Having lived my entire life in the South, I’ve grown up on ‘yes ma'am’, ‘bless your heart’, ‘Y’all come back now’, and fried chicken and grits. But the other Southern lifestyle of ‘geaux’, ‘allons’, and leaving for ‘camp’ each weekend to eat boudin was completely foreign and fascinating to me. So, when an opportunity arose for our family to take a long weekend to Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital city, you better believe I was excited to pack my bags and experience this new culture just a couple states away.
We booked our stay at the Crown Plaza, located in the hear of the city just minutes from LSU. As we drove past LSU on our way to check-in, we got giddy hearing the marching band practice “Fight for LSU” and my 8-year old decided then and there that he would be a playing for the Tigers one day. Upon check-in I was delighted that while we were in the middle of the city there was a calm and serenity about the hotel as witnessed by the hospitable staff, the lush patio and grille, and the welcoming pool that was priority number one to our kiddos after 6 hours cooped in the car.
After rinsing off we divided pinks and blues and the boys went off to Santa Maria Golf Course for a fun day of golfing and sodas in the Spanish-style club house, while the girls and I headed off to historic Magnolia Mound Plantation. What a beautiful property! We loved hearing the stories of the family who lived there, felt history touch home as we saw the slave quarters and imagined what life was like when you weren’t free, and were baffled at the pigeonnier, where pigeons and game birds were housed as part of the French Creole lifestyle.
We all met back up for dinner at The Patio Grille and chowed down on Shrimp Remoulade and Gulf Fish Provencal, swapped stories, and slept hard. The next day we walked around the historic city admiring the architecture and snacking on beignets. We got a taste of a Louisiana bayou with a visit to Bluebonnet Swamp, a beautiful cypress-tupelo swamp right in town with gravel paths and boardwalks passing over turtles and other wildlife. The exhibit hall containing reptiles and even baby alligators was a huge hit. Baton Rouge, you’ve captured our hearts!