Will Phillips, Day 1

Will Phillips
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11:00 am: We started off early this morning (4:00 am), but our first real action came when we visited the Louisiana state capitol building, an impressive and ornately designed structure in Baton Rouge.  The Louisiana Capitol building is the tallest capitol in the US, standing at 450 feet above the ground.  As if to punctuate this distinction, it offers views from an observation deck on th 27th floor.

The capitol was built during the Great Depression, ironically, at the behest of Governor Huey Long, who would be assassinated in his very creation in 1935.  Even today, you can see a bullet hole in one of the many granite colonnades on the first floor, a solemn reminder of that fateful day.

The entrepreneurial side of me, however, is quick to note that the exhibit on Long’s assassination seemed to be a more popular exhibit than the observation deck with the many tourists who were at the capitol today.  Sure, the Senate and House chambers were impressive, and the observation deck not only offered amazing views, but also allowed us to watch two members of our own group contend with their fear of heights.  But it was the site of Long’s assassination that was most interesting.

11:30am: Across from the Louisiana State Capitol, past the statue and tomb of Governor Huey Long, is the Louisiana State Museum.  The museum covered everything from its inception as a territory, through its exploration and annexation, to its current cultural offerings.

Louis Armstrong's Bugle, in the Louisiana State Museum

As an aside, I was surprised to learn that Louisiana has Black Bears within the state.  The population isn’t large (about 100), but who knew?

1:00pm: We arrived in New Orleans, and I must say, I am somewhat shocked that the city seems to be back to its self again after hurricane Katrina.   The last time I was in New Orleans was two weeks before Katrina swept through and devastated the area.  Some parts are a bit grungy, but it certainly appears that the area has nicely recovered.

3:00pm:  When you first walk into the WWII Museum, you are taken aback by the massive military vehicles, boats and planes that are placed on display.   There were two exhibits being shown, the 1st exhibit was covering D-Day and the 2nd exhibit was covering the Pacific Theatre.   Both Exhibits were interesting with a mixture of pictures, films, and actual objects that were on display.   One interesting offering was the propaganda posters, which not only showed US propaganda, but also the Japanese propaganda.  One showed FDR drawn as an evil character, a demon or vampire.

Japanese Propaganda: FDR as Vampire

 

We start early tomorrow, with Beignets at the Café Du Monde.  From there we will head to Montgomery, Alabama (stick around to see our itinerary!) and then to Savannah, Georgia, where we will arrive at approximately 1:30 am…

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