Baton Rouge, Louisiana | Wikipedia audio article

Baton Rouge ( BAT-ən ROOZH; from French bâton
rouge [bɑtɔ̃ ʁuʒ] (listen), meaning ‘red stick’) is the capital of the U.S. state of
Louisiana and its second-largest city. Located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River,
it is the parish seat of East Baton Rouge Parish.
As its capital city, Baton Rouge is the political hub of Louisiana. It is the second-largest
city in the state, with an estimated population of 227,715 in 2016. The metropolitan area
surrounding the city, known as Greater Baton Rouge, is also the second-largest in Louisiana,
with a population of 830,480 people as of 2015. The urban area has around 594,309 inhabitants.
Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture, and growing
technology center of the American South. It is the location of Louisiana State University,
the LSU System’s flagship university and the largest institution of higher education in
the state. It is also the location of Southern University, the flagship institution of the
Southern University System, the only historically black college system in the nation. The Port
of Greater Baton Rouge is the 10th-largest in the United States in terms of tonnage shipped,
and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling Panamax ships.The
Baton Rouge area owes its historical importance to its strategic site upon the Istrouma Bluff,
the first natural bluff upriver from the Mississippi River Delta. This allowed development of a
business quarter safe from seasonal flooding. In addition, the city built a levee system
stretching from the bluff southward to protect the riverfront and low-lying agricultural
areas. The city is a culturally rich center, with settlement by immigrants from numerous
European nations and African peoples brought to North America as slaves or indentured servants.
It was ruled by seven different governments: French, British, and Spanish in the colonial
era, West Floridian, United States territory and state, Confederate, and United States
Prehistory===Human habitation in the Baton Rouge area has
been dated to 12000 – 6500 BC, based on evidence found along the Mississippi, Comite,
and Amite Rivers.Earthwork mounds were built by hunter-gatherer societies in the Middle
Archaic period, from roughly the fourth millennium BC. The Proto-Muskogean language divided into
its descendant languages by about 1000 BC; a cultural boundary between either side of
Mobile Bay and the Black Warrior River began to appear between about 1200 BC and 500 BC,
a period called the Middle “Gulf Formational Stage”. The Eastern Muskogean language began
to diversify internally in the first half of the first millennium AD.The early Muskogean
societies were the bearers of the Mississippian culture, which formed around AD 800 and extended
in a vast network across the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, with numerous chiefdoms in the
Southeast, as well. By the time the Spanish made their first forays inland from the shores
of the Gulf of Mexico in the early 16th century, by some evidence many political centers of
the Mississippians were already in decline, or abandoned. At the time, the region appeared
to be occupied by a collection of moderately sized native chiefdoms interspersed with autonomous
villages and tribal groups. However, some evidence indicates these societies were thriving
at the time of the first Spanish contact, and later Spanish expeditions encountered
the aftermath of the diseases spread unknowingly by the first expedition.===Colonial period===French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville
led an exploration party up the Mississippi River in 1699. The explorers saw a red pole
marking the boundary between the Houma and Bayogoula tribal hunting grounds. The French
name le bâton rouge (“the red stick”) is the translation of a native term rendered
as Istrouma, possibly a corruption of the Choctaw iti humma (“red pole”); André-Joseph
Pénicaut, a carpenter traveling with d’Iberville, published the first full-length account of
the expedition in 1723. According to Pénicaut, From there [Manchacq] we went five leagues
higher and found very high banks called écorts in that region, and in savage called Istrouma
which means red stick [bâton rouge], as at this place there is a post painted red that
the savages have sunk there to mark the land line between the two nations, namely: the
land of the Bayagoulas which they were leaving and the land of another nation—thirty leagues
upstream from the baton rouge—named the Oumas.
See also Red Sticks for the ceremonial use of red sticks among the Muscogee.
The location of the red pole was presumably at Scott’s Bluff, on what is now the campus
of Southern University. It was reportedly a 30-foot-high (9.1 m) painted pole adorned
with fish bones.The settlement of Baton Rouge by Europeans began in 1721 when a military
post was established by French colonists. Since European settlement, Baton Rouge has
been governed by France, Britain, Spain, Louisiana, the Republic of West Florida, the Confederate
States, and the United States. In 1755, when French-speaking settlers of Acadia in Canada’s
Maritime provinces were driven into exile by British forces, many took up residence
in rural Louisiana. Popularly known as Cajuns, the descendants of the Acadians maintained
a separate culture. During the first half of the 19th century, the city grew steadily
as the result of steamboat trade and transportation.===Modern history===Baton Rouge was incorporated in 1817. In 1822,
the Pentagon Barracks complex of buildings was completed. The site has been used by the
Spanish, French, British, Confederate States Army, and United States Army and was part
of the short-lived Republic of West Florida. In 1951, ownership of the barracks was transferred
to the State of Louisiana, and in 1976 it was placed on the National Register of Historic
Places.In 1846, the state legislature designated Baton Rouge as Louisiana’s new capital to
replace “sinful” New Orleans. The architect James Dakin was hired to design the capitol
building in Baton Rouge, with construction beginning in late 1847. Rather than mimic
the United States Capitol, as many other states had done, he designed a capitol in Neo-Gothic,
complete with turrets and crenellations, and stained glass, which overlooks the Mississippi.
