should soon be well..

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Pirate of the Pacific

Not only will you find barges and riverboats on the banks of the Mississippi River, but you'll also spot the USS Kidd, a destroyer which saw service in the Pacific during World War II and the Korean War. The Kidd is now restored and docked at the Veterans Memorial Museum. Not only can visitors tour the Kidd, but they can also camp overnight as part of a special educational program.

Here's a fun fact: the USS Kidd is the only ship in the US Navy which is allowed to fly the Jolly Roger! If you click on the photo, you may be able to spot the skull and crossbones flying from the mast. The Kidd is not named for 18th-century pirate William Kidd, but for Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, who was killed on the USS Arizona during the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 (but while attending the US Naval Academy, Kidd's nickname was Cap). After the first crew of the Kidd chose the legendary pirate as their mascot, they received special permission from the Navy (with the help of the admiral's widow) to fly the Jolly Roger.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Corsair

Here is another view of the jet seen in yesterday's photo of the Louisiana Memorial Plaza. This is an A-7E Corsair II jet attack aircraft, which was used during the Vietnam conflict. It was restored and was designated as the official Louisiana state memorial for Vietnam veterans.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Plaza

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. This is the Louisiana Memorial Plaza, which is located on the grounds of the Veterans Memorial Museum at the riverfront. On the black granite walls are the names of those Louisianians who died while in military service.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Riverfront Stroll

Both tourists and residents enjoy watching the tugboats and barges travel down the Mississippi River. In the distance, you may spot the Hollywood Casino riverboat casino, and the Huey P. Long/Old Mississippi River Bridge.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Touch Me!

Usually visitors to museums are discouraged from touching the artwork, but this piece in the LSU Sculpture Park is begging for some contact...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Slide Into Summer

This slide at Goodwood Park won't be vacant for long. Children in Baton Rouge and the surrounding suburbs ended their school year this week. The ones who made good grades and passed their LEAP* tests have two and a half months of fun ahead!

*LEAP tests are achievement exams given to Louisiana students in the 4th and 8th Grades. Students must earn a specific score on these exams in order to move to the 5th and 9th Grades. Students who do not pass the exams have an opportunity to retake them after a summer tutorial.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A View From The Air

A view of Fourth Street and downtown Baton Rouge from the Observation Deck on the 27th floor of the State Capitol. On a clear, sunny day, you can see for miles - best view of Baton Rouge!

In the front, the two buildings with circular drives are the Louisiana State Museum (on the left) and the Louisiana State Library (on the right). The four buildings behind them, Galvez, Bienville, Iberville, and LaSalle, are part of Capitol Park and house various departments of state government. The steeple peeking behind Bienville Building is the top of St Joseph's Cathedral. The tan buildings on the rear left are the Chase Towers, and the black glass building on the rear right is One American Place. In the distance are the dome of the Maravich Assembly Center and upper stands of Tiger Stadium at LSU.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Watch The Birdie

This blue jay was kind enough to hold still for five seconds so that I could take his photo while he visited our birdbath this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


This was my favorite childhood spot in Baton Rouge. It's the outdoor train exhibit at the Louisiana Arts and Sciences Museum, which has been closed since October 1996. The rail cars were set up so that groups of schoolchildren and other visitors could walk through them and learn about the history and importance of rail transportation. For me, no visit to the LASC was complete without a "train trip": first the postal car - complete with large canvas mailbags and boxes labeled with the names of small towns in Louisiana, then past the plush seats of the passenger car, followed by the dining car with white tablecloths and a cramped galley, and finally the office car, complete with its own bathroom and shower stall - impressive to an 8-year-old who had never ridden any sort of rails.

The exhibit was closed in 1996 so that the cars could undergo restoration, a project estimated at that time to cost half a million dollars. The museum didn't have the money available to undertake the project, so they asked the state legislature for help, but were turned down. Hopefully one day this exhibit will be restored to its former glory, so that others can have the fun that I did of wandering through these cars and imagining a journey on steel wheels.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Running On Schedule

I got stuck in traffic; hope I don't miss the 4:35 to Houston...

Actually, passenger trains no longer run through Baton Rouge. If you want to ride Amtrak's City of New Orleans, you have to board in Hammond, which is about 45 miles east of Baton Rouge.

