A Landing a Day

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Posted by graywacke on December 16, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2069; A Landing A Day blog post number 496.

Dan –  I’m digging down a little deeper into the 140’s thanks to this USer landing in . . . LA; 34/35; 6/10; 149.3.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing1

My local shows that I landed on the north end of Baton Rouge, near the airport (the big gray X just east of my landing):

 landing2 

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot, showing that I landed on the grounds of some sort of large facility:

 GE1

A closer in look shows that I actually landed on a basketball court!  See the shadows of the hoops at each end?

 GE2

And yes, I have a GE StreetView shot from the road right next to the basketball court:

 GE3

Oh oh.  Is that razor wire along the top of the fence?  Well, here’s another StreetView shot from a little further up the road:

 GE4

So I landed on a prison basketball court.  Well, there’s a first time for everything!

 Backing up a little, here’s a shot of my landing and the airport:

 GE5

And right in front of the airport is a little stream, which is where a drop of water that lands in the prison would end up (if it doesn’t go into some storm sewer that redirects it to Lord knows where):

 GE6

That little stream is actually the Monte Sano Bayou.  As you can see on this map, the Monte Sano actually discharges right into the Mighty Mississippi (814th hit):

landing3 

Here’s a GE shot of where the Monte Sano Bayou flows into the Mississippi:

 GE7

Scenic little spot, eh?  The facility towards the top of the photo is owned by my ex-employer, ExxonMobil.  They own a huge piece of real estate (that happens to have a refinery on it) that goes on and on and on downriver for more than two miles:

whatever

 Before moving on, let me note that I’ve flown in and out of the Baton Rouge airport a couple of times (for trips to Jazz Fest in New Orleans when all of the flights to New Orleans were sold out).  So, I think that I can officially say that I’ve been closer to this landing than any other!  Oh oh.  Wait a minute.  On second thought, I remember a North Philly landing . . .

 Ah yes – take a look at this Google Earth (GE) shot of landing # 9 (April 13, 1999):

 GE NE Philly

I landed a mere 700 feet from the Amtrak Northeast Corridor tracks.  Although it didn’t happen often, I’m absolutely sure I took Amtrak from Philly to NY at least a couple of times . .

 So, I’ll backtrack a little and say that today’s landing marks the second closest I have physically been to one of my landings.  Oh oh.  Wait a minute.  On third thought, I remember a coastal NJ landing . . .

 Ah yes – take a look at this GE shot of landing # 503 (August 3, 2004).  My landing is just off of Brandt Beach on Long Beach Island. 

GE Brandt Beach

Now, Long Beach Island has been a go-to spot for me for decades.  And yes, I have been in a boat following the channel markers for the intracoastal waterway.  That means, I was only a couple of hundred feet (at most) from this landing!

 So, I’ll backtrack once again and say that today’s landing marks the third closest I have physically been to one of my landings.  (Phew, I just checked out another NJ landing, and it was more than a mile off Route 202, which I have frequently traveled.)

 OK.  True confessions.  Upon further reflection, I remembered that if I land close to an Interstate highway, I usually note it on my landing spreadsheet.  So, I did a search for “I-“ and son of a gun if I didn’t find a few more close encounters (as close or closer than today’s half-mile miss of the airport):

 Landing 1164 (May 22, 2007) was a little less than a half mile south of I-95 in Connecticut (between Stamford & Darien).  Of course I’ve driven on I-95 in Connecticut!

 Landing 1499 (August 15, 2008) was only about a quarter mile west of I-380 in Pennsylvania.  I-380 is a spur of I‑80 that connects Scranton to I-80.  I’ve been on that road many times as well. . . .

 Landing 1918 (August 22, 2010) was about a half mile east of I-95 in way-upstate Maine.  Once, just once, I drove that section of I-95 on my way to Nova Scotia . . .

 Phew.  I think that’s a complete listing of landings within a half mile of where I’ve been.  Moving right along . . .

 I stumbled on something of minor geologic interest:  I landed just north of an active geologic fault!  Come on, I’m a geologist, and I would never guess that a fault (and associated earthquakes) would happen here.  Anyway, here’s the cover of a geologic report about the faults:

 scotlandville fault cover

Check out the crack in the land and the buildings!  Of particular interest is the Scotlandville Fault, as the general neighborhood of the Airport and prison is known as Scotlandville.  Here’s a map, where you can see my landing, the airport and (drum roll please) the Scotlandville Fault.

 scotlandville fault map

The “U” stands for “up.”   I’ll let you figure out what the “D” stands for.  Man, those geologists and their complex terminology!

 Anyway, there was an earthquake in 1958 in Baton Rouge.  Here’s what the US Geologic Survey has to say about it:

 On November 19, 1958, a local earthquake in the Baton Rouge area shook houses and rattled windows. Scores of residents telephoned the Weather Bureau, Civil Defense, police and radio stations.

Moving right along . . . no visit to Baton Rouge would be complete with discussing the name of the City.  Digging deeply into my extensive French vocab, I can figure out that Baton Rouge can be translated “Red Stick.”  According to Wiki, here’s the story:

 The European-American history of Baton Rouge dates from 1699, when French explorer Sieur d’Iberville lead an exploration party up the Mississippi River.  His party saw a reddish cypress pole festooned with dead animals that marked the boundary between the Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds. They called the pole and its location le bâton rouge, or the red stick. The local Native American name for the site was Istrouma, which also translates to “red stick.”

Louisiana has two of the more unique State Capital buildings (located, of course, in Baton Rouge).  Here’s a Panoramio picture of the “Old State Capitol,” by K.L. Burgess.

 pano KLBurgess old capital 

Here’s some verbiage from LouisianaOldStateCapital.org:

 In 1847, Baton Rouge lured Louisiana’s capital away from the city of New Orleans with the donation of a plot of land high on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi. Architect James Harrison Dakin (1806-1852), a New York native with a thriving practice in New Orleans, was retained to design the new capitol building.

