Feeling the urge to get out of the four walls of your home? Stay in your vehicle, spot, and explore these local gems. Bonus points to those who explore all 10. Consider this our local road trip I spy or our take on the currently popular “bear hunt”.
1. A. Hays Town Architecture
Considered one of the most prominent architects in the South and Louisiana’s premier residential architect, it isn’t hard to believe that almost every house built in Louisiana during the last 20 years is in some way inspired by Town’s work. Did you know that many of his designs can be found right here in Baton Rouge, LA? His designs were heavily influenced by the Spanish, French, and Creole cultures of Louisiana and he truly defined and elevated the Louisiana vernacular to an art form.
2. Free Little Libraries
Well, we would say, “Leave a book and take a book”; however, we thought it may be best during this time to spot these colorful miniature bookcases of joy instead. They come in all shapes and sizes and have become a positive addition to so many Baton Rouge neighborhoods. What book is on your wish list?
3. Mural Spotting
Did you know Huey P. Long, Louis Armstrong, and Pistol Pete all share space on a wall mural in downtown Baton Rouge? We cannot quite decide which of these famous Louisiana characters we’d want to join us at dinner.
4. Magnolia Blossoms
The Magnolia is our state flower and right now they are in full bloom. Can you spot these as well as some other pretty things growing in various yards? We may as well all have a “Best in Show” sign in our yards currently!
5. Pink Flamingos
These serve as an official sign that the Spanish Town parade is coming to town. Many hold on to their prized fetch and display it proudly in their windows and yards from year to year. How many can you spot while cruising along? For an added adventure, drive through Spanish Town neighborhood – Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhood.
6. There is a Tunnel Under Lafayette Street Downtown?
Why yes! Located between The Heidelberg and The King Hotel – Known today as the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center and Hotel Indigo lies what used to be a passageway tunnel. This tunnel served as a secret underground passageway allowing Huey P. Long direct access to his mistress. Today, The Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center is set to reopen this historic tunnel as a private venue. So, go on, take a drive and ride over one of Baton Rouge’s lesser known hot spots.
7. Louisiana State University
The beauty of our state’s flagship university is breathtaking. At 2,000 acres, LSU’s campus is the 32nd largest in the nation and the largest in the state. Drive amongst the Live Oaks, historic Indian Mounds, and lakes – you are sure to find beauty round every bend. Do not forget to take in that National Champion producing stadium and wave to Mike from inside your car as you go.
8. Southern University - The Bluff + The Red Stick Sculpture
Most of us are familiar with how Baton Rouge got its name. But how many of you have ventured to the exact location where French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyre d’Iberville spotted this “red stick” while making his way upriver during an exploration in 1699? Today, at the same spot on Scott’s Bluff (now a part of Southern University’s campus), a commemorative Red Stick Sculpture stands tall to play homage to how the city of Baton Rouge got its name. We encourage you to go for a drive and see Scott’s Bluff!
9. Historic Highland Road
Weaving along a line of natural bluffs that served as a barrier to the Mississippi River flood plain, Highland Road was established as a supply road for indigo and cotton plantations of the earlier settlers, as an alternative to the often flooded River Road. Today, still weaving its way through Baton Rouge, Highland Road is a gem. Take a drive at your leisure and marvel at the majestic oaks and gorgeous homes along the way.
10. The Garden District
88% of the homes build before 1930 in this neighborhood are still standing. Home styles include Bungalow, Craftsman, English Cottage, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Classical Revival, and Colonial Revival. Residential architecture in this neighborhood is maintained so well that The Garden District is frequently used for television production sets. Did you know there is a select group of Live Oaks in this neighborhood that were individually inducted into the Live Oak Society? Come explore the rich soil and private gardens and see if you can make some cherished memories like those generations of families who still occupy these homes.