‘Baton Rouge’ Category


Engineering Chemicals

Linda Burton posting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana – “Chemical engineering,” Robert answered, nodding as though that were the only logical answer. I was stopped at the gate on the LSU campus, asking for directions and permission to drive through. I’d also asked the young man sitting in the booth his major. “My grandson Justin is studying chemical engineering too,” I smiled back, “he’s a junior at the University of Florida.” “I’m a junior too,” he replied. “Tell him that for a chemical engineer, Baton Rouge is the perfect place to be.” It probably is, I thought as I drove through this well-settled campus where oak trees curve above wide streets. I’d seen the tank fields north of the capitol; I’d seen huge cargo ships on the river. I didn’t know who they belonged to however, or what their business was all about. Back in my room on this chilly but sunny first day of winter, I settled in; a little research to do. According to the Baton Rouge Chamber, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, The Shell Group, and BASF are a few of the players; names that pop up under the header of Specialty Chemicals and Petrochemicals. Did you know one-quarter of America’s petrochemicals are manufactured in Louisiana? That includes basic chemicals, plastics, and fertilizer. Annual production of the nearly one hundred facilities operating in the state is valued at more than $19.6 billion. And approximately 65 of these facilities are in the Baton Rouge region. » read more


Open For Business

Linda Burton posting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana Merry Christmas glows red on the electronic board behind the President’s chair in the Louisiana Senate Chambers. Seasons Greetings follows below, in green. The time and date and the Louisiana state seal shine brightly in the middle; the senator’s names are listed on either side of the sign. Through the open door I see red-striped flags, pots of red poinsettias, and wreaths with red bows; all surrounded by soaring square columns in a dark exotic sturdiness. Splendid is the word that comes to mind; it’s the shine, the color, the richness of the look. The House Chambers are closed for a while; major renovation work is going on. But that’s okay, there is plenty to see in stunning Memorial Hall; handpainted murals in glowing colors; white marble statuary, double life-sized; filigreed bronze chandeliers; the Senate Chambers to the left; and just beyond the centered Christmas tree, the flags. I counted twelve in all, hanging over the bronze elevator doors. I boarded the elevator with a crowd; a mix of state employees and others like me, just visiting. It’s clear, the Louisiana state capitol is open for business. » read more


La Famille And The Beausoleil

Linda Burton posting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana –Sunday morning in Louisiana calls for brunch, in my opinion. Brunch with music, something French, perhaps? I picked Beausoleil; it met the French requirement (meaning “beautiful sun”) and was on the way to the state capitol, which would be my second stop. Christmas wreaths on red doors; the Sunday music man standing by the front window tuning his guitar; I knew I’d made a good choice. “Merry Christmas,” I said; he nodded back, “Same to you.” The hostess approached; hair in a French plait; leather boots to her knees over casual jeans; fringed scarf draped down long; the proper ambiance. I was seated right away; a cozy corner facing French doors that led out to the patio. This was a neighborhood stop; a friendly charm permeated the room; people chatted from one table to the next. My server appeared wearing a butcher’s apron and a handlebar mustache. “I’m Christopher,” he said, as he leaned close and rattled off the specials of the day. Southern Magazine recently listed Beausoleil as one of the top 50 restaurants in the south, I’d read, citing Chef Nathan Gresham’s Seared Foie Gras French toast and Truffled Fried Oysters as part of the reason; he’s built his menu around fresh, local ingredients. So far, so good, I’m thinking, studying my menu. » read more


Geaux Tigers!

Linda Burton posting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana – “I’m studying opera at LSU,” Dwayne told me, in basso tones. “I play piano too, and I used to direct our church choir,” said this Vicksburg, Mississippi native who has come south to school. Dwayne is the first person I talked to at my hotel in Baton Rouge, he has the front-desk afternoon-evening checkin job. I arrived early; it was an easy drive south from Jackson with no unusual change of landscape to report. I-55 south is heavy on piney woods and light on traffic; I think “pleasant” would be the word. Traffic expands to mad-hatter frenzy when you hit I-12 west; many tankers headed towards this town of oil refineries. What else will I find in Baton Rouge? I asked Dwayne for directions to the capitol and downtown; on the map he outlined a route that would lead me through the LSU campus. I know about LSU and football, having sons whose Saturdays have always been entwined with the goings-on of the SEC. But I don’t know LSU beyond that, so I did a little reading up when I got to my room. Geaux Tigers was the first thing I saw. » read more