It has been described as the “most distinguished example of Gothic Revival” architecture in
the state and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. By the outbreak of the Civil War, the population
of Baton Rouge was nearly 5,500. The war nearly halted economic progress, except for businesses
associated with supplying the Union Army occupation of the city beginning in the spring of 1862.
The Confederates at first consolidated their forces elsewhere, during which time the state
government was moved to Opelousas and later Shreveport. In the summer of 1862, about 2,600
Confederate troops under generals John C. Breckinridge (the former Vice President of
the United States) and Daniel Ruggles tried in vain to recapture Baton Rouge.
After the war, New Orleans served as the seat of the Reconstruction Era state government.
When the Bourbon Democrats regained power in 1882, they returned the state government
to Baton Rouge, where it has since remained. In his 1893 guidebook, Karl Baedeker described
Baton Rouge as “the Capital of Louisiana, a quaint old place with 10,378 inhabitants,
on a bluff above the Mississippi”.In the 1950s and 1960s, Baton Rouge experienced a boom
in the petrochemical industry, which resulted in the city expanding beyond its original
center. The changing market in the oil business has produced fluctuations in the industry,
affecting employment in the city and area. A building boom began in the city in the 1990s
and continued into the 2000s, during which Baton Rouge was one of the fastest-growing
cities in the South in terms of technology. Metropolitan Baton Rouge was ranked as one
of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. (with a population under 1 million),
with 602,894 in 2000 and 802,484 people as of the 2010 census. After the extensive damage
in New Orleans and along the coast from Hurricane Katrina (2005), this city accepted as many
as 200,000 displaced residents. The Baton Rouge Metropolitan area was affected
by the 2016 Louisiana floods in August.==Geography and climate==Baton Rouge is located on the banks of the
Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana. According to the United States Census Bureau,
the city has a total area of 79.1 square miles (204.9 km2), of which 76.8 square miles (198.9
km2) are land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (2.81%) are covered by water.
The city is located on the first set of bluffs north of the Mississippi River Delta’s coastal
plains. Because of its prominent location along the river and on the bluffs, which prevents
flooding, the French built a fort in the city in 1719.Baton Rouge is the third-southmost
capital city in the continental United States, after Austin, Texas, and Tallahassee, Florida.===Tallest buildings===Baton Rouge’s tallest buildings are:===Neighborhoods===Baton Rouge has many neighborhoods both inside
and outside the city limits:===Climate===
Baton Rouge has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with mild winters, hot and
humid summers, moderate to heavy rainfall, and the possibility of damaging winds and
tornadoes yearlong. The area’s average precipitation is 55.55 inches (141.1 cm) of rain and 0.1
inches (0.25 cm) of snow annually. With ample precipitation, Baton Rouge is fifth on the
list of wettest cities in the United States. Snow in the Baton Rouge area is usually rare,
although it snowed in three consecutive years recently: December 11, 2008, December 4, 2009,
and February 12, 2010. The yearly average temperature for Baton Rouge
is 68.4 °F (20.2 °C) while the average temperature for January is 51.7 °F (10.9 °C) and July
is 83.0 °F (28.3 °C). The area is usually free from extremes in temperature, with some
cold winter fronts, but those are usually brief.Baton Rouge’s proximity to the Gulf
of Mexico exposes the metropolitan region to hurricanes. On September 1, 2008, Hurricane
Gustav struck the city and became the worst hurricane ever to hit the Baton Rouge area.
Winds topped 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), knocking down trees and powerlines and making
roads impassable. The roofs of many buildings suffered tree damage, especially in the Highland
Road, Garden District, and Goodwood areas. The city was shut down for five days and a
curfew was put in effect. Rooftop shingles were ripped off, signs blew down, and minor
structural damage occurred.===National protected areas===
Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Baton Rouge National Cemetery
Independence Park Botanic Gardens Laurens Henry Cohn, Sr. Memorial Plant Arboretum
LSU Hilltop Arboretum Magnolia Cemetery
Port Hudson National Cemetery==
Demographics==As of the census of 2010, 229,553 people,
and per the 2010 census, 88,973 households, and 52,672 families resided in the city. The
2000 population density was 2,964.8 people per square mile (1,144.7/km²). The 97,388
housing units averaged 1,267.3 per square mile (489.4/km²). According to the 2010 census,
the racial makeup of the city was 50.4% Black or African American, 40.8% White, 0.5% Native
American, 3.5% Asian, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos were 3.5%
of the population. Non-Hispanic Whites were 37.8% of the population, down from 70.5% in
1970. Of all households, 28.1% had children under
the age of 18, 35.8% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder
with no husband present, and 40.8% were not families. About 31.7% of all households were
made up of individuals, and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the city, the population was distributed as 24.4% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18
to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age
or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.5 males.
