Baton Rouge ‘Red Stick”
We took a day trip to Baton Rouge. We love visiting capital cities on Sundays! They are so quiet and Chris can come with us. The Louisiana state capitol building is the TALLEST capitol in our nation. The visitors center is located inside the capitol building. They were very helpful and informative.
Huey Long, former governor of LA and US senator, commissioned this building and then months after it was completed, at the age of 42, he was assassinated inside. The bullet holes are still in the marble walls. He is buried under the statue on the grounds.
Louisiana was the 18th state in the union.
We started chatting with one of the security guards (he is a former police officer) and he told us all about a bombing (would be considered a terrorist attack today) that occurred in 1970. He showed us newspaper clippings of the event, from a binder he keeps in his desk. There is still a couple of wooden shards in the ceiling. One of them people say is a pencil (they actually have a light shining on it) but it’s not a pencil- just a piece of wood that is the size of a pencil. The other one the guard showed us, not many people know about. There is a picture of it below. The ceiling with a tile lit up is the pencil size wood shard and the column to the left has the other piece towards the top.
Here’s the old capitol building
LSU campus visit
We are taking the girls on their college campus visits early:) They have visited University of Florida, William and Mary, Flagler College, and now Louisiana Sate University.
We were able to see the new LSU tiger (the last one died a year ago), Mike. His real name is Harvey.
My favorite part is that the campus has the oldest earthen Indian mounds in the US are located here. They are older than the Great pyramids! During football season they have them marked off so no one tailgates on them.
We also toured a WW II battleship called the USS Kidd because we are studying WWII right now.
Mrs. Heather’s Pumpkin Patch
The RV Park we are staying scheduled a Halloween party, which included a pumpkin carving contest so the girls wanted to go get pumpkins. I suggested just going to Walmart 10 minutes away to get one and they were disappointed in that suggestion. We have always gone to a pumpkin patch to pick ours out so that’s what they were expected. I found one about 30 minutes away with good reviews. It was perfect. The girls had fun running around doing all the activities. It was cheap too! $14 for all of us and that included 2 pumpkins, face painting and all the activities. Mission accomplished.
CAFE DE MONDE
A must do when visiting New Orleans. Mackenzie’s favorite food was American DONUTS, and now her favorite is French donuts!! They do have outside dining tables but you have to wait in an hour long line (we didn’t know that there was a Zombie run going on that morning when we decided to drive into town), so we decided to try the take out window and go sit on a bench in Jackson Square. Great decision, the wait was only 10 minutes and the park had so many benches that were empty. It was so busy and crowded at the cafe that we would not have enjoyed ourselves. To top it off , the girls found a window on the side of the building where you can see them making the beignets. We would have missed this had we stood in line on the other side to wait for a table. They put 3 beignets in each bag and they literally scoop a full cup of powdered sugar and pour the entire cup into the bag! Chris and I have been here years ago so I knew how much of a mess they make so I made sure to dress the girls in black shirts! I told them to take their beignets out of the bag and blow sugar on each other before they ate them.. it was so fun!! We may have been sticky for a while but it was so worth it!
We saw street performers and sat across from the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral in North America.
More New Orleans
We also visited the mouth of the Mississippi and put our hands in it. We plan to walk across it when we get up north. We also walked through the French Market.
Mardi Gras World
Our only knowledge about Mardi Gras, before visiting this museum, was that floats through beads into the crowd on Fat Tuesday and there is something about King cake.
This is a BIG deal in New Orleans so we decided to make this one of our priorities when visiting this city. “Fat Tuesday” is the English translation of the French term “Mardi Gras” .This is because Christian’s would stuff themselves with beef, bread, and anything else that was left in their homes on the last day before Ash Wednesday, which kicked off the 40 days of Lent leading to Easter Sunday. Mardi Gras is a holiday where everything closes and no one goes to work. It is the day before Ash Wednesday. This is the day of the parade and the last day of the celebration that actually begins on Epiphany, a Christian holiday celebrated on January 6 that is otherwise known as Three Kings Day or the Twelfth Day of Christmas. Hence the KING cake. King cake is a delicious cinnamon bread covered with icing in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. It is only served during the Mardi Gras season. What really sets king cake apart from other desserts, however, is the small plastic baby hidden inside. Whoever finds the baby in their slice must buy the next cake. We were able to taste a slice before the tour of the warehouse.
