Christian Bionat, Day One

Christian Bionat
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome!

As many of you know, the Junior Fellows at Sam Houston State are taking a trip to Savannah, Georgia. We had departed in the early hours on Wednesday November 9. Our first stop was in Baton Rouge, LA. Here in the state capitol of Louisiana, we visited the 450 ft. tall building that houses both Louisiana’s House of Representatives and the Senate.

Junior Fellows at the Louisiana State Capitol

The building, with its Art Deco architecture, was beautiful, mirroring the Empire State Building’s style. Although the legislature was not session, we were still able to view the Senate’s chamber as well as the House of Representatives. Before moving onto the observation deck, I was able to see where former Louisiana governor Huey Long was assassinated. Ryan Brim also pointed out some of the bullet holes that were still embedded into the pillar and the floor.

Touring the observation deck was breath-taking. The view was gorgeous, although fairly windy and chilly. Given the height of the observation deck, Ryan and I stayed close to the walls, whereas Melva Gomez and Will Phillips were more of the intrepid travelers and ventured to the ledge to take photos and enjoy the views.

Afterward, the five of us went to the Louisiana State Museum where we toured the three story building that highlighted Louisiana’s culture as well as its past. We then traveled an hour to what many regard as Louisiana’s heart and soul—New Orleans.

We arrived in New Orleans around 1:00 pm and first visited the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, which traced the history of pharmacology.  Perhaps most interesting was the use of leeches to correct illnesses owing to “bad blood”!

An Alternative Form of Medicine: Leeches

For lunch, we followed a recommendation to eat at “Mothers,” a local Cajun restaurant.  I walked in with the intentions of ordering a good Cajun style meal and walked out pleased. I ordered the Gumbo a combination of chicken, sausage, and southern style rice in a warm Cajun gumbo. It was a good opportunity to be able to taste the culture of our neighbors here in Louisiana.

After lunch, we walked about six blocks away to the National WWII Museum which opened its doors in 2000. The WWII Museum was my favorite event thus far. The three-story building chronicled the World War II events in their entirety in both the European and Pacific theaters. The museum houses thousands of WWII artifacts including full size planes and boats. In addition, the museum has a large oral history collection, so guests can hear about the way straight from the veterans.  This museum was a premier historical memorial for all of those who had given up their lives to better our world.

You can check out our video greeting from the Museum at this website by clicking here.

After seeing as many museums prior to standard 5:00 pm closing times, we reached our hotel: the Hotel Provincial.  Our room has a pleasing view of a courtyard and fountain, and it is a nice and relaxing place to stay in the French Quarter.

Our last objective of our first day was dinner, and for that we fared forth to the Oceana Grill.  The food was fantastic.  We enjoyed char-grilled oysters, Oysters Rockefellers, alligator sausage, and turtle soup—and those were just the appetizers.

For my entrée, I enjoyed the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta which had alligator sausage Cajun seasoning, and shrimp piled on top of pasta.  Last, Ryan ordered a crème brule for dessert and a good portion of it, despite my attempts to talk him into sharing half and half.

After dinner, we walked down Bourbon Street.  Mostly, we tried to keep Ryan from seeing too many of the interesting sites.  On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by Jackson Square and enjoyed the beautiful architecture.

After one day and many sites, we are a little closer to Savannah, Georgia and the Georgia Political Science Association.

 

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