For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,368, and for a family was $40,266.
Males had a median income of $34,893 versus $23,115 for females. The per capita income
for the city was $18,512. About 18.0% of families and 24.0% of the population were below the
poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those ages 65 or over.
At the 2005–2007 American Community Survey Three-Year Estimates, 32.4% of the population
had a bachelor’s degree or higher.==Economy==
Baton Rouge enjoys a strong economy that has helped the city be ranked as one of the “Top
10 Places for Young Adults” in 2010 by and one of the top 20 cities in North America
for economic strength by Brookings. In 2009, the city was ranked as the 9th-best place
in the country to start a new business by CNN. Lamar Advertising Company has its headquarters
in Baton Rouge.Baton Rouge is the furthest inland port on the Mississippi River that
can accommodate ocean-going tankers and cargo carriers. The ships transfer their cargo (grain,
crude, cars, containers) at Baton Rouge onto rails and pipelines (to travel east-west)
or barges (to travel north). Deep-draft vessels cannot pass the Old Huey Long Bridge because
the clearance is insufficient, and the river depth decreases significantly just to the
north, near Port Hudson.Baton Rouge’s largest industry is petrochemical production and manufacturing.
ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge Refinery complex is the fourth-largest oil refinery in the
country; it is the world’s 10th-largest. Baton Rouge also has rail, highway, pipeline, and
deep-water access.Dow Chemical Company has a large plant in Iberville Parish near Plaquemine,
17 miles (27 km) south of Baton Rouge. NanYa Technology Corporation has a large facility
in North Baton Rouge that makes PVC and CPVC pipes. Shaw Construction, Turner, and Harmony
all started with performing construction work at these plants. In addition to being the state capital and
parish seat, the city is the home of Louisiana State University. One of the largest single
employers in Baton Rouge is the state government, which consolidated all branches of state government
downtown at the Capitol Park complex.The research hospitals Our Lady of the Lake, Our Lady of
the Lake Children’s Hospital (affiliated with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital), Mary
Bird Perkins Cancer Center, and Earl K. Long, helped by an emerging medical corridor at
Essen Lane/Summa Avenue/Bluebonnet Boulevard, are positioning Baton Rouge to eventually
support a medical district similar to the Texas Medical Center. LSU and Tulane have
both announced plans to construct satellite medical campuses in Baton Rouge to partner
with Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center and Baton Rouge General Medical Center, respectively.Southeastern
Louisiana University and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University both have nursing schools
in the medical district off Essen Lane. Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research
Center, which conducts clinical and biological research, also contributes to research-related
employment in the area around the Baton Rouge medical district.
The film industry in Louisiana has increased dramatically in the last decade, in response
to generous tax incentives adopted by the state in 2002. In September 2013, the Baton
Rouge Film Commission reported that the industry had brought more than $90 million into the
local economy in 2013. Baton Rouge’s largest production facility is the Celtic Media Centre,
opened in 2006 by a local group in collaboration with Raleigh Studios of Los Angeles; Raleigh
dropped its involvement in 2014.===Top employers===
According to the city’s 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers
in the city were:==Culture==
Baton Rouge is the middle ground of South Louisiana cultures, having a mix of Cajun
and Creole Catholics and Baptists of the Florida Parishes and South Mississippi. Baton Rouge
is a college city with Baton Rouge Community College, Louisiana State University, Franciscan
Missionaries of Our Lady University, and Southern University, whose students make up some 20%
of the city population. In a sizable international population of about 11,300, the largest groups
are people of Hispanic or Vietnamese descent. This contributes to Baton Rouge’s unique culture
and its diversity of heritage.===Arts and theater===
Baton Rouge has an expanding visual arts scene, which is centered downtown. This increasing
collection of venues includes the Shaw Center for the Arts. Opened in 2005, the facility
houses the Brunner Gallery, LSU Museum of Art, the Manship Theatre, a contemporary art
gallery, traveling exhibits, and several eateries. Another prominent facility is the Louisiana
Art and Science Museum, which contains the Irene W. Pennington Planetarium, traveling
art exhibits, space displays, and an ancient Egyptian section. Several smaller art galleries,
including the Baton Rouge Gallery, offering a range of local art, are scattered throughout
the city. The city has several designated arts and cultural
districts, the most prominent of which are the Mid-City Cultural District and the Perkins
Road Arts District. These districts provide tax incentives, mostly in the form of exempting
state tax on purchases, to promote cultural activity in these areas. A performing arts scene is emerging. LSU’s
Swine Palace is the foremost theatre company in the city, largely made up of students of
LSU’s MFA acting program, as well as professional actors and stage managers. A group of physical
theatre and circus artists at LSU traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, in summer 2012 to
perform Dante in the world’s largest Fringe Festival. The show ran in Baton Rouge before
going to Fringe, and featured movement, acrobatics, and aerial silk.Theatre Baton Rouge offers
a diverse selection of live theatre performances. Opera Louisiane is Baton Rouge’s only professional
opera company. The Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre is Baton Rouge’s professional ballet company.
