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Baton Rouge Louisiana

“Baton Rouge” redirects here. For the film by Rachid Bouchareb, see Bâton rouge (film). For the restaurant, see Baton Rouge (restaurant).
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
City of Baton Rouge
Flag of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Official seal of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Nickname(s): Red Stick, The Capital City, B.R, The Chemical City
Location in East Baton Rouge Parish and the state of Louisiana.
Location in East Baton Rouge Parish and the state of Louisiana.
Baton Rouge is located in USA

Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge

Location within the United States

Coordinates: 30°26′55″N 91°07′33″W
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Parish East Baton Rouge Parish
Founded 1719
Incorporated 16 January 1817
 • Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden (D)
 • City 79.11 sq mi (204.89 km2)
 • Land 76.8 sq mi (199 km2)
 • Water 2.2 sq mi (5.7 km2)  2.81%
Elevation 56 ft (17 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • City 229,553
 • Estimate (2013)[2] 229,426
 • Rank US: 93rd
 • Density 2,964.7/sq mi (1,144.8/km2)
 • Urban 594,309 (US: 68th)
 • Metro 820,159 (US: 69th)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 70821
Area code(s) 225
Website City of Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge (/ˌbætən ˈrʒ/; French for “Red Stick”, French: Bâton-Rouge [batɔ̃ ʁuːʒ] ( )) is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana and its second-largest city. The seat of East Baton Rouge Parish, the city is located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River.

As the “Capital City,” Baton Rouge is the political hub for Louisiana,[3] and is the second-largest metropolitan city in the state, with a growing population of 229,426 people as of 2013.[4] The metropolitan area surrounding the city, known as Greater Baton Rouge, has a population of 820,159 people as of 2013.[4] The urban area has around 594,309 inhabitants.

Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture,[5] and growing technology[6] center of the American South. The Port of Baton Rouge is the ninth largest in the United States in terms of tonnage shipped, and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling Panamax ships.[7][8]

The Baton Rouge area owes its historical importance to its strategic site upon the Istrouma Bluff, the first natural bluff upriver from the Mississippi River Delta. This allowed development of a business quarter safe from seasonal flooding. In addition, the city built a levee system stretching from the bluff southward to protect the riverfront and low-lying agricultural areas. The city is a culturally rich center, with settlement by immigrants from numerous European nations and African peoples. It was ruled by seven different governments: French, British, and Spanish in the colonial era, West Floridian, United States territory and state, Confederate, and United States again.


Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville named Baton Rouge and lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas in the early French colonial era.


The European-American history of Baton Rouge dates from 1699, when French explorer Sieur d’Iberville leading an exploration party up the Mississippi River saw a reddish cypress pole festooned with carcasses marking the boundary between the Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds. They called the pole and its location le bâton rouge, or the red stick. The local Native American name for the site was Istrouma. (See Creek War for discussion of Red Sticks as related to Creek group.)

From evidence found along the Mississippi, Comite, and Amite rivers, and in three Native American mounds remaining in the city, archaeologists have been able to date indigenous habitation of the Baton Rouge area to 8000 BC.[9] The complex earthwork mounds were built by hunter-gatherer societies in the Middle Archaic period, perhaps as early as 4500 BC, more than a thousand years before the pyramids of Egypt were begun.[10]

The settlement of Baton Rouge by Europeans began in 1719 when a military post was established by French colonists. During the French colonial period, most settlement and agricultural development was concentrated in the area of New Orleans to the south, which became the major port for the colony of La Louisiane. The French also established colonial settlements at present-day Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama on the Gulf Coast. Upriver settlements were concentrated in the Illinois Country.

Since European settlement, Baton Rouge has been governed by France, Britain, Spain, Louisiana, the Florida Republic, the Confederate States, and the United States. In 1755, when French-speaking settlers of Acadia in Canada’s Maritime provinces were driven into exile by British forces, many took up residence in rural Louisiana. Popularly known as Cajuns, the descendants of the Acadians maintained a separate culture that immeasurably enriched the Baton Rouge area. During the first half of the 19th century, the city grew steadily as the result of steamboat trade and transportation.

