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Baton Rouge is the capitol of the state of Louisiana.  It is located in East Baton Rouge Parish which contains 430,000 residents.  The Greater Baton Rouge population is approximately 790,000.  Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, and port center of the American South.  The Port of Baton Rouge is the ninth largest in the United States in terms of weight.  The Baton Rouge region, like that of other capital cities in the United States, is called the "Capital Area."

Beginnings

Baton Rouge dates back to 1699, when French explorer Sieur d'Iberville leading an exploration party up the Mississippi River saw a reddish cypress pole festooned with bloody animals and fish that marked the boundary between Houma and the Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds.  The called the tree "le baton rouge," or red stick.  From evidence found along the Mississippi, Comite, and Amite rivers, and in the three native mounds remaining in the city, archeologists have been able to date habitation of the Baton Rouge are to 8000 B.C.

Capitol City Progressfdsfdsfds

Since European settlement, Baton Rouge has functioned under seven governing bodies: France, England, Spain, Louisiana, the Florida Republic, the Confederate States, and the United States. In the mid-1700s when French-speaking settlers of Acadia in Canada's maritime, were driven into exile by British forces, many took up residence in rural Louisiana. Popularly known as Cajuns, descendants of the Acadians maintained a separate culture that immeasurably enriched the Baton Rouge area. Incorporated in 1817, Baton Rouge became Louisiana's state capital in 1849. Architect James Dakin was hired to design the new Capitol building in Baton Rouge, and rather than mimic the federal Capitol Building in Washington, as so many other states had done, he conceived a Neo-Gothic medieval castle overlooking the Mississippi, complete with turrets and crenelations. During the first half of the nineteenth century the city grew steadily as the result of steamboat trade and transportation; at the outbreak of the Civil War the population was 5,500 people. The Civil War halted economic progress but did not actually touch the town until it was occupied by Union forces in 1862.

Modernization

 

Increased civic-mindedness and the arrival of the Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railroad led to the development of more forward-looking leadership, which included the construction of a new waterworks, widespread electrification of homes and businesses, and the passage of several large bond issues for the construction of public buildings, new schools, paving of streets, drainage and sewer improvements, and the establishment of a scientific municipal public health department. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the town had undergone significant industrial development as a result of its strategic location for the production of petroleum, natural gas, and salt. In 1909 the Standard Oil Company built a facility that proved to be a lure for other petrochemical firms. The New Louisiana State Capitol was built in 1932 by Huey P. Long and signaled the eventual growth of the city. Throughout World War II, these plants increased production for the war effort and contributed to the growth of the city.

 

Today

 

In the 1950s and 1960s, Baton Rouge experienced a boom in the petrochemical industry, causing the city to expand away from the original center, resulting in the modern suburban sprawl. In recent years, however, government and business have begun a move back to the central district. A building boom that began in the 1990s continues today, with multi million dollar projects for quality of life improvements and new construction happening all over the city. In the 2000s, Baton Rouge has proven to be one of the fastest growing cities in the South, in population and technology. Baton Rouge is now one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. (under 1 million), with 600,000 in 2000 and 770,000+ since 2000. Aside from politics, there is also a vibrant mix of cultures found throughout Louisiana, thus forming the basis of the city motto: "Authentic Louisiana at every turn".


Economy

 

Baton Rouge is the farthest inland port that can process deep ocean tankers and cargo carriers. Baton Rouge is where those ships transfer their load (grain, crude, cars, containers) onto rail and pipeline to travel either east-west or onto a barge to move good north-south. Deep draft vessels cannot pass the old Huey Long Bridge because it is too low, and the river gets shallow near Port Hudson.

Baton Rouge's biggest industry is in petrochemicals. Exxon Mobil has the second largest refinery in the country here and among the top 10 in the world. It also has rail, highway, pipeline, and deep water access. Dow Chemical has a large plant in Iberville Parish near Plaquemine.  NanYa Plastics has a large facility in North Baton Rouge that makes PVC and CPVC pipes. Shaw Construction, Turner, and Harmony all got started by working construction projects at these plants.

Major Companies

in Baton Rouge

Lamar Advertising
The Shaw Group
Amedisys
Piccadilly Cafeterias
Community Coffee
Albemarle Corporation
Raising Cane's

 

Being the state capitol and the parish seat, the largest employer in Baton Rouge is the government, which recently consolidated all branches of the state government downtown in a complex called "Capitol Park".

The research hospitals of Our Lady of the Lake, Earl K. Long, as well as an emerging medical corridor at Essen Lane/Summa Avenue/Bluebonnet Boulevard that is poised to become an area similar to that of the Texas Medical Center.