The Nutcracker – A Tale from the Bayou sets the familiar holiday classic in 19th-century
Louisiana and has become a Baton Rouge holiday tradition. A Tale from the Bayou features
professional dancers, a live orchestra, and more than 300 area children.
Baton Rouge is also home to Forward Arts, a youth writing organization. Forward Arts
won the international youth poetry slam, Brave New Voices in 2017—becoming the first team
from the Southern United States to ever win the competition. Forward Arts is the only
youth spoken word organization in the state of Louisiana, and was founded by Dr. Anna
West in 2005, first housed in the Big Buddy Program.Baton Rouge is also home to Of Moving
Colors Productions, the premier contemporary dance company in the city, which for over
30 years has been an integral part of the arts scene in Baton Rouge, bringing in internationally
established choreographers to create stunning performances. In addition, their community
outreach has left a positive impact on children and young adults for decades.
Performing venues include the Baton Rouge River Center, Baton Rouge River Center Theatre
for the Performing Arts, which seats about 1,900, the Manship Theatre, which is located
in the Shaw Center for the Arts and seats 350, and the Reilly Theater, which is home
to Swine Palace, a nonprofit professional theater company associated with the Louisiana
State University Department of Theatre. The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra has been
in service since 1947 and currently performs at the River Center Music Hall downtown. Today,
over 60 concerts annually are performed by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra directed
by Timothy Muffitt and David Torns. The BRSO’s educational component, the Louisiana Youth
Orchestra, made its debut in 1984 and currently includes almost 180 musicians under the age
of 20.===Events===
Every year, Baton Rouge hosts many Mardi Gras parades, the largest one being held in historic
Spanish Town. Other festivals include the biannual Restaurant Week, Greater Baton Rouge
State Fair, FestforAll, Louisiana Earth Day, Blues Festival, Live After 5, Mardi Gras season,
the Wearin’ of the Green St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Bayou Country Superfest, and Red Stick
International Animation Festival.===Miss USA pageants===Baton Rouge was chosen to host the Miss USA
2014 Pageant. It took over downtown Baton Rouge as Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada USA, took
home the crown, with Miss Louisiana USA Brittany Guidry coming close to the win with the third
runner-up spot and fourth overall. Veteran pageant host Giuliana Rancic and MSNBC news
anchor Thomas Roberts introduced the 51 contestants before judges whittled them down to 20 semifinalists
to compete in the swimsuit, evening gown, and interview competitions. Cosmo weighed
in on the contest, complimenting home state girl Miss Louisiana. Celebrity judges included
actress Rumer Willis, NBA star Karl Malone, singer Lance Bass, and actor Ian Ziering.
In its 62-year history, this was the first year viewers got to vote to keep one of their
favorite contestants in the top six by tweeting the hashtag #SaveTheQueen bringing the pageant
into the modern age of social media. Baton Rouge was also the site of the 2005 Miss Teen
USA Pageant. “The hospitality shown to us while we were there was second to none,” Paula
Shugart (Miss USA President), said. “The sense of community that Baton Rouge has is incredibly
inspiring. ” Baton Rouge hosted Miss USA 2015 again on
July 12, 2015, won by actress and Miss Oklahoma USA Olivia Jordan.===Tourism and recreation===Many architectural points of interest are
in Baton Rouge, ranging from antebellum to modern. The neo-gothic Old Louisiana State
Capitol was built in the 1850s as the first state house in Baton Rouge, and was later
replaced by the 450-ft-tall, art deco New Louisiana State Capitol, which was the tallest
building in the South when it was completed. Several plantation homes in the area such
as Magnolia Mound Plantation House, Myrtles Plantation, and Nottoway Plantation showcase
antebellum-era architecture. Louisiana State University has over 250 buildings in Italian
Renaissance style, one of the nation’s largest college stadiums, and is endowed with many
live oaks. Several examples of modern and contemporary buildings are downtown, including
the Capitol Park Museum. A number of structures, including the Baton Rouge River Center, Louisiana
State Library, LSU Student Union, Louisiana Naval Museum, Bluebonnet Swamp Interpretive
Center, Louisiana Arts and Sciences Center, Louisiana State Archive and Research Library,
and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, were designed by local architect John Desmond.
The Pentagon Barracks Museum and Visitors Center is located within the barracks complex
and the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Company Depot, currently houses the Louisiana
Art and Science Museum.Museums around town offer a variety of genres. The Capitol Park
Museum and the Old Louisiana State Capitol Museum display information on state history
and have many interactive exhibits. The Shaw Center for the Arts and the Louisiana Art
and Science Museum showcase varied arts. LASM also includes science exhibits and a planetarium.
