New Orleans River Road Baton Rouge Louisiana

New Orleans, River Road, Baton Rouge, St. Francesville

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New Orleans, River Road, Baton Rouge, St. Francesville

Tuesday, November 8, 2000. This day we spend learning a valuable lesson that will serve us well on our seven-month trip in the motorhome next spring.

After sleeping late we decide to get some cash from the ATM next to the Navy Exchange. This Bank One ATM would not give me cash. Undeterred, we went to the ATM operated by the Navy Federal Credit Union. This ATM took my Debit Card giving me a receipt informing me of it and providing a phone number to contact. Using a nearby pay phone I dial the number and the operator tells me to deposit $4.24. Like Hell! I hang up and redial using my pre-paid AT&T card. This time a message informs me that the number has been changed to-XXX-XXXXX. You guessed it. I did not have a pen or pencil. I am losing what cool I may have had. I go to the car and get a pin, return to the pay phone and re-dial. This time I am able to write down the new number. Calling the new number I wade through a complex voice mail matrix then get to a message that says the next operator will be with me in approximately 4 and one half minutes. It was closer to eight minutes. As I tried to explain to the totally innocent voice on the other end the pay phone hung up on me. Exasperated, I dial back only to be greeted by the message that says the next operator is 9 minutes away. I hang up realizing that there is no way I can handle this over the phone. We obtain directions to Navy Federal. Upon arriving I sign in requesting to speak to the Supervisor. A few minutes later we are escorted into the office of a bleached blond in her mid-fifty's. I am looking into the blue eyes of this complete idiot that was ruining my day. The bottom line she knew very little. Emphasis on VERY LITTLE. She did not know why her machine had taken my card. She was responsible for the wrong number on the receipt in the machine. She was responsible for not having enough employees to answer their phone within nine minutes. It was her voice mail system that could not be navigated. She did know that a Brinks armored truck would retrieve everything in the machine around
2:30 and sometime after that they would stop at the Navy Federal Credit Union. At that time the Blond I was talking to would have my card in her physical possession. However, she could not give the card back to me without my credit union's approval. I give the Blond my credit union's telephone number. As luck would have it she got a voice mail system that had her on hold for 10 minutes. They gave Blondie permission to return my card.

I returned to Blondie's Navy Federal Credit Union shortly before 5:00. I was immediately escorted to Blondie's office where I signed something indicating that my credit card had been returned to me.

Moral and lesson learned: Those of you traveling in your RV for extended periods may learn from my experience. First let me add that my Federal Credit Union has agreements, supposedly, with all other Federal credit unions to provide cost free ATM service. My mistake, that will not be repeated when I am out of town, was to put my card in an ATM. Never again will it get out of my sight, in one of those machines, when I am not at home and in my local credit unions facilities. In the future I will take my debit card to a grocery
store or Wal-Mart to get cash. Wall-Marts and grocery stores will not confiscated my card. Lesson learned in spades!


Joyce and I took the ferry to New Orleans for a late lunch at Mothers. For those of you not familiar with New Orleans this is one of the "must do" eating establishments. Joyce and I like to order a variety of things then share. On this occasion we chose the famous Ferdi Special (a half loaf of French bread stuffed with baked ham, roast beef, debris and gravy, shredded cabbage, mayo and Creole Mustard), seafood gumbo, and two bread puddings. Neither of us wanted to share our bread pudding. Imagine that! Debris is the roast beef, which falls into the gravy in the oven. If your roast beef does not fall into the gravy you probably need to cook it for about 20 more hours. With enough cooking and liquid a roast will transform to shredded beef gravy. Ladled onto a split loaf of French bread and WOW, you know why Mother's is so popular. Mother's also serves bread pudding with rum
sauce as good as anyone's. Mother's shares their bread pudding recipe at

I spent considerable time trying to send e-mail this afternoon. Actually, I want to send e-mail but cannot get my dialer to dial the sequence of numbers required to access my ISP via a pre-paid phone card. Dave Damouth has provided detailed instructions on how to accomplish some pretty complicated dialing sequences. I know that I am close, however close don't count. When I return to Pensacola this is one of the things I have got to perfect. I have to have a dialer that will access my ISP from phones that require a 9 to access an
outside line and a dialer that will access my ISP from phones that do not require a 9. Each of these dialers must go through the intricate dialing sequences required of a pre-paid calling card.

We spend the early part of Tuesday night listening to election returns. My home state of Florida seems to be behaving like some sleazy Banana Republic. It is embarrassing! We are watching CBS and they are effusively apologizing for giving Florida to Gore.