This schedule board is on the outside of the old Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railway Station, which now houses the Louisiana Arts and Sciences Museum.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Day of Rest

My favorite spot at the Botanic Gardens is this bench in the Iris Gardens. I work near the gardens, and whenever I'm having a particularly stressful day, I'll visit here during break time and try to regain my sense of calm. When I'm feeling fine, and in the mood for a picnic, I'll stop here also.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


This is a section of the 15,000-square-foot enclosure for the LSU mascot, Mike the Tiger. In this photo, which I took on Easter Sunday this year, he's sitting on a patch of grass near the waterfall, which flows into a large pool where he would go swimming. Mike passed away at the age of 17 Friday morning from renal failure. He had undergone surgery two days before to drain 10 liters of fluid from around his lungs, due to a condition called "idiopathic chylothorax".

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's All Greek To Me

3,345 members of the Class of 2007 received their degrees today at Louisiana State University's commencement exercises, sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of the Maravich Assembly Center. If they were the class of '37 or '47, they would have graduated here, at the Greek Theatre. Built in the early 1920s, it was designed to seat 3,000 people, and featured a reflecting pool behind its stage.

The pool is no longer there - it was filled in during the 1960s because it was turning into a dump site and a breeding ground for mosquitos. Graduation ceremonies are now conducted indoors, where bad weather poses no threat. The theatre comes into service from time to time for a theatre performance or rock show, but most students who visit there now do so for a quiet place to study or eat lunch between classes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

From Big D to BR

Visitors, workers, and residents have a fun way to travel around downtown Baton Rouge. Several years ago, the city purchased a fleet of trolleys from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Agency that run on compressed natural gas. Since October 2003, the trolleys have provided a free way to get around various locations downtown during weekday lunchtime (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday to Friday). I personally recommend the benches along the walls, which provide some sliding action as the trolley turns corners.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

An Opinion On Mothers

I spotted this sign yesterday while driving down Government Street. It says, "It's not easy being a mother. If it were, fathers would do it. Remember Mom Sunday." I'll have to check back next month, to see what the Father's Day offering is.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

LSU Memorial Tower

LSU's Campanile, or Memorial Tower, stands 175 feet tall and was dedicated in 1926 as a memorial to Louisianians who died in World War I. Until two years ago, the ground floor housed the LSU Museum of Art, which is now located at the Shaw Center downtown. The campanile plays the Westminster Chimes and rings every quarter-hour, and also plays the Alma Mater and the LSU fight song on occasion. There is a tradition that the person you kiss under the tower when it chimes at midnight is the one you'll be engaged to marry, but I've never tested that out, myself.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Red Rest Stop

Sometimes it's nice just to sit down for a few moments and breathe. These bright red benches are between the tennis courts and the recreation center at Independence Park.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

Today's selection is from the Iris Garden at the Botanical Gardens. I hope all mothers enjoyed a lovely Mother's Day today with their children and families!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Patriots

This is the other large sculpture at the front of the Capitol: "The Patriots". The man in the center with the helmet and sword is a soldier, and the figures at his sides are people mourning a soldier killed in battle.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Alas and Alack!!

The town of Convent, which is between Baton Rouge and New Orleans on the Mississippi River, was one of two finalists for the new location of a ThyssenKrupp AG steel mill. The plant will cost from $3 to $4 billion to build, and will provide over 2,000 permanent jobs. This morning, it was announced that the mill will be located in Alabama. Oh, well.

The distraught woman in stone in the photo is located at the front of the new State Capitol building. She is one of the figures in a sculpture called "The Pioneers," which represents the men and women who played a role in creating the state of Louisiana.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Be My Guest

I don't mind the squirrels eating at this bird feeder, because so far they haven't been able to knock this one down to the ground, spilling out the seed all over the yard - the way they did to my last two feeders. The squirrels also have their own corn log on another tree. In addition to squirrels, I've seen sparrows, chickadees, mourning doves, blue jays, and cardinals at my bird feeder this spring.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

No Climbing Here

This is a tiny sliver of the wrought iron fence that surrounds the grounds of the Old State Capitol.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

From Legislator To Lobbyist

One of the exhibits currently on display at the Old State Capitol is called "Billy Tauzin: A Louisiana Legacy." Tauzin represented southeast Louisiana in the US Congress from 1980 to 2004, and now serves as president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which is the lobby for the drug industry. There was some controversy when he started his new job, because while in Congress Tauzin chaired the House committee which decided on legislation that regulates the drug industry.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Colorful Canopy

If you look up while standing on the spiral staircase at the Old State Capitol, this is the view that greets you. To take this picture of the stained glass canopy, I had to lie down on the steps. Not quite comfortable, but the end result was worth it, don't you think?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Spiral Staircase

This is the spiral staircase in the center of the Old State Capitol, winding its way to the second story.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Sleeping On The Job...

