Red Stick: Neighborhoods, Flowers and River Walks

I went for a run this morning. I say it was a run, but it was more of a quest for soul food. I ran intermittently. I knew when I first got started that I’d need to be flexible this morning. So, I changed my focus from “going for a run” to exploring Baton Rouge, my long lost hometown. I parked Pursy in Beauregard Town. Downtown Baton Rouge is made up of a few distinct neighborhoods. Beauregard Town is made up of stately old homes and was founded in 1806.

Beauregard Town

Note: Hover over images or click on them for captions. Click on images to zoom.

I headed toward the Levee and the Old State Capitol Building. This is the area where festivals and concerts are scheduled on a regular basis. The levee river walk is one of my favorite runs but I have to limit it a little in the summer due to the fact that there’s not enough water en route for Ashok. She can access the Mississippi River for a dip in the downtown area, so this morning we just stuck around there.

The Old State Capitol and Third Street Fountains

The Levee and the Mississippi River

The Road to the Capitol

I made my way to the Louisiana State Capitol Building and the Pentagon Barracks. I am told that the Barracks are currently used by the Senators and Legislators when the Legislature is in session. The Barracks are one of my favorite places in that area. For some reason, the courtyard, the red brick and the darkened, aged corridors draw me in. There must be ghosts with interesting personalities there. I’d like to hear their stories.

The Pentagon Barracks

The Pentagon Barracks Courtyard

 

There are some beautiful parks surrounding the State Capitol. The Live Oaks hung with Spanish Moss, Cypress Trees and Magnolias hang shadows over the path making it cool and inviting. I’m always amazed when I see park benches there. These parks are almost always empty, and they are so beautiful and well-kept. I’d think that this area would be a popular spot for runners, families and visitors. But, I rarely see more than a handful of people at one time.

The State Capitol

The State Capitol Steps

The Parks Surrounding the Capitol Building

 

Ashok Goes Swimming

I closed my loop of downtown by finishing up with Spanish Town. Spanish Town is another old neighborhood. It’s more hip  than Beauregard Town. Flamingos and Mardi Gras beads accompany flower beds and font porches, remnants of the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade held the weekend before Mardi Gras. I saw plenty of neighborhood cats here. One particular one named Tea (sp.?) walked up to me and Ashok without any fear. Her current owner walked by and asked if Tea would be famous. I told her I would post the pics in my blog, so maybe he would be famous. She told me that Tea is a neighborhood cat who has adopted several subsequent owners, and she happens to be the current one. She said Tea was an old boy but everybody loved him.

Spanish Town

Baton Rouge has a number of homes and buildings downtown on the National Register of Historic Places. I suppose that’s not unusual for a downtown area. But, a memory came back to me when I was in Spanish Town looking at one of the placards. I was about 16. I carpooled to work in Baton Rouge from my home in Watson with my cousin Bonni, my Aunt Shirley and Momma. I was a student worker at some small building on Nicholson Drive. I’d sometimes go to Pancho’s for lunch and sopapillas and honey for dessert. My job was to type the lists of homes on the National Register of Historic Places. I typed all day … a task probably deemed too boring and mundane for regular state workers. I suppose I typed the names of some of these places I passed this morning. At that age, I would not have thought that historical buildings had much significance. My eyes would have been looking forward for new adventures ….. out with the old … in with the new.

I did more walking and sightseeing than anything else. But, I certainly felt better after I finished. It was 83 degrees when I got into the car but it felt like 93. Ashok is asleep under the chair in my living room now, and I think I’m going to lay down for an early afternoon nap shortly. I feel more grounded than I did when I got up. It was a beautiful morning to go for a run.

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