Monday, March 18, 2013

Baton Rouge and New Orleans

We said goodbye to charming and crawfish inhabited Breaux Bridge and continued along the highway toward New Orleans.

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We hadn't really planned on visiting Baton Rouge (Red Stick), but such is the magic of the road trip; the detours are often as much fun at the final destination. The landmark that piqued my interest was the state capitol building. Far from the played out domed structure, the Louisiana government headquarters looked very modern and reminded me of the Empire State Building.

A couple glass cases full of memorabilia stood in the hallway where Huey Long was assassinated. I of course had to read all about him on Wikipedia and the like. He was a US Senator during the Great Depression and had Presidential ambitions. He was apparently even more populist and leftist than FDR. FDR apparently told one of his aids that one purpose of the Second New Deal was to "steal Long's thunder". Pretty cool.

The whole experience was so unexpectedly cool that we agreed that we should try to visit the capitol building of every state where we have the opportunity.

The view from the top.

Finally we arrived in New Orleans. What a place. Our hotel was in the French Quarter so we headed there first. Bourbon Street during the day felt kind of like when its closing time at a bar and they turn all on the bright lights to get everyone to leave. All the crazy neon signs are without their magic and the bartenders all look very bored. At night though, it was rowdy even in the middle of the week.

Jackson Square, with its hero of the battle of New Orleans Andrew Jackson looking triumphant. St. Louis Cathedral in the back completes the postcard. 

The architecture and people watching were interesting enough that we spent most of the day strolling and soaking up the sights.

The Cafe Du Monde was really a required stop and was well worth it. I believe the menu only had two things, coffee and beignets. The beignets were awesome and some plates had so much powdered sugar on them that you couldn't see the doughnuts hiding underneath. I like the idea of a place doing just one thing really well for a really long time. Cafe Du Monde branded coffee and beignet mix cans were probably in every single gift shop in the whole city. I passed though. No way could you make them like that at home.

A little promotional video featured on their website. There's even a mention of Du Monde in Jimmy Buffett's "The Wino and I Know":

Well the coffee is strong
at the Cafe Du Monde,
And the donuts are too hot to touch;
But just like a fool, when those
sweet goodies cool, I ate 'til I ate way too much.

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