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Tourism

Tourism

Boasting 10 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, numerous attractions and museums, West Baton Rouge Parish offers many cultural amenities.

If you are planning a visit here, or are a resident looking for some fun, the Chamber and West Baton Rouge Tourist Information Center can provide you with information, on area hotels, dining, tours, festivals and special events.

The West Baton Rouge Museum houses permanent and rotating exhibits. It is an educational resource committed to researching, collecting, preserving and presenting artifacts, documents and art

objects that reflect the history and cultural heritage of West Baton Rouge Parish and the surrounding areas for the benefit of the general public and future generations.

West Baton Rouge Museum
845 N. Jefferson Avenue • Port Allen, LA 70767
(225) 336-2422 • Toll free 1-888-881-6811
Open: Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Sunday 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Free admission for West Baton Rouge Residents.
Other visitors $4 Adults • $2 Students and Seniors

West Baton Rouge Convention & Visitors Bureau
2750 North Westport Drive
Port Allen, Louisiana 70767
(225)344-2931 • 1-800-654-9701
www.westbatonrouge.net

How Sweet it is

With a focus on south Louisiana’s history of sugar cane and sugar production Sugar Stories and From Field to Factory are West Baton Rouge Museum’s permanent exhibits. Built for the 1904 Louisiana Pavilion at the World’s Fair, a 22-foot working model of a sugar mill highlights an interpretive exhibit that explains the history of sugar milling processes so important to this parish.

Louisiana’s history

The Whitehead Gallery is the wing hosting the changing exhibits. It features regional art as well as history exhibits, while the charming Ted and Lou Landry Courtyard and well-stocked gift shop are sure to interest all visitors.

In the Interest of Our Parish: 300 Years of History in West Baton Rouge is the newest permanent exhibit that opened in 2009. All of these exhibits filled with history and excitement can be discovered at the site of the historic Parish Court House in Port Allen, called the West Baton Rouge Museum.

Visit these historic buildings at the West Baton Rouge Museum:

Abroth Mercantile Plantation Store (circa 1880)

Built in the 1880s, this plantation store was originally used as a grocery store and post office before closing in the 1980s. While it was open the store was the largest mercantile in the area for supplying locals with food, dry goods, farm supplies, clothing, fuel and beer. The original contents of the store and building were moved to the museum in 2009, it reflects life inside the store through the years between the two world wars.

Alliet House (circa 1830)

Serving as a home for a French Creole sugar plantation owner, Jean Dorville Landry, this home represents Louisiana’s earliest French Creole architectural tradition. On the National Register of Historic Places, local families can trace their ancestry back to the homebuilders, who were early settlers in the area. Visitors can take a guided tour through this accurately renovated and furnished raised cottage with histories about antebellum home life and 19th century Creole customs. Reed Shotgun House (circa 1938)

This home was built by Joe Reed, owner of a small cattle ranch, for one of his workers who lived there until about 1945. This home is a staple of southern architecture and cultural influence of migrant workers.

Allendale Plantation Cabins

Three cabins are located on the museum grounds and all date back to three periods in south Louisiana’s sugar plantation history. The cabins were originally built before the Civil War to house the slaves of Henry Watkins Allen, the last confederate governor of Louisiana and for whom Port Allen was named. Privately owned, the three cabins show early furnishings used typically be slaves before the Civil War. An authentic slave family dwelling (circa 1850), a freedman’s family cabin (circa 1870) and a 20th century field worker’s cabin (circa 1960) is of statewide importance as a rare surviving agricultural complex. Tours are available through these homes of sugar plantation agricultural workers.

Addis Museum in the Bank of Addis (circa 1920)

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places it is the only original central business district structure remaining. The museum houses a collection of photographs, memorabilia and exhibits on Addis’ history as a railroad town. Addis was a railroad junction on the transcontinental route connecting New Orleans with the West Coast. To see the importance of the railroad to Addis, Mardi Gras and Military history, including items from local veterans, make an appointment by calling (225) 687-4844 or 687-6333. Back Brusly Oak

Perhaps the most well-known landmark in West Baton Rouge, this “cherished oak” with moss-laden branches with massive roots which rise above the ground is believed to be over 400 years old. Approximately 25 feet in circumference, it is traditionally a community “bulletin board” and meeting place. It was the first West Baton Rouge member registered with the Louisiana Live Oak Society. The tree has become a town symbol, being a meeting place and the once old practice of posting community news on the tree has been relegated to a nearby bulletin board.

Catherine Plantation (circa 1790)

This privately owned home has been moved three times due to swift river currents, causing levee setbacks.

Cinclare Sugar Mill Historic District (circa 1878)

This National Register of Historic Places home exemplifies the “sugar town” which was a self-sufficient plantation community with homes and services for workers and their families. Once a working sugar mill, operating from October to December, to produce raw sugar from the sugar cane in nearby fields, the mill was closed in 2006

The Dow Chemical Company Plant

Tours are available be reservation by calling (225) 353-6623. Dow is the largest petrochemical facility in Louisiana. Herbert House (circa 1835)

This charming house is on the National Register of Historic Places and reflects the French Creole, Federal and Greek Revival architectural styles.

Hero’s Plaza & Statue of Governor Henry Watkins Allen

The perfect spot for a short rest for any tourist is at the Hero’s Plaza, just across the street form the West Baton Rouge Courthouse. A statue of Governor Allen, a water fountain and park benches on perfectly manicured and landscaped lawns make it a little oasis getaway.

Allen is probably the most important figures in this parish’s history. Allen studied extensively in Europe and Harvard, becoming an attorney who moved down to West Baton Rouge in the 1850s and purchased a plantation. Elected into the Louisiana Legislature in 1853, he served in the Confederate forces in Battles of Shiloh, Vicksburg and Baton Rouge. Allen rose to the rank of brigadier general and then suffered severe injuries in the Civil War.

Allen was elected the Confederate governor of Louisiana in 1863, serving as the last one when the state was in chaos. Allen left Louisiana for Mexico in 1865, and died there in 1866. Port Allen is named for him, while his statue, sculpted by Angela Gregory, was erected in 1962 and faces the West Baton Rouge Parish Courthouse.Homestead House

This two-story home became an instant local landmark when it was built between 1915 and 1917. The original house located to the south was originally two stories, serving as a school and church. The home is privately owned and is next door to the Homestead Overseer’s Cottage and Garden, it has been featured in several national magazines.

Mississippi Riverfront Development

This development is the newest addition to the tourism offerings in West Baton Rouge. Panoramic, breathtaking views of the Mississippi River and Baton Rouge can be seen here as visitors and residents sit and relax or have a picnic. The area includes: A pedestrian promenade with specialized architectural paving, gazebo, viewing benches, a view finder with details on the view and ornamental street lighting. Seasonal entertainment events take place here and it used to be the site of a ferry, which operated between Port Allen and Baton Rouge between 1820 and 1968. The development is open until 10 p.m. daily.

Monte Vista Plantation Home (circa 1850)

This Greek Revival style plantation home is on the National Register of Historic Places. Early French Colonist Louis de Favrot built the home and today is privately owned.

Poplar Grove Plantation Home (circa 1884)

This Oriental influence on Victorian architectural design home is on the National Register of Historic Places. The home was built for the 1884 World’s Fair in New Orleans. The home is privately owned, but available for group tours, private parties and meetings. Plantation dining and gospel choirs are also available by advanced reservations; call (225) 344-3913 for more information to book a tour. Port Allen Lock

This heavily used lock connects the Mississippi River and Intracostal Waterways, shortening the distance of boