[Take Me HOME]
Deep South Tour: Big Easy to Baton Rouge
We kicked off the day at
Cafe du Monde,
home to world-famous beignets
(fried dough with sugar: very tasty) and
world-famous chicory-laced coffee (not very tasty).
We took a walk through the French Quarter to work off all of that
grease, making our way to the dock of the Creole Queen for a
Our tour took us to the site of the
Battle of New Orleans, where
Andrew Jackson made his name during the War of 1812. On the way
we took in striking views of New Orleans:
Chris at the stern:
Princess Leia wanted to pose, too:
Next we attended the
New Orleans School of Cooking where (VERY) Big Kevin
gave us some tips on making great jambalaya. Then we retired to the
hotel to watch the Lakers game.
& Baton Rouge
We rolled out of New Orleans after a very heavy, very tasty breakfast at
included baked apple in heavy cream and eggs a la
Hussard (like eggs benedict plus). Next stop: "plantation country". We drove along
the River Road along the Mississippi, past many a grain terminal or natural gas
station, until we hit the
This plantation was originally in the Creole style, which meant it was painted in
bright colors as opposed to the typically white style of the anglo planations.
Seems that a group of investors picked up the place after the state scrapped
plans to tear it down to make way for a bridge. They've renovated it and returned
it to its original appearance, i.e. stripping off the white paint from later
Our first stop on the tour was the basement, where they showed us these ceramic
urns that were buried and used as "refrigerators", taking advantage of the
cooler temperatures underground:
Along the tour they made the claim that this plantation was where a
folk tale from Africa was transformed into the Br'er Rabbit stories.
Here's a view from the back porch where you can see some of the preserved
buildings used as work areas and also as slave quarters. Originally the slave
cabins extended a great distance off behind the main building, housing hundreds
We detoured through the gardens:
There we found this cool old sundial, on which the shadow from the arrow is
projected onto that arched piece of metal:
Then we headed out to look at the "backyard":
This Beetlejuice-esque structure was the kitchen outbuilding attached
to the separate "main" house occupied by Laura, the woman who
ran the plantation for many years, after she turned operations over
to her daughter:
After the Laura Plantation we also visited the
Nottoway Plantation, known as
The White Castle of Louisiana according to the title of the diary published
by the daughter of the original owner. That was huge but a bit more like
some big old manor home. So we didn't get excited enough to take any pictures.
Worth noting that was the first place we saw the lockable dining room furniture
piece designed to hold tea and other costly luxuries--you could open it up when
guests were in and then lock it up afterwards to keep the servants from nicking
any. Lighting was provided by dimmer-equipped gas lamps throughout the house,
all fed by a huge gas producing well in the yard.
And each entertaining room had a little "ringer"
on the wall that rang a chime, which differed by room
so that the servants would know where to go.
Then we headed north again on the River Road. Chris and I were fascinated by
all of the signs of industry in the southern
countryside, so we had to take some pictures. (Click on
"industry" to check them out.) They all cluster
along the river, I assume, because it's cheap to then dump their products on
barges that deliver them to markets. Or maybe because it's cheap to dump
some other stuff in the river.
We soon arrived in Baton Rouge, where our first stop was at
the old state capitol, which is a fantastic, castle-like building:
And stop two was the new state capitol, built
during the 1930s. The art deco capitol is not as cool as the original,
but I think it still ranks
as the second coolest state capitol building I've seen:
We stopped for the night in Opelousas,
north of Lafayette. Before sacking
we headed over to Richard's, where we listened to excellent Zydeco music
and watched the multi-generational crowd get down with some of the craziest dance
steps you've ever seen.