Other museums include the LSU Museum of Natural Science and the USS Kidd.
Other attractions include the Mall of Louisiana and Perkins Rowe, amusement parks of Dixie
Landin’/ Blue Bayou, and dining at the Louisiana-cuisine restaurants.==Sports==
College sports play a major role in the culture of Baton Rouge. The LSU Tigers and the Southern
University Jaguars are NCAA Division I athletic programs with the LSU Tigers football and
Southern Jaguars football teams being the local college American football teams. College
baseball, basketball, and gymnastics are also popular.Baton Rouge has had multiple minor-league
baseball teams, soccer teams, indoor football teams, a basketball team, and a hockey team.
The Baton Rouge Rugby Football Club or Baton Rouge Redfish 7, which began playing in 1977,
has won numerous conference championships. Currently, the team competes in the Deep South
Rugby Football Union. It also has an Australian rules football team, the Baton Rouge Tigers,
which began playing in 2004 and competes in the USAFL. In addition, Baton Rouge is home
to Red Stick Roller Derby, a WFTDA Division 3 roller derby league. Baton Rouge is also
home to the Baton Rouge Soccer Club in the Gulf Coast Premier League.==Parks and recreation==
Baton Rouge has an extensive park collection run through the Recreation & Park Commission
for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC). The largest park is City Park near LSU. The
Baton Rouge Zoo is run through BREC and includes over 1800 species.==Government==
The City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge have been run by a consolidated
government since 1947, which combined the City of Baton Rouge government with the rural
areas of the parish, allowing people outside the limits of the City of Baton Rouge to use
city services. Though the city and parish have a consolidated government, this differs
slightly from a traditional consolidated city-county government, as the cities of Zachary, Baker,
and Central operate their own individual city governments within East Baton Rouge Parish.
Under this system, Baton Rouge has the uncommon office of “mayor-president”, which consolidates
the executive offices of “mayor of Baton Rouge” and “president of East Baton Rouge Parish”.
Though Zachary, Baker, and Central each have their own individual mayors, citizens living
in these three municipalities are still a part of the constituency that can vote and
run in elections for mayor-president and metro council.===Metropolitan Council===When the city and parish combined government,
the city and parish councils consolidated to form the East Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan
Council. The Metro Council is the legislative branch of the Baton Rouge’s government and
is made up of 12 district council members, with one member being elected to serve as
mayor-president pro tempore. The Mayor-President Pro Tempore presides over the council’s meetings
and assumes the role of the Mayor-President if the Mayor-President is unable to serve.
The council members serve four year terms and can hold office for three terms. The Metro
Council’s main responsibilities are setting the policy for the government, voting on legislation,
and approving the city’s budget. The Council makes policies for the following: the City
and Parish General Funds, all districts created by the Council, the Greater Baton Rouge Airport
District, the Public Transportation Commission, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sewerage Control
Commission and the Greater Baton Rouge Parking Authority.==Education==Louisiana State University and Agricultural
and Mechanical College, generally known as Louisiana State University or LSU, is a public,
coeducational university that is the flagship campus of the Louisiana State University System.
LSU is the largest university in Louisiana with over 30,000 students and 1,300 full-time
faculty members. Southern University and A&M College, generally
known as Southern University or SU, is the flagship institution of the Southern University
System, the only historically black land-grant university system in the United States. SU
is the largest HBCU and second-oldest public university in Louisiana.
Virginia College opened in October 2010 and offers students training in areas such as
cosmetology, business, health, and medical billing.
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is an independent Catholic institution also
in the Baton Rouge medical district that has programs in nursing, health sciences, humanities,
behavioral sciences, and arts and sciences. It has an associated hospital, Our Lady of
the Lake Regional Medical Center. Tulane University is also opening a satellite medical school
at Baton Rouge General’s Mid City Campus in 2011. Southeastern Louisiana University School of
Nursing is located in the medical district on Essen Lane in Baton Rouge. Southeastern
offers traditional baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, as well as LPN and RN to
BSN articulation. Baton Rouge Community College is an open-admission,
two-year postsecondary public community college, established on June 28, 1995. The college
settled into a permanent location in 1998. The college’s current enrollment is more than
8,000 students.The University of Phoenix has a campus in Baton Rouge on Acadian Thruway
near I-10. The Pennington Biomedical Research Center
houses 48 laboratories and 19 core research facilities.===Primary and secondary schools===
East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools operates primary and secondary schools serving the
city. The city of Baton Rouge is also home to 15 charter schools with a total enrollment
of 3800 pupils. One of the latest includes the Mentorship Academy in downtown Baton Rouge,
which leverages its location downtown to establish internship opportunities with local businesses
as well as provide a high-tech classroom environment to focus on a digital animation curriculum.The
East Baton Rouge Parish School System is the second-largest public school system in the
state and contains nine U.S. Blue Ribbon schools and a nationally renowned Magnet program.
