City Guide



Downtown Baton Rouge
Downtown Baton Rouge © Antrell Williams
Situated about 75 miles (121 km) northwest of New Orleans, the state capital Baton Rouge is right in the middle of plantation country along the Great River Road. Surrounded by sugarcane fields, grand plantation homes, and isolated southern mansions.

Beautiful gardens flower along the banks of the mighty Mississippi, the city teems with both historic buildings and a vibrant nightlife. Named by French explorer D'Iberville about 300 years ago when he found a red stick on a bluff overlooking the river.

Today, the one-time swampland settlement is one of the largest port cities in the USA, known for its riverboat casinos where high-stakes gambling, entertaining stage shows and Cajun cuisine reign supreme.

The city has an academic side too, being home to Louisiana State University and Southern University, the largest historically African-American university in the country. There are museums aplenty, art galleries, a planetarium and active theatre and ballet companies.

Incidentally, the Baton Rouge also has the tallest capitol building in the United States: the art deco construction, built in 1932 to house the Louisiana seat of government, soars 34 storeys into the air.

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