Incorporated in 1817, Baton Rouge became Louisiana’s state capital in 1849. The architect James Dakin was hired to design the Capitol building in Baton Rouge. Rather than mimic the federal Capitol in Washington, as many other states had done, he designed a capitol styled like a Neo-Gothic medieval cathedral, complete with turrets and crenellations, and stained glass, which overlooks the Mississippi. It has been described as the “most distinguished example of Gothic Revival” architecture in the state and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.[11]

By the outbreak of the Civil War, the population of Baton Rouge was nearly 5,500. The war nearly halted economic progress, except for businesses associated with supplying the Union Army occupation of the city beginning in the spring of 1862. The Confederates at first consolidated their forces elsewhere, during which time the state government was moved to Opelousas and later Shreveport. In the summer of 1862, about 2,600 Confederate troops under generals John C. Breckinridge (the former Vice President of the United States) and Daniel Ruggles tried in vain to recapture Baton Rouge.

After the war, New Orleans served as the seat of the Reconstruction-era state government. When the Bourbon Democrats regained power in 1882, they returned the state government to Baton Rouge, where it has since remained. Karl Baedeker in his 1893 guidebook described Baton Rouge as “the Capital of Louisiana, a quaint old place with 10,378 inhabitants, on a bluff above the Mississippi.”[12]

Map of Baton Rouge in 1863


In the 1950s and 1960s, Baton Rouge experienced a boom in the petrochemical industry, causing the city to expand away from the original center. In recent years, government and business have begun a move back to the central district. A building boom that began in the 1990s continues today, with multi-million dollar projects for quality of life improvements and new construction happening all over the city.

In the 2000s (decade), Baton Rouge has proven to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the South in terms of technology. Baton Rouge’s population temporarily exploded after Hurricane Katrina, as it accepted as many as 200,000 displaced residents. Metropolitan Baton Rouge is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. (under 1 million), with 602,894 in 2000 and 802,484 people as of the 2010 census.[13] Some estimates indicate that the Baton Rouge metro area could reach 900,000 residents as soon as 2013.[14]

The city has a mix of the cultures found throughout Louisiana, from which it developed its motto: “Authentic Louisiana at every turn”.[15]

Geography and climate

Baton Rouge as viewed from the International Space Station

Baton Rouge is located at 30°27′29″N 91°8′25″W (30.45, −91.14) on the banks of the Mississippi River in Southeastern Louisiana.[16] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 79.1 square miles (204.9 km2), of which 76.8 square miles (198.9 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (2.81%) is water.

The city is located in the Mississippi River Delta on the first set of bluffs north of the delta’s coastal plains. Because of its prominent location along the river and on the bluffs, which prevents flooding, the French built a fort in the city in 1719.[17]

Baton Rouge is the third southmost capital city in the continental United States, after Austin, Texas and Tallahassee, Florida.

Tallest buildings

Downtown Baton Rouge

Downtown Baton Rouge from the observation deck of the Louisiana State Capitol

JP Morgan Chase Building and Riverside Tower

Baton Rouge’s tallest buildings are as follows:[18][19]

Name Stories Height
Louisiana State Capitol (Capitol Park; tallest state capitol building in the U.S.) 34 450 ft (137 m)
One American Place 24 310 ft (94 m)
JPMorgan Chase Tower (Chase) 21 277 ft (84 m)
Riverside Tower North (Chase) 20 229 ft (70 m)
Marriott Hotel Baton Rouge 22 224 ft (68 m)


Baton Rouge has many neighborhoods both inside and outside the city limits:

Houses in the University Lakes neighborhood

  • Arbor Walk
  • Banks
  • Beechwood
  • Belfair
  • Beauregard Town
  • Bird Station (Old)
  • Bird Station (New)
  • Bocage
  • The Bottom
  • Broadmoor
  • Brookstown
  • Brownfields
  • Camelot
  • Capital Heights
  • Cedarcrest
  • Centurion Place
  • Concord
  • Country Club of Louisiana
  • Dixie
  • Eden Park
  • Easytown
  • Fairfields
  • Froggy Mo
  • Gardere
  • Garden District
  • Goodwood
  • Glen Oaks
  • Ghosttown
  • Greendale
  • Inniswold
  • Hickory Ridge
  • Jefferson Terrace
  • Kenilworth
  • Lake Beau Pré
  • Lakes at Highland [20]
  • Mall City
  • Magnolia Woods
  • Mayfair
  • Mcdonald land
  • Melrose Place
  • Merrydale
  • Mid-City
  • Millerville
  • Monticello
  • North Gate
  • North Sherwood
  • Northdale
  • Oak Hills Place
  • Ogden Park
  • Old Hermitage
  • Old Jefferson
  • Orleans Place
  • Parkview Oaks
  • Parktown
  • Pelican Bay
  • Pollard Estates
  • Riverbend
  • Riverdale
  • River Oaks
  • River Oaks East
  • Santa Maria
  • Scotlandville
  • Shenandoah
  • Sherwood Forest
  • South Baton Rouge
  • Southdowns
  • Southern Heights
  • Spanish Town
  • Stratford Place
  • Tara
  • Tigerland
  • The Avenue’s
  • The Field
  • The Lake
  • The Maryland
  • University Acres
  • University Club
  • University Gardens
  • University Hills
  • University Lakes
  • Wedgewood
  • Westdale Heights
  • Westminster
  • White Oak Landing
  • Woodgate
  • Woodlawn Estates
  • Woodlands
  • Woodstone
  • Valley Park
  • Victoria Gardens
  • Villa Del Rey
  • Village St. George
  • Zion City