The school system serves more than 42,850 students and with the help of 6,250 teachers
and faculty, the district has shown growth and increase in its District Performance Score.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools serve East Baton Rouge Parish and has 90 schools
with 56 elementary schools, 16 middle schools, and 18 high schools.===Libraries===
The State Library of Louisiana is in Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Legislature created the
Louisiana Library Commission in 1920. This later became the State Library of Louisiana.
The State Library provides Louisiana residents with millions of items with its collections,
electronic resources, and the statewide network for lending.The East Baton Rouge Parish Library
System has 14 local libraries with one main library and 13 community libraries. The main
library at Goodwood houses genealogy and local history archives. The library system is an
entity of the city-parish government. The system has been in operation since 1939. It
is governed by the EBR Parish government and directed by the Library Board of Control.
The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council appoints the seven-member board and then the board
appoints a director. According to its website, all branches are open seven days a week to
assist the public with reference and information and computer access.The Louisiana State Archives’
Main Research Library is located in Baton Rouge, as well. It houses general history
books, census indices, immigration schedules, church records, and family histories. The
library also has a computerized database of more than two million names that has various
information about these people including census, marriage, and social security filing information.Louisiana
State University and the Louisiana State University Law Center have libraries on their respective
Baton Rouge campuses. Southern University and A&M College and the
Southern University Law Center have libraries on their respective Baton Rouge campuses.==Media==The major daily newspaper is The Advocate,
publishing since 1925. Prior to October 1991, Baton Rouge also had an evening newspaper,
The State-Times—at that time, the morning paper was known as The Morning Advocate. Other
publications include: Baton Rouge Parents Magazine, Pink & Blue Magazine, The Daily
Reveille, The Southern Review, 225 magazine, DIG, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report,
inRegister magazine, 10/12 magazine, Country Roads magazine, 225Alive, Healthcare Journal
of Baton Rouge, Southern University Digest, and The South Baton Rouge Journal. Other newspapers
in East Baton Rouge Parish include the Central City News and The Zachary Post.
Greater Baton Rouge area is well served by television and radio. The market is the 95th-largest
Designated Market Area in the U.S. Major television network affiliates serving the area include: Baton Rouge also offer local government-access
television-only channels on Cox Cable channel 21.==Infrastructure=====Communication===
Most of the Baton Rouge area’s high-speed internet, broadband, and fiber optic communications
are provided by Eatel, AT&T Inc., Charter Communications, or Cox Communications. In
2006, Cox Communications linked its Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans markets with
fiber-optic infrastructure. Other providers soon followed suit, and fiber optics have
thus far proven reliable in all hurricanes since they were installed, even when mobile
and broadband services are disrupted during storms.
In 2001, the Supermike computer at Louisiana State University was ranked as the number-one
computer cluster in the world, and remains one of the top 500 computing sites in the
world.In 2010, Baton Rouge started a market push to become a test city for Google’s new
super high speed fiber optic line known as GeauxFiBR.===Health and medicine===
Baton Rouge is served by several hospitals and clinics: Baton Rouge General Medical Center – Mid-City
Campus – 3600 Florida Boulevard Baton Rouge General Medical Center – Bluebonnet
Campus – 8585 Picardy Avenue Earl K. Long Medical Center (LSUMC) – 5825
Airline Highway (Permanently Closed) HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital – 8595
United Plaza Boulevard Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center
– 5000 Hennessy Boulevard Ochsner Medical Center – 1700 Medical Center
Electric: Cajun Electric Power Cooperative, DEMCO, Entergy
Natural gas: Entergy, Louisiana Gas Service Company, Mid-Louisiana Gas Company, Atmos
Energy Telephone: AT&T Inc.
Water: Baton Rouge Water Company, City of Baker, City of Zachary
Sewer: City of Baker, City of Zachary, East Baton Rouge Parish
Trash: Allied Waste===
Military===Baton Rouge is home station to the Army National
Guard 769th Engineer Battalion, which recently had units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The armory located near LSU has three company-sized units: 769th HSC (headquarters support company);
769th FSC (forward support company); and the 927th Sapper Company. Other units of the battalion
are located at Napoleonville (928th Sapper Company); Baker, Louisiana (926th MAC mobility
augmentation company); and Gonzales, Louisiana (922nd Horizontal Construction Company).
The 769th Engineer Battalion is part of the 225th Engineer Brigade, which is headquartered
in Pineville, Louisiana, at Camp Beauregard. Four engineer battalions and an independent
bridging company are in the 225th Engineer Brigade, which makes it the largest engineer
group in the US Army Corps of Engineers. Baton Rouge is also home to 3rd Battalion,
23rd Marine Regiment (3/23), a reserve infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps
located throughout the Midwestern United States consisting of about 800 marines and sailors.