The building’s construction started in 1847 and ended in 1852, the same year as Dakin’s death.

The statehouse served as the seat of Louisiana government until 1862 when Union troops captured Baton Rouge.  Fleeing Union troops, Louisiana legislators abandoned the building in which they had voted to secede from the Union in 1861. The building was used as a Union prison and garrison until December 28, 1862 when the interior of the building was destroyed due to an accidental fire started by Union soldiers.

The ruined interior was completely reconstructed in 1882.

Here’s a Panoramio shot (by Parrot Head Tim) of the “new” State Capitol building:

ParrotHeadTim Pano new capital

From the State Tourism website, here’s some info about the “new” capital building:

 What began as the dream of one man – Huey P. Long – became a symbol of the pride, the history and the spirit of Louisiana’s people.

To construct a State Capitol Building during the 1930s, the time of the Great Depression, was an idea only a powerful politician could have made a reality.

A special session of the legislature was called to vote on the amendment that would provide the funding for construction. The first vote fell four votes short of the two-thirds majority that was needed. The Speaker of the House ordered a rollcall vote and, while the list of names was read, Governor Long, standing in the back of the chamber, had time to encourage a few legislators to vote in favor of his building. The vote passed and the funding was approved.

In 1935, the Louisiana State Capitol Building was the site of Huey P. Long’s assassination. Senator Long was buried on the grounds and his statue faces the Capitol.

What!?!?  Huey Long was assassinated in the State Capitol building!  I’ve been vaguely aware of him, but confess that I didn’t know he was assassinated.  Time for a little research.  First, here’s a 1935 Time Magazine cover featuring Huey:

 time mag

From HueyLong.com:

 HUEY LONG (1893-1935) was Louisiana’s legendary populist Governor, U.S. Senator and favorite son. Poised to run for president on his “Share Our Wealth” platform, Long was assassinated in 1935 at the age of 42.

Long was revered by the masses as a champion of the common man and demonized by the powerful as a dangerous demagogue.

Here are some themes that defined the man:

Share the Wealth:  A vocal critic of corporate greed and government incompetence, Huey Long’s “Share Our Wealth” political movement swept the nation during the Great Depression, garnering millions of supporters and threatening the re-election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Kingfish:  Huey Long was known as “the Kingfish”, a take-charge problem solver who delivered immediate relief to the suffering and powerless. As Governor, he used strong-arm tactics to break political gridlock and cut red tape. He took Washington by storm as the most outspoken U.S. Senator.

Programs:  Huey Long launched a vast program of modernization and reform in Louisiana — building roads, bridges and vital infrastructure, providing free public education to children of all races, expanding LSU, expanding voting rights and healthcare, and lowering taxes on the poor majority.

Philosophy:  Huey Long believed that government should protect and uplift its most vulnerable citizens and provide opportunity for everyone, regardless of race or class. He broke the monopoly on power held by the ruling elite and their corporate backers and transformed Louisiana politics.

Legacy:  Huey Long transformed the public’s perception of the role of government in a democratic society. Some of our most cherished government institutions — from social security to veterans benefits, student financial aid to public works projects — were causes championed by Huey Long.

Quite the interesting guy, eh?  

I’m a fan of singer/songwriter Randy Newman, and know his song “The Kingfish” (about Huey Long, obviously).  Here ‘tis, with the words following:

 

There’s a hundred thousand Frenchmen in New Orleans
In New Orleans there are Frenchmen everywhere
But your house could fall down
Your baby could drown
Wouldn’t none of those Frenchmen care

Everybody gather ’round
Loosen up your suspenders
Hunker down on the ground
I’m a cracker
And you are too
But don’t I take good care of you

Who built the highway to Baton Rouge?
Who put up the hospital and built you schools?
Who looks after shit-kickers like you?
The Kingfish do

Who gave a party at the Roosevelt Hotel?
And invited the whole north half of the state down there for free
The people in the city
Had their eyes bugging out
Cause everyone of you
Looked just like me

Kingfish, Kingfish
Everybody sing
Kingfish, Kingfish
Every man a king

Who took on the Standard Oil men
And whipped their ass
Just like he promised he’d do?
Ain’t no Standard Oil men gonna run this state
Gonna be run by little folks like me and you

Kingfish, Kingfish
Friend of the working man
Kingfish, Kingfish
The Kingfish gonna save this land

I’ll close with a couple of Panoramio shots.  First, this shot by “National Travel” from north Baton Rouge looking south down the river:

 pano national travel

Here’s an artsy shot of the same two bridges (by Cody Sewell):

 pano cody sewell

 

That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

6 Responses to “Baton Rouge, Louisiana”

  1. If you woudl like to have a good look at the inside political dealings of Louisiana Politics and insight into Long himself, read I Called Him Grand Dad, the Lost Political Papers of Harvey G. Fields.

  2. Jenna said

    You’re telling me that you landed in a prison basketball court and you didn’t reference it at all?! No one famous? No crazy story about an inmate?! Just when I thought this blog could get interesting….

    Just kidding! Loved the throw backs, by the way! LBI!

    • graywacke said

      Hey Jenna! Glad you’re reading (and commenting).

      Yea, I thought about doing a little more research on the prison, but got distracted by all of the other stuff I ended up writing about . . .

      And how about landing in Barnegat Bay! Cool, eh?

      Greg

  3. […] Huey – heck, if I knew I’d be landing in his hometown, I might have saved it.  Anyway, click HERE to find out all you need to know about Huey P. Long (at least all I think you need to know . . […]

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