Monday, April 18, 2016

Louisiana March 2016 Westward Ho! III Red Stick Country (yup that would be Baton Rouge)

Mar 28-31 2016 BREC Farr Park, Baton Rouge, LA

Natchez behind us, we continued to a revisit of Baton Rouge.  We had really regretted not scheduling more time there last November and even though it would only be 3 full days this time we wanted to at least see some of the city.  We stayed in the same park, Farr Equestrian Park, so we were treated to the sight of horses cavorting in the pasture each morning and afternoon and listened to them neighing and snorting as their handlers came in to take them on their walks.  To my mind, there are few other animals that are as magnificent as horses and I could sit for hours watching them.

The day we arrived was beautiful and this time we’d only had a 3 hour drive and I had shopping to do so set off to Trader Joe’s (when they are around I have to visit!) while Don went for a bike ride on the levee.  

The next day, we went into town to the Louisiana Museum of Art and Science. Having parked at the River Center parking garage we walked through the plaza at the Center and marveled at the wonderful juxtaposition of history, art- evocative, modern and diverse, and the Gothic architecture of the Old State House, which Mark Twain called “pathetic” with which I do not agree.  With Live Oaks along the sidewalks and lush plantings everywhere it was a truly enjoyable walk.  

Migrating People by Ivan Mestrovic

MLK Memorial

The Old State House a castellated Gothic design

Once again, as so often we have found in our travels, this was an excellent museum with a variety of installations and displays which took us 2 hours to view. Regrettably photography was only allowed in a few places. There was also a theatre where we wanted to see a film about Lewis and Clark’s journey but it wasn’t showing until later. So... we took a lunch break.  

On the recommendation of the proprietress of the Museum Shop we walked over to Poor Boy Lloyd’s to gorge ourselves.  After much indecision I finally settled on Lost Fries.  A veritable cardiac challenge of fries, drenched in beef gravy and spicy sliced roast beef and melted cheese and liberally doused with jalapeños, I enjoyed every fat and calorie laden bite.  It bore a faint resemblance to the poutine of Quebec (in that fries, gravy and melted cheese are involved) but this dish took the prize.  Of course: it was spicy!  Don had an alligator sausage po' boy and onion rings which he proclaimed “very good”- his highest praise. 
Our way there was along the riverfront.

Well stuffed, we walked back to the museum along the riverside park and then went in to watch a very well done film.  

The museum is housed in the old Train Station but the tracks are still active

USS Kidd

Museum of Art and Science

Part of a wall mural of the Milky Way

Full to the brim with our day-and aware that the animals would want to be let out- we went back to the campsite for the evening.  Phoenix’s ear continued to plague her although it seemed to be clearing up and she was eating again but I went and asked at the office if there was a vet at the stables.  There wasn’t but the LSU Small Animal Clinic was less than a mile down the road.  I figured if she wasn’t demonstrably better by our last day I would take her there.

That night the clouds came in and while the skies threatened rain in the morning we set off again into town to see the LSU Art Museum.  Small, but with some excellent installations, we thoroughly enjoyed it including the spectacular views of the river from their windows. 

After we were done at the museum and the store, we had lots of time on our hands when we were done so we walked to Main Street Market. A market with permanent shops and multiple food booths it is also the site of the Red Stick Farmer's Market on Thursdays and Saturdays, so of course, once again we'd miss it. 

One of the things that struck me about Baton Rouge in November and again this visit was the number of wonderful wall murals.  They are on buildings, walls and even tucked in the bushes beside roads.

By then our stomachs had informed us that they were beyond empty and we stopped at SYI Cafe for some down home cooking.  Chicken and shrimp with okra for both of us but Don took sides of corn and potato salad and I had a double helping of braised cabbage which was out of this world.  

These tabletops were all painted by the 2013 Youth Artists in the Farm to Table tops program.  What a great idea!

The SYI Cafe

To top off the delicious meal, my iced tea was perfectly sweetened (I learned when I lived in NC that iced tea is meant to be drunk sweet!) and we returned to the cafe just to tell the couple who run it how delicious the food was.

Two days of food overload meant we needed a little exercise so we walked around and then through Spanish Town, past the State Capitol, which for a time was the tallest building in LA and remains the tallest capitol in the US, and back along the streets, before finally getting back to the car.  We’d be leaving the next day but I had decided that Phoenix really needed a vet visit so, with a short drive ahead of us, we decided I would take her in the morning.

The history of both the Old State Capitol, a “castellated” Gothic design and the new one (above), an Art Deco design and the tallest capitol in the US are both interesting and available here

The morning got away from me and I did not get to the clinic until just before noon and well, you know what ERs are like. Poor thing had a whopper ear infection which only appeared to be getting better because her ear canal was stenosed (closed off) and she went home on Prednisone and ear meds.  We finally got out of there by 2:30 and were on the road by 4 headed west across the bridge and then the bayou and the wonderful Achafalaya (uh CHA fuh lie ya) River Basin.

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