Baton Rouge has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with mild winters, hot and humid summers, moderate to heavy rainfall, and the possibility of damaging winds and tornadoes yearlong. The area’s average precipitation is 55.55 inches (1,411 mm) of rain and 0.1 inches (0.25 cm) inches of snow annually. With ample precipitation, Baton Rouge is fifth on the list of wettest cities in the United States. Snow in the Baton Rouge area is usually rare, although it snowed in three consecutive years recently: on December 11, 2008, on December 4, 2009 and on February 12, 2010.

The yearly average temperature for Baton Rouge is 67.5 °F (19.7 °C) while the average temperature for January is 51.21 °F (10.67 °C) and August is 80.54 °F (26.97 °C). The area is usually free from extremes in temperature with some cold winter fronts but those are usually brief.[21]

Baton Rouge’s proximity to the coastline exposes the metropolitan region to hurricanes. On September 1, 2008, Hurricane Gustav struck the city and would become the worst hurricane ever to hit the Baton Rouge area. Winds topped 100 mph (160 km/h), knocking down trees and powerlines and making roads impassable. The roofs of many buildings suffered tree damage, especially in the Highland Road, Garden District, and Goodwood areas. The city was shut down for five days and a curfew was put in effect. Rooftop shingles were ripped off, signs blown down, and minor structural damage occurred.

[hide]Climate data for Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Metropolitan Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 85
Average high °F (°C) 62.3
Daily mean °F (°C) 51.7
Average low °F (°C) 41.2
Record low °F (°C) 9
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.72
Snowfall inches (cm) 0
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.9 8.8 8.3 7.5 7.9 12.1 12.9 11.8 8.5 7.5 8.5 9.1 112.8
 % humidity 62 75 73 73.5 74 75 76 78 77.5 75 72.7 73.5 76.5
Source: NOAA [22] The Weather Channel (record temperatures) [23]

National Protected Areas


Baton Rouge City Hall (formerly the Governmental Building)

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,269
1850 3,905 72.1%
1860 5,428 39.0%
1870 6,498 19.7%
1880 7,197 10.8%
1890 10,478 45.6%
1900 11,259 7.5%
1910 14,897 32.3%
1920 21,782 46.2%
1930 30,729 41.1%
1940 34,719 13.0%
1950 125,629 261.8%
1960 152,419 21.3%
1970 165,963 8.9%
1980 219,419 32.2%
1990 219,531 0.1%
2000 227,818 3.8%
2010 229,553 0.8%
Est. 2013 229,426 −0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[24]
2013 Estimate[2]

As of the census of 2010, there were 229,553 people; per the 2010 census, 88,973 households, and 52,672 families residing in the city. The 2000 population density was 2,964.8 people per square mile (1,144.7/km²). There were 97,388 housing units at an average density of 1,267.3 per square mile (489.4/km²). According to the 2010 the racial makeup of the city was 50.4% Black or African American, 40.8% White, 0.5% Native American, 3.5% Asian, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 3.5% of the population. Non-Hispanic Whites were 37.8% of the population,[25] down from 70.5% in 1970.[26]

Of all households, 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.8% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,368, and the median income for a family was $40,266. Males had a median income of $34,893 versus $23,115 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,512. About 18.0% of families and 24.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those ages 65 or over.

At the 2005–2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, 32.4% of the population had a Bachelor’s degree or higher.