This is one of the lions "guarding" the main entrance to the Old State Capitol.

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Old State Capitol

This Gothic castle was the first Louisiana State Capitol building, designed in 1847 by architect James Harrison Dakin and completed in 1849. The Legislature held sessions and governors sat in office here from 1850 until 1862, when Baton Rouge was captured by the Union during the Civil War. An accidental grease fire at the end of 1862 destroyed the interior, but left the outer walls standing. Post-war restoration enabled the Legislature to meet in session here again from 1882 until the early 1930's, when the new State Capitol was completed.

One American writer had misgivings about rebuilding: "Pathetic enough that a whitewashed castle, with turrets and things...should ever have been built in this otherwise honorable place; but it is much more pathetic to see this architectural falsehood undergoing restoration and perpetuation in our day, when it would have been so easy to let dynamite finish what a charitable fire began..." But what does Mark Twain know about architecture?

Now known as the Old State Capitol, it serves as a museum for political and governmental history, with exhibits on governors, campaigns and elections, the Louisiana Purchase, and the assassination of Huey P. Long.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Runner Up

This was my second choice for the May Theme Day: a sliver of a Gothic castle that I'll feature over the next several days...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Merci Train

This railcar is on the grounds of the Old State Capitol under a wooden awning. A granite slab in front of the railcar states that this is the Louisiana railcar of the Merci Train from France, and was presented to Governor Earl K Long by Consul General Lionel Vasse on February 22, 1949.

I found this site, by Earl Bennett, which tells much more about the history of the Merci Train. The Merci Train comprised 49 box cars (one for each state and one shared by D.C. and Hawaii) containing gifts from the French people. These gifts were to thank Americans who had sent over 700 rail cars loaded with relief supplies to France after World War II. Bennett's site has pictures of other Merci railcars and information on their locations throughout the US.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May Theme Day - City Exchange

The May Theme Day is City Exchange. So here is a picture of what appears to be a large wooden box, with some writing in French, and plaques from what may be regions in France (Vendee, Bourgogne, Corse, Lorraine). So, what is this object, and where was this picture taken - in Louisiana or in France?

This is actually a railroad boxcar that was used in France during World War I. It was given to Louisiana by the French government in appreciation for the support the US gave to France in World War II. I will post a larger photo of the rail car tomorrow...

There are currently 82 blogs participating in this theme day: Monte Carlo, Monaco - Rome, Italy - Singapore, Singapore - Tenerife, Spain - Rotterdam, Netherlands - London, UK - Montréal (QC), Canada - Melbourne, Australia - Naples (FL), USA - Bastia, France -
Hong Kong, China- Mazatlan, Mexico - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Manila, Philippines - Arradon, France - Madison (WI), USA -
Evry, France- Seoul, Korea- Shanghai, China- Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia- Sequim (WA), USA-Singapore, Singapore-Budapest, Hungary - Baziège, France - Hamburg, Germany-Toruń, Poland- Nelson, New Zealand- Madison (WI), USA- Vantaa, Finland- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia- Mainz, Germany- Dubai, UAE- Saint Paul (MN), USA- Cork, Ireland- Stockholm, Sweden- Menton, France- Tel Aviv, Israel- Albuquerque (NM), USA- Kitakami, Japan- Stayton (OR), USA- Szentes, Hungary- Stavanger, Norway- Grenoble, France- Villigen, Switzerland- Paris, France- Hyde, UK- Moscow, Russia- Joplin (MO), USA- Jakarta, Indonesia- Greenville (SC), USA- Cape Town, South Africa- Asheville (NC), USA- Seattle (WA), USA-Kyoto, Japan- Tokyo, Japan- Madrid, Spain- Auckland, New Zealand- Oulu, Finland- Lubbock (TX), USA- Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina- Baton Rouge (LA), USA- Sydney, Australia- Maple Ridge (BC), Canada- Vancouver, Canada- Seattle (WA), USA- Selma (AL), USA- Chandler (AZ), USA- Sharon (CT), USA- Manila, Philippines- Lyon, France- New York City (NY), USA- Los Angeles (CA), USA-Brookville (OH), USA- Hayle, UK- Wailea (HI), USA- Saarbrücken, Germany- San Diego (CA), USA- Boston (MA), USA- Saint Louis (MO), USA- Cypress (TX), USA- Anderson (SC), USA- Torino, Italy