The battalion was first formed in 1943 for service in the Pacific Theater of Operations
during World War II, taking part in a number of significant battles including those at
Saipan and Iwo Jima before being deactivated at the end of the war. In the early 1960s,
the unit was reactivated as a reserve battalion. The battalion is headquartered in Saint Louis,
Missouri, with outlying units throughout the Midwestern United States. 3/23 falls under
the command of the 23rd Marine Regiment and the 4th Marine Division. Recent operations
have included tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.==Transportation=====
Shipping===The Port of Baton Rouge is the 9th-largest
in the United States in terms of tonnage shipped, and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River
port capable of handling Panamax ships.===Highways and roads=======Interstates====
Baton Rouge has three interstate highways: I-10, I-12
(Republic of West Florida Parkway), and I-110 (Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway).
Interstate 10 enters the city from the Horace Wilkinson Bridge over the Mississippi River,
curving at an interchange with Interstate 110 southeast, crossing the LSU lakes and
Garden District before reaching an interchange with I-12 (referred to as the 10/12 split).
It curves further southeast, towards New Orleans as it crosses Essen Lane near the Medical
District. It passes Bluebonnet Blvd and the Mall of Louisiana at exit 162, and leaves
Baton Rouge after interchanges with Siegen Lane and Highland Road.
Interstate 12 (The Republic of West Florida Parkway) begins in the city at the I-10/I-12
split east of College Drive, and goes east from there, crossing Essen Lane, Airline Hwy,
Sherwood Forest Blvd, Millerville Road, and O’neal Lane before leaving the city when crossing
the Amite River. Interstate 110 (The Martin Luther King, Jr.
Freeway) stretches 8 miles in a north-south direction from the east end of the Horace
Wilkinson Bridge to Scenic Highway in Scotlandville, Louisiana. It passes through downtown, North
Baton Rouge, and Baton Rouge Metro Airport before ending at Scenic Highway.====US highways and major roads====
Baton Rouge has two US highways, along with their business counterparts: Airline Highway
(US 61) and Florida Boulevard. US 190 enters the city from the Huey P. Long
Bridge, beginning a concurrency with US 61 after an interchange with Scenic Highway,
near Scotlandville. Its name is Airline Highway from this interchange to the interchange with
Florida Blvd. At this interchange, US 190 turns east to follow Florida Blvd through
Northeast Baton Rouge, exiting the city at the Amite River.
US 61 enters Baton Rouge as Scenic Highway until it reaches Airline Highway (US 190).
It becomes concurrent with US 190 until Florida Blvd, where it continues south, still called
Airline Highway. It passes through Goodwood and Broadmoor before an interchange with I-12.
It continues southeast past Bluebonnet Blvd/Coursey Blvd, Jefferson Hwy, and Sherwood Forest Blvd/Siegen
Lane before exiting the city at Bayou Manchac. US 61/190 Business runs west along Florida
Boulevard (known as Florida Street from Downtown east to Mid City) from Airline Highway to
River Road in downtown. The cosigned routes run from Florida St. north along River Road,
passing the Louisiana State Capitol and Capitol Park Complex before intersecting with Choctaw
Drive. North of this intersection River Road becomes Chippewa Street and curves to the
East. US 61/190 Business leaves Chippewa Street at its intersection with Scenic Highway. The
route follows Scenic Highway to Airline Highway, where it ends. North of Airline on Scenic
and East of Scenic Highway on Airline is US 61. US 190 is East and West of Scenic on Airline
Highway. These are important surface streets with designated
state highway numbers: Greenwell Springs Road (LA 37), Plank Road/22nd Street (LA 67), Burbank
Drive/Highland Road (LA 42), Nicholson Drive (LA 30), Jefferson Highway/Government Street
(LA 73), Scotlandville/Baker/Zachary Highway (LA 19), Essen Lane (LA 3064), Bluebonnet
Blvd/Coursey Blvd (LA 1248), Siegen Lane (LA 3246), and Perkins Road/Acadian Thruway (LA
427).====Traffic issues and highway upgrades====
According to the 2008 INRIX National Traffic Scorecard, which ranks the top 100 congested
metropolitan areas in the U.S., Baton Rouge is the 33rd-most congested metro area in the
country. However, at a population rank of 67 out of 100, it has the second-highest ratio
of population rank to congestion rank, higher than even the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa
Ana metropolitan area, indicating a remarkably high level of congestion for the comparatively
low population. According to the Scorecard, Baton Rouge was the only area out of all 100
to show an increase in congestion from 2007 to 2008 (+ 6%). The city also tied for the
highest jump in congestion rank over the same period (14 places).Interstate 12 used to have
a major bottleneck at O’Neal Lane. The interstate was three lanes wide in each direction to
the O’Neal Lane exit, where the interstate abruptly became two lanes in each direction
and crossed the narrow Amite River Bridge. This stretch of road, called “a deathtrap”
by one lawmaker, had become notorious for traffic accidents, many with fatalities. In
2007, ten people died in traffic accidents within a three-month period on this section
of road. Governor Bobby Jindal and the Baton Rouge legislative delegation, in 2009, were
successful in allocating state and federal funding to widen I-12 from O’neal Lane to
Range Avenue (Exit 10) in Denham Springs. The construction was completed in mid-2012