Wednesday, November 08, 2000. We move the motorhome to Baton Rouge 104 miles north of New Orleans following the meandering Mississippi River today. Using the GPS and SA8 Joyce navigates us from one attraction to another. We exited I-10 twenty miles north of New Orleans and started visiting a series of quaint museums, Plantation homes, specialty Cajun meat markets and the Stockpile restaurant in Grand Point. In the Cajun meat markets we purchase andouille sausage for our own use when we return to Pensacola. In two of them we purchase hogs headcheese for Joyce's father. He is an old Georgia country boy and Joyce remembers him liking hogs headcheese. In the meat market they assure us that they do not make hogs headcheese the old way. Dumb me! I ask -------"and what would the old way be?" They explain that it IS NOT made with the pig's head anymore. It is
made with choice pork. Now I know! I suspect I am still going to watch Pop's eat his hog's headcheese and just guess what it taste like.

Lunch at the Stockpile restaurant (corner of La 3125 & La 642 near Grand Point) featured dirty rice and baked chicken with peas. This was Cajun dirty rice containing about 50 percent beef and pork chips and gravy. The rice had soaked up the gravy giving it the dirty color. They heaped enough "dirty rice" on our plate to feed a field hand. If you have never experienced dirty rice this is the place to get your sample.

We arrive in Farr RV Park South Of Baton Rouge in time to set up and prepare for the cold front sweeping across the area. Our weather radio has been going off all day warning of thunderstorms. Tonight the weather radio says we are under a tornado and thunderstorm warning from 6:00 until midnight. Several times the local television interrupts programming to advise of dangerous thunderstorms and tornados transversing the area. Doppler radar shows severe storms passing all around us. Joyce and I have checked out the concrete
block restrooms and bathhouse. If the weather radio advises of a tornado we know where we will go. Thankfully, our RV'ing friends have discussed at length how to cope with dangerous weather conditions when on the road in unfamiliar places.

It is Wednesday night and we still do not know who our new President will be. CBS is still apologizing for the Florida fiasco. This election was so close that neither candidate got a mandate. Whichever one occupies the White House for the next four years is likely to moderate their current stance. I predict that the winner will have to build a coalition of moderates from the opposition party. I suspect there may even be members of the other party included in the Cabinet much like Clinton did with his Secretary of Defense.

Thursday, November 8, 2000. That was some kind of major front that passed through here last night. Tornadoes passed north of us several times. Each time our weather radio would warn us. We never abandoned the motorhome for the concrete block restrooms but we knew what we would do if the tornado was headed our way. The tornadoes passed
about 20 miles north of us. We tracked them on SA8 using information provided by weather radio then plugging the local community names into the "find place" feature on SA8. There was NO way to track weather station information on official state maps. Paper maps do not have enough detail. The communities where the tornado was or was projected
to be were not on printed maps. Additionally if you are not familiar with an area there is no way to find a small community in an entire state. With SA8 and the "find place" feature we just typed in the community name and up came a detailed map with the desired community in the center. It was easy to see where we were in relation.

Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge

We toured the Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge today. If you are passing through Baton Rouge on I-10 or I-12 this is an easy place to stop and visit. It is not well marked but it is located at the Essen lane exit of I-10. Cost is $5.00 each and was a super value. This is an excellent collection of 1700's and 1800's memorabilia ranging from farm implements, to early mousetraps, and bear traps. Various mortars & pestles, mostly concave indentations in large cypress logs, set on end, with a rounded wooden pestle also made of cypress. The wealthier plantation owners had large stones that ground corn and were driven by mule or slave power. In the delta area of Louisiana mules had to provide the power that was provided by water in more mountainous regions. They had a fantastic presentation of rural sugar cane processing complete with pressing juice from the cane to the three stages of boiling molasses. The more molasses that is refined from the raw sugar juice the better the price. Some plantations only refined down to thick molasses while others achieved a sticky brown sugar and the best would produce white sugar that we know today. There were displays of houses for slaves, and tenant farmers, as well as the early settlers. Exhibits displayed a variety of early ice boxes, butter churns, egg incubators, a horse drawn hearse from the 1850's, many 1800's vintage cane and logging wagons. If settlers used
it, this museum had it on display. We were able to examine several different shoo fly mechanisms. The ones we had inspected in the plantation homes earlier were elaborate red velvet trimmed with gold. The common folk used palm or palmetto fronds to accomplish the same thing. There was a complete blacksmith shop, chicken coops, complete with chickens, outhouses, copper bathtubs and pressure cookers. In one room they had a large display of slave memorabilia including the advertisements for sale. All kinds of leg irons, and other metal shackle and restraining paraphernalia, including branding irons were displayed. This is a "must see" place for anyone interested in rural farm life.

Farr RV Park and horse activity center is operated by the city of Baton Rouge on what appears to be an old plantation. There are many old pecan trees dropping nuts around the park. Joyce and I fill several grocery bags with what we call seedling pecans. Seedling pecans are small in comparison to the commercial varies being cultivated today. However, seedling pecans are full of oil and flavor. While picking up pecans we observe many killdeer on the ground around the pasture. We could also hear the killdeer vocalizing
at night.