Due to state and local tax credits for the film industry, Baton Rouge is positioning itself as "Hollywood South" along with Shreveport and New Orleans. The new Celtic Media Centre, which is Louisiana's first and only full service studio/sound stage, along with two other planned studios are being built to meet the needs of this growing industry As of the census of 2000, there were 227,818 people, 88,973 households, and 52,672 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,964.7 people per square mile (1,144.7/km²). There were 97,388 housing units at an average density of 1,267.3/sq mi (489.4/km²).

Demographics

There were 88,973 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.8% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 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 spread out with 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.

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. It is also a college town with college students from Baton Rouge Community College, Louisiana State University, and Southern University who make up approximately 20% of the city population. In addition, there's a sizable international population of about 11,300, the largest of which are people of Hispanic or Vietnamese descent. Due to this, Baton Rouge has come to have its own unique culture as well as be a representation of many different heritages.

Arts and Theater

Baton Rouge has an expanding visual arts scene, which is centered downtown. This increasing collection of venues is anchored by the Shaw Center for the Arts.  Opened in 2005, this award winning 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. Also known as LASM, it contains Irene W. Pennington Planetarium, traveling art exhibits, space displays, and an ancient Egyptian section. Several smaller art galleries offering a range of local art are scattered throughout the city.

There is also an emerging performance arts scene. The Baton Rouge Little Theater, Baton Rouge River Center, and Manship Theatre mostly host traveling shows, including broadways, musical artists, and plays. Other venues include Reilly Theater which is home to Swine Palace, a non-profit professional theater company associated with the Louisiana State University Department of Theatre

Sports

 

Baton Rouge is a city that is heavily into college sports. The LSU Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars are the two most popular teams and provide the city's biggest entertainment each football season. The teams' dominance of the city's sports scene is distinguished by the numerous shops and restaurants around town that sell and display memorabilia. College baseball, basketball, and gymnastics are also popular.

The city also has a minor league soccer team, the Capitals, who play in the PDL (Premier Development League). Currently, the team plays their home games in Olympia Stadium.

Education

The Baton Rouge Area contains 12 public school districts-Ascension, Baker, Central Community, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, and Zachary. School districts in the region provide opportunities for advanced learning through Gifted and Academic Magnet programs and tailored programs in music, visual arts, and dramatic arts. Additionally, the Capital Region is home to four of the top ten performing districts in the state.

Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, generally known as Louisiana State University or LSU, is a public, coeducational university that is the main campus of the Louisiana State University System. LSU includes nine senior colleges and three schools, in addition to specialized centers, divisions, institutes, and offices. Enrollment stands at more than 32,000 students, and there are 1,300 full-time faculty members. LSU is also one of twenty-one American universities designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant research center. [2] In order to reverse decades of underfunding, the university recently launched an ambitious fund-raising drive, called the "Forever LSU" campaign.

Southern University and A&M College is a comprehensive institution offering two associate degree programs, 42 bachelor degree programs, 19 master degree programs, and five doctoral programs. The University is part of the only historically black Land Grant university system in the United States. Southern became a land-grant school in 1890, and an Agricultural and Mechanical department was established.  The University offers programs of study ranging from associate degree to doctoral and professional degrees. Southern University also provides opportunities for students to do internships and summer assignments in industry and with the federal government.

Baton Rouge Community College is an open admissions, two-year post-secondary public community college, established on June 28, 1995 and settled into a permanent location in 1998. The 60-acre campus consists of five main buildings: Governors Building, Louisiana Building, Cypress Building, Bienvenue Building (student center), and the Magnolia Library Building. The college's current enrollment is more than 6,000 students. The curricular offerings include courses and programs leading to transfer credits, certificates and associate degree

Transportation

Baton Rouge is connected by the following major routes: I-10 (Capital City Expressway via the Horace Wilkinson Bridge), I-12 (Republic of West Florida Parkway), I-110 (Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway), Airline Highway (US 61), Florida Boulevard (US 190) (via the Huey P. Long Bridge), Greenwell Springs Road (LA 37), Plank Road/22nd Street (LA 67), Burbank Dr. & Highland Rd.(LA 42), Nicholson Drive (LA 30), Jefferson Highway (LA 73), Louisiana Highway 1 (LA 1) and Scotland/Baker/Zachary Highway (LA 19). The business routes of US 61/190 run west along Florida Blvd. from Airline Hwy. to River Road downtown. The routes also run along River Rd., Chippewa Street and Scenic Highway from Chippewa to Airline. US 190 joins US 61 on Airline Hwy from Florida Blvd. to Scenic Hwy, where the two highways split. US 190 continues westward on Airline to the Huey P. Long Bridge while US 61 heads north on Scenic Highway.

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, Ascension, West Baton Rouge, and Iberville, as well as northern East Baton Rouge Parish.

Airport

The metropolitan area is served by the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, located in north area of Baton Rouge, between city and the suburb of Baker. The airport is currently going through an expansion to improve its facilities and better compete with other markets

 

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