Panel #17 Mississippi Riverwalk
—Mile 228.4 AHP —
Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana... going navigation on the Mississippi River. ...gas fields in Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma... a major processing and transportation... industry.
The French built the first fort here in 1819. They named it Baton Rouge ("Red Stick") for a tall red post hat mad the boundary between local Native Americans. Britain took control in 1763 after the French and Indian War. During the American Revolution, Spanish forces overpowered the British garrison and governed the area for twenty years. In the massive land transfer that became the Louisiana Purchase Spain retained control of Baton Rouge, but in 1810 the area's pro-American inhabitants rebelled. They established the Independent West Florida Republic, which was soon annoyed to the United States. Baton Rouge prospered as an American Port and was chosen state capital in 1849.
After New Orleans fell early in the Civil War, Union forces moved quickly up-river to occupy Baton Rouge in May 1862. Three months later, Confederate forces attacked the town, hoping to regain control as part of a plan to recapture New Orleans. The battle was short and bloody but Confederate river forces never arrived and the attack was repelled. The state capital was moved from town to town during the hostilities but was returned to Baton Rouge in 1882.
Baton Rouge began to develop as an industrial center in 1909 when the first giant oil refinery was built. Later petroleum and chemical facilities were attracted by the area's resources and the economical ocean and river transportation. Industrial development during World War II tripled the city's population in a decade. Advancements in the petrochemical industry propelled further growth in the 1950's and 1960's. Today, more than 100 miles of huge industrial plants line both sides of the river south to New Orleans.
With a 40-foot-deep channel open to the Gulf, Baton Rouge has become one of the nation's busiest ports. The Port Allen Lock and Canal directly across the river provides a useful shortcut to the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, a 1,209-mile shipping channel connecting Mexico and Florida.
Photo Credit (1) Interstate 10 Bridge at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, (2) Old State Capital - Louisiana Office of Tourism