Baton Rouge enjoys a strong economy that has helped the city be ranked as one of the “Top 10 Places for Young Adults” in 2010 by Portfolio Magazine[27] and one of the top 20 cities in North America for economic strength by Brookings.[28] In 2009, the city was ranked as the 9th best place in the country to start a new business by CNN.[29] Lamar Advertising Company has its headquarters in Baton Rouge.[30]

Baton Rouge is the farthest inland port on the Mississippi River that can accommodate ocean-going tankers and cargo carriers. The ships transfer their cargo (grain, crude, cars, containers) at Baton Rouge onto rails and pipelines (to travel east-west) or barges (to travel north). Deep-draft vessels cannot pass the Old Huey Long Bridge because the clearance is insufficient, and the river depth decreases significantly just to the north, near Port Hudson.[31]

Baton Rouge’s largest industry is petrochemical production and manufacturing. The ExxonMobil facility in Baton Rouge is the second-largest oil refinery in the country; it is among the world’s 10 largest. Baton Rouge also has rail, highway, pipeline, and deep water access.[32]

ExxonMobil oil refinery seen from the Capitol tower

Albemarle is headquartered in Baton Rouge. Dow Chemical Company has a large plant in Iberville Parish near Plaquemine.[33] NanYa Technology Corporation has a large facility in North Baton Rouge that makes PVC and CPVC pipes. Shaw Construction, Turner, and Harmony all started with performing construction work at these plants.

CB&I local office on Essen Lane, a commercial office corridor

As well as being the state capital and parish seat, the city is also the home of Louisiana State University. One of the largest single employers in Baton Rouge is the state government, which recently consolidated all branches of state government downtown at the “Capitol Park” complex.[34]

The research hospitals Our Lady of the Lake, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital (affiliated with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital), Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, and Earl K. Long, helped by an emerging medical corridor at Essen Lane/Summa Avenue/Bluebonnet Boulevard, are positioning Baton Rouge to eventually support a medical district similar to the Texas Medical Center. LSU and Tulane have both announced plans to construct satellite medical campuses in Baton Rouge to partner with Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center and Baton Rouge General Medical Center, respectively.[29]

Southeastern Louisiana University and Our Lady of the Lake College both have nursing schools in the medical district off Essen Lane. Louisiana State University‘s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, which conducts clinical and biological research, also contributes to research-related employment in the area around the Baton Rouge medical district.

The film industry in Louisiana has increased dramatically in the last decade, in response to generous tax incentives adopted by the state in 2002. In September 2013 the Baton Rouge Film Commission reported that the industry had brought more than $90 million into the local economy in 2013.[35] Baton Rouge’s largest production facility is the Celtic Media Centre, opened in 2006 by a local group in collaboration with Raleigh Studios of Los Angeles; Raleigh dropped its involvement in 2014.[36]

Top employers

According to the City’s 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[37] the top employers in the city were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 State of Louisiana 22,120
2 Turner Industries 9,671
3 East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools 6,250
4 Louisiana State University 5,600
5 City of Baton Rouge – Parish of East Baton Rouge 4,612
6 ExxonMobil ChemicalBaton Rouge Refinery 4,213
7 CB&I 4,009
8 Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center 3,500
9 Performance Contractors 3,000
10 Baton Rouge General Medical Center 2,000


Baton Rouge is the middle ground of South Louisiana cultures, having a mix of Cajun and Creole Catholics and Baptists of the Florida Parishes and South Mississippi. Baton Rouge is a college city with Baton Rouge Community College, Louisiana State University, Our Lady of the Lake College, and Southern University whose students make up some 20% of the city population. There is a sizable international population of about 11,300, the largest of which are people of Hispanic or Vietnamese descent. Due to this, Baton Rouge has come to have a unique culture as well as be a representation of many different heritages.[38]

Arts and theater

Baton Rouge has an expanding visual arts scene, which is centered downtown. This increasing collection of venues includes the Shaw Center for the Arts.[39] Opened in 2005, this award-winning facility houses the Brunner Gallery, LSU Museum of Art, the Manship Theatre, a contemporary art gallery, traveling exhibits, and several eateries. Another prominent facility is the Louisiana Art and Science Museum (LASM),[40] which contains Irene W. Pennington Planetarium, traveling art exhibits, space displays, and an ancient Egyptian section. Several smaller art galleries, including the Baton Rouge Gallery, offering a range of local art are scattered throughout the city.

The city