Michael Anderson's Seafood Restaurant was the dining place tonight. Michael Anderson's in Baton Rouge and New Orleans is noted for fine dining. We chose to do Ralph & Kacoo's in New Orleans and save Michael Anderson's for our Baton Rouge stop. We recommend the Crab Meat Au Gratin, bread pudding and soups (gumbo, etouffee and bisque.) Joyce and I shared a sampler of gumbo, etouffee and bisque. I particularly enjoyed the bisque while Joyce favored the etouffee.

Around 7:00 when we exited Michael Andersons we decided to drive the Saturn around the old and the new Capital buildings. Joyce cranked up the SA8 & GPS and navigated us to the old Capital building. It is a massive Gothic Revival Castle built in 1849. Reported to be the ugliest building on the Mississippi by none other than Mark Twain. I beg to differ with Mark Twain. It surely must look like a European castle from the Mississippi River complete with an ornate wrought iron fence and lawn that rivals the one sported by the White House in Washington, DC. In the center of this castle is a large stained glass window facing the Mississippi River. At night, lights inside of the Capital shine on the stained glass creating a truly awe inspiring tapestry. I cannot see what Mark Twain's hang up with this building was.

St. Francisville

Friday, November 10, 2000. Joyce has a day in St. Francisville planned for us. St. Francisville is located 30 miles north of Baton Rouge and about 5 miles east of the Mississippi River. As we head north out of Baton Rouge we pass miles and miles of refineries then the landscape changes from flat sugar cane land to small hills. There are more live oaks and red oaks. The swampland has given away to oak hammocks and rolling pastureland. This was once upon a time cotton plantation territory where as south of Baton Rouge sugar cane
plantations were predominant. St. Francisville is an old community that has maintained many of its historically significant properties. There are seven or more antebellum plantation homes within a few miles of St. Francisville. We chose to tour the Oakley House located in Audubon State Park. Like in so many of the other Plantation exhibits this one had wonderful artifacts. I shelled corn with a hand grinder, then took the kernels and put them into another hand grinder that made meal out of the kernels. This is an experience for a city boy. The free ranging roosters and chickens appreciated the ground corn.

Using SA8 & GPS Joyce navigates us from one Plantation house to the other. The Plantations in this area are built on the top of small hills. Each hill is an oak grove with live oaks being predominant.

Butler Greenwood Plantation had the most magnificent stand of live oaks leading to their Plantation house. The grounds are truly beautiful. Finally it is time to slow down and find a place to eat.

Joyce chose the Magnolia Café in downtown St. Francisville. This was another local restaurant highly recommended by a variety of sources. The food was good and we recommend the place, best of all was the bread pudding. They have the best rum sauce we have sampled on this trip. It was either better or they ladled on more of it. Which ever
it was um-um good.

On the trip back to the motorhome we decide to take the hwy 190 bridge west over the Mississippi River to Port Allen, on the west bank, follow La 1 south to I-10 then come back across the Mississippi River on I-10 thereby bypassing downtown Baton Rouge. An added benefit was getting to see Port Allen. From Port Allen, which is across the Mississippi river from Baton Rouge we could clearly see the new, completed in 1932; State Capitol building purported to be the tallest capital building in the United States at 450 feet with 34 floors.

Another day has passed and the country still does not know who their next president will be. It is embarrassing to tell anyone that we are from Florida. How can a Presidential election come down to this? Is it going to be decided by one county in one state?

Tomorrow is Saturday and Florida State University will be playing football again. I will have to get a newspaper or TV schedule to see whom their opponent will be. Whatever Joyce is planning for tomorrow may have to be "adjusted" J.

Magnolia Mound Plantation

Saturday, November 10, 2000. Mike starts the day by picking up a grocery bag of pecans. Then Joyce navigates us to Magnolia Mound Plantation located within a mile of the LSU campus. Magnolia Mound Plantation was preserved by the City of Baton Rouge. It is a treasure. Magnolia Mound is a Creole house originally constructed in 1790. Because they used cypress for the main timbers the place is still standing and in relatively good shape. There are many good exhibits and the docent was extremely knowledgeable. The docent gave a good account of kitchen activities and how each of the unique kitchen implements were used. Of particular interest was a waffle iron dating to 1800. It looked similar to current waffle irons except it was made of cast iron and had a 4-foot long handle so it could be thrust into the open fire in the fireplace. Another unique tool was the "pincher" which resembles a modern day tree lopper. The handles were long with only about 2 inches of cutting blade. Salt and sugar in the early 1800's came in blocks and they used this tool to "pinch" off some salt or sugar. Now you know the origin of the term a pinch of salt.

