Baton Rouge, LA - 02/21/2012

Published at 8:05 AM in , ,

In front of the Louisiana Capitol, tallest in the US
We decided to forgo Mardi Gras parades today.  The kids loved it, but had their fill.  And really, what could we possibly do with more beads??  Since basically nothing is open in New Orleans on Mardi Gras day, we decided to drive over to Baton Rouge to see the state capitol, which surprisingly, was open, as well as to tour the USS Kidd, a destroyer that is banked on the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.

Super Bowl Champion Frank Pitts!

2 Super Bowl rings!

Louisiana's state capitol is the tallest in the country, and the 27th floor has a nice observation deck that overlooks the city and the river.  When we got to the observation deck, we met the Sargent-at-Arms.  The Sergeant-at-Arms is in charge of helping the legislators with security.  This particular man is Frank Pitts.  Frank is a former NFL football player.  He played 10 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, and then later with several other football teams.  He played in the very FIRST Super Bowl in 1966!  The Chiefs played against the Green Bay Packers and lost.  But then a few years later, in Super Bowl IV, they played the Minnesota Vikings and won!  He has rings from both Super Bowls, and let us wear them! It was really cool.  He was a super nice guy, too.  So that was a bit of unexpected excitement!

Overlooking the Mississippi River

The observation tower offered a fantastic view of the Mississippi River and all of Baton Rouge.  The capitol complex has a beautiful surrounding garden.  You can also see the governor's mansion, which you actually drive past going up to the capitol.  Former Governor Huey P. Long is buried on the grounds of the capitol complex, with a statue of him facing the capitol.

The display of Huey Long articles in the hallway where he was shot

Bullet hole in the marble column

Governor Long was the man who pushed for this capitol to be built, and was later assassinated in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber.  There is a glass display of newspaper articles about his death, and the man who shot him, right in the spot where it happened.  There is still a bullet hole in the marble column. Very interesting story.

The USS Kidd

After we finished at the capitol, we road down the street to the USS Kidd, a docked destroyer on the Mississippi that was active during WWII.  We got to tour the boat, which displays many items that were used during that time period.  You could go all through it on a self guided tour, including the galley where the meals were cooked, and the crew quarters, to see how the sailors slept in hanging bunks.

Same tables and trays

It was neat for Jim to show the kids what things had changed from that era to the era when he was aboard the USS Tripoli, and what things had stayed the same.  There was a nice veterans' memorial plaza just outside of the museum, as well.

Kris & Jim

All the Ellis'

Once we finished that tour, we headed out into another part of Baton Rouge to meet Jim's brother, Kris, and his wife, Michele, for dinner at Copeland's.  We stayed for a long time, chatting and catching up.  They were able to offer lots of great advice about New Orleans, where Michele grew up, Baton Rouge, and New Mexico, where they lived when they first got married.  We were all sad to see the visit end, but we had to get back to New Orleans and Sam.

All those beads! Michael had more fun than it looks like!

When we did get back to the RV, the kids wanted to pile all of the Mardi Gras beads we got onto Rachael.  It was quite the stack!

Tomorrow we will probably pull out of New Orleans and head for Texas.  Can't wait for the Lone Star State!

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