BATON ROUGE: Capital of Louisiana, and the tallest state capital building in the U.S. thanks to Senator Huey Long, sending spies out to other capital buildings under construction, adding floors and a silly little dome to ensure its place in history. The free elevator to the observation deck does give a nice misty view over the Mississippi River on a rainy day, and the interior art deco style murals and lights are beautiful. He was assassinated here 4 years later, staff say, by ‘friendly fire’ from his bodyguards. None would testify so there was no meaningful investigation; conspiracy theories abound with Roosevelt, his political rival, figuring large.
Other than the friendliest Tango group led by our new pal Dan in his home, we didn’t find much to get us excited in the capital. It had a noteworthy dive bar, the only place around with WiFi, so it seemed a small price to pay to pick up inebriated locals falling off high bar stools and relocating them on low chairs…really. However, we found a well-priced, beginners’ ukelele here and are on our way to pickin’ heaven here in Rhoda.
Taking off for the “Outback” known as the Creole Nature Trail, we passed through Lafayette (Zydeco, baby!), and over lots of bayous, including this one requiring a ferry ride across. Lety was sure she could get to the birds…so close….so close.
Although we had hoped for a sighting of a wood stork, we were rewarded with lots of roseate spoonbills in the air and on the ground. One sleepy alligator and a swamp deer also was visible 15 feet from the raised walkway a couple miles back into the Sabine NWR, the biggest swamp river basin in the U.S. We slept about 50 feet from the ocean, by the sign telling us not to drive into the waves.
We were the only home not on stilts here, as Holly Beach was completely leveled by a hurricane a few years ago. Now, with about 60 houses on stilts, it looks like it is invaded by big ugly bugs.
Disappointed that we could not paddle our kayak on the famous Bayou Trace in the Atchafalaya River Basin, we had our first shrimp and okra gumbo in Breaux Bridge, LA from one of the renowned Breaux family chefs. I thought I hated Okra! Ha! With enough spices, that slimy green stuff just thickens the stew!
We were inundated with rain, causing flooding in the small towns along the “Spanish Trail” AKA the “Seafood Trail”. Driving through deep splashing water killed our propane fridge for a day until it dried out under the van, and we opted for higher ground to get to New Orleans safely. We hope to get back to Breaux Bridge to paddle the famous ‘Bayou Trace’ flowing under the eponymous bridge, when flooding and nasty snags won’t be such a worry to us kayakers.