In one of the out buildings craftsmen of the area were building and repairing things using tools from the 1800's. One of the men was turning a table leg on a crude but effective lathe. Another was using a drawing plain to construct another part. We had seen many of the tools and implements in other exhibits but did not understand how they were used. Now we know.

Another item unique to this plantation was a pigeon roost. This was a small building that had holes or roosts about 15 feet off the ground. According to a period recipe book, pigeon was a delicacy. By providing a roost for the pigeons they could harvest them at leisure. According to the recipe book there were various sorts of pigeons, tame, wood and wild. The tame were the most in use. Wild pigeons were tasty boiled or roasted, but not in fricassees or ragouts, as the flesh was considered too "black".

Magnolia Mound was constructed on a mound like the name implies. It appears that this mound was created centuries ago by a bend in the Mississippi River. Today it is about one half mile east of the Mississippi. There are many 225-year-old live oaks on the property. The grounds are beautiful.

Louisiana State Capital

From Magnolia Mound Joyce plots a course to the Louisiana State Capital building. This is the "new" one that was constructed in 1932 and not to be confused with the old Capital building a few blocks south. The exterior is limestone and the interior marbles from every state in the union with marble and many foreign countries. The floor of the first floor is lava rock from Mount Vesuvius.

The architects used symbolism throughout the design of the building. As the square tower rises, it is cut away to an octagon at the 22nd floor. At this point four allegorical winged figures guard the corners. They represent Law, Science, Philosophy and Art.

The entrance is approached by a grand staircase with one step for each of the 48 states, listed in the order of their admittance to the Union. Alaska and Hawaii were added to the top step when they were made states. The top step is carved with "E Pluribus Unum" from the Great Seal of the United States: it means "One from many."

Louisiana's state symbol, the pelican, decorates the side of the steps and is used extensively elsewhere in the building.

Monumental statues flank the stairs. To the east is The Patriots - an armored soldier and the mourners of a warrior slain in battle. To the west is The Pioneers - men and women of courage who created Louisiana out of wilderness. A carved frieze around the base of the building illustrates Louisiana's struggles and its admission to the Union. Four double life size marble sculptures of great governors in Louisiana history are found in the gigantic hall on the first floor separating the House Chambers from the Senate Chambers.

Chambers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives can be reached through magnificent bronze doors. These doors are an example of superior workmanship. Each weighs a solid ton, yet opens as smoothly as a well-crafted cabinet on oiled hinges. Panels on the House doors represent events in the state's history; Senate doors depict colonial Louisiana.

The marble used throughout the first floor is breathtaking. Every color and pattern imaginable is represented. This place is opulent beyond belief. In my opinion it makes the Capital building in Washington D.C. look like a cheap imitation.

There is an observation deck on the 27th floor that overlooks Baton Rouge at a height of 350 feet. The views are spectacular.

We dined at the Cheesecake Bistro. Joyce remembered eating at a Cheesecake Bistro while visiting Victoria, British Columbia several years ago. The highlight of this meal was the bread pudding with white chocolate sauce. The white chocolate sauce is as good or better than the rum sauces we have been sampling.

Sunday, November 10, 2000. We get up late then pick up another bag or two of pecans and prepare the motorhome to head east. We get on I-10 and I-12 in Baton Rouge heading east for 30 bone jarring miles then exited I-12 at Springfield south to Louisiana 22 which parallels I-12. Louisiana 22 is a Louisiana scenic highway and traveling is MUCH
BETTER than I-12 east bound out of Baton Rouge. RV'ers going east or west through Louisiana should seriously consider 190 since it
parallels I-10.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

We stopped for several hours in Ponchatoula, Louisiana and visited many of the antique shops and art galleries located in the historic district. Anyone into serious antiques would love this place. They have antique stores on top of antique stores. Wholesale Antiques had a large selection of Chippendale furniture, tables and chairs, china cabinets, leaded lamps and windows, crystal, Victorian furniture, jewelry and collectables.

Ponchatoula has a fat 10-foot alligator on display across the street from the museum. Another place we enjoyed was Julia Sims Nature Photography at 129 E. Pine Street. Julia is an award winning nature photographer. You may be able to see some of her work at

The next time we pass through Mandeville we are going to try some of the local seafood restaurants located on hwy 190 through Mandeville.

We stop at a Wal-Mart Super Store parking lot in Gulf Port, Mississippi for the night. Jim and Barbara Bolhouse were staying in another motorhome at Wal-Mart with us. They are almost fulltimers but still maintain their home in Michigan. What a delightful couple.

Monday, November 12, 2000. We made our way back to Pensacola arriving home around noon. I-10 in Florida was bad but not as bad as the interstates through Louisiana.


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Until next time remember how good life is.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix

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