and has significantly improved the flow of traffic. In 2010, The American Reinvestment
and Recovery Act provided committed federal funds to widen I-12 from the Range Avenue
Exit to Walker, Louisiana. Noticing the significant improvement in commute times, Bobby Jindal
further funded widening to Satsuma, Louisiana. Interstate 10 West at Bluebonnet Road also
ranked within the top 1000 bottlenecks for 2008, and I-10 East at Essen Lane and Nicholson
Drive ranked not far out of the top 1000. A new exit to the Mall of Louisiana was created
in 2006, and the interstate was widened between Bluebonnet Blvd and Siegen Lane. However,
the stretch of I-10 from the I-10/I-12 split to Bluebonnet Blvd was not part of these improvements
and remained heavily congested during peak hours. In response, a widening project totaling
at least $87 million began in late 2008. Interstate 10 was widened to three lanes over a five-year
period between the I-10/I-12 split and Highland Road. In 2010, the American Reinvestment and
Recovery Act provided supplemental funding for this project to extend to the Highland
Road exit in East Baton Rouge Parish. Commute times have since plummeted for this section
of interstate.Surface streets in Baton Rouge are prone to severe congestion. However, roads
are beginning to handle the amount of vehicles using them after years of stagnation in road
upgrades. Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden has instituted an extensive upgrade of East Baton
Rouge Parish roads known as the Green Light Plan, geared toward improving areas of congestion
on the city’s surface streets. With its first project completed in October 2008, it has
seen numerous others reach completion as of 2015, with several more under construction
and still others yet to break ground.A circumferential loop freeway has been proposed for the greater
Baton Rouge metro area to help alleviate congestion on the existing through-town routes. The proposed
loop would pass through the outlying parishes of Livingston (running alongside property
owned and marketed as an industrial development by Al Coburn, a member of President Mike Grimmer’s
staff), Ascension, West Baton Rouge, and Iberville, as well as northern East Baton Rouge Parish.
This proposal has been subject to much contention, particularly by residents living in the outer
parishes through which the loop would pass. Other suggestions considered by the community
are upgrading Airline Highway (US 61) to freeway standards in the region as well as establishing
more links between East Baton Rouge Parish and its neighboring communities.===Commuting===
The average one-way commute time in Baton Rouge is 22 minutes, 13% shorter than the
US average. Interstates 10 and 12, the two interstates that feed into the city, are highly
traveled and connected by highways and four-lane roads that connect the downtown business area
to surrounding parishes.According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 81.9% of working
Baton Rouge residents commuted by driving alone, 8.5% carpooled, 3% used public transportation,
and 2.4% walked. About 1.2% used all other forms of transportation, including taxi, bicycle,
and motorcycle. About 3.1% worked at home.The city of Baton Rouge has a higher than average
percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 10.4 percent of Baton Rouge households
lacked a car, and increased slightly to 11.4 percent in 2016. The national average is 8.7
percent in 2016. Baton Rouge averaged 1.55 cars per household in 2016, compared to a
national average of 1.8.===Airport===
Located 10 minutes north of downtown near Baker, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport
connects the area with the four major airline hubs serving the southern United States. Commercial
carriers include American Eagle, United Airlines, ViaAir, and Delta Air Lines. Nonstop service
is available to Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin, Orlando Sanford and Charlotte.===Rail===
Three major rail lines, Kansas City Southern, Union Pacific, and Canadian National provide
railroad freight service to Baton Rouge. Since 2006, Baton Rouge and New Orleans leaders
as well as the state government have been pushing to secure funding for a new high-speed
rail passenger line between downtown Baton Rouge and downtown New Orleans, with several
stops in between.===Buses and other mass transit===
Capital Area Transit System (CATS) provides urban transportation throughout Baton Rouge,
including service to Southern University, Baton Rouge Community College, and Louisiana
State University. Many CATS buses are equipped with bike racks for commuters to easily combine
biking with bus transit. Greyhound Bus Lines, offering passenger and
cargo service throughout the United States, has a downtown terminal on Florida Boulevard.==Notable people====
Sister cities==Cairo, Cairo Governorate, Egypt (since 1951)
Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France (since 1963) Taichung, Taiwan (since 1976)
Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico (since 1977) Port-au-Prince, Ouest, Haiti (since 1978)
Liège, Liège Province, Belgium (since 1985) Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
(since 1987) Córdoba, Veracruz, Mexico (since 2002)
Heze, Shandong, People’s Republic of China (since 2008)
Malatya, Malatya Province, Turkey (since 2009) Guiyang, Guizhou, People’s Republic of China
(since 2010)==See also==Baton Rouge Police Department
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office Louisiana Technology Park==Notes

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