The process of the making the floats is amazing. The make them out of styrofoam and fiberglass. The artist are simply talented. We were able to see all the floats from past parades and the ones they are working on for this years floats. They actually make the Chick-Fil-A cows here! Yes that is a CFA cow in Louisiana wearing a Braves hat. A shout out to our friends back in Georgia.
Lakeside RV park Halloween fun
The girls didn’t want to carve the pumpkins, they really don’t like the feel of the insides, so they decided to just do simple decorations. They came up with a way to decorate the RV after a good ole fashion trip to the dollar tree. They got the ladder out and did a great job! We didn’t win the RV decorating contest but ours was the only ‘homemade’ one. The winner had several giant inflatables and lights, it was the Smith’s/Ryan’s house RV style, can’t compete with that! 🙂
During the afternoon we played bingo, ate hot dogs, swam in the pool, and then got dressed up and went radiational trick or treating. Lots were closer together so we were done pretty quickly.
There were children (mostly girls- reminds me of Hollowbrooke Way) at this park so the girls had fun running with with them.
Great RV park on a Lake, filled with children, bonus!
Lower Ninth Ward
Years ago the girls read a series of books called I survived by Lauren Tarhis in which they loved. Mackenzie loved them so much that she kept her favorites to bring on board with us. One of them was the I survived Hurricane Katrina. I had them re-read this book before we arrived in Louisiana. They really wanted to visit the Lower Ninth Ward after finishing the book. We did a study of Hurricanes (you know since we were being chased by them for a month) and they had learned how destructive they are.
As you know in 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest hurricane’s ever, hit US soil and killed almost 1300 people. Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. A month after Katrina, Rita flooded the Ninth Ward again. We reviewed all this before going to Biloxi, MS because it hit the coast there and destroyed the casino we stayed at. We learned that the because of a series of catastrophic levee breaches, The Lower Ninth Ward had the worst flooding in New Orleans.
One million people were displaced by the disaster, a phenomenon unseen in the United States since the Great Depression.
12 years later it still looks like an scene from The Walking Dead TV show without the zombies of course. There have been some recovery efforts but not enough. They didn’t let residents back in to their homes until a year after the tragedy because of the horrible conditions of mold and rats. In 2007, Brad Pitt, started a foundation and rebuilt 150 homes and then a year later another organization, Build Now, rebuilt 80 more homes.
I drove them done to Claiborne Street to see the newly build Levee and the still empty lots and debris scatting the streets. There is so much over growth and trash still. Here are some pictures of what is still a reminder of the devastation.
We ate at a few seafood restaurants so we could eat the local food. We ate crawfish étouffée, seafood gumbo, alligator bites, soft shell crab, jambalaya, and crab fingers. Dante’s was great even though the girls didn’t like the boiled potatoes that were brought out instead of the typical basket of bread. Yummy!
The St. Louis Cemetery is a must see if you visit New Orleans. They have to bury their dead above ground in New Orleans so all the cemeteries are like this but this one is the most famous. We watched the Disney animated movie The Princess and the Frog this week. The girls hadn’t see this in years and now that they had visited New Orleans they recognized all the things they are known for.
To drive in and out of New Orleans requires you to drive for miles and miles of bridges it’s a very strange feeling, if there was a accident you’d feel really ‘stuck’. We did see an alligator in the swamps on one of trips into the city. We did see an entire rainbow on Lake Pontchartrain on the way home from dropping Chris off at the airport. It was beautiful.
I was driving so I asked Mackenzie to take the picture and she was only able to get half of it.
We found a cute salon in Livingston, LA for hair cuts. Here are our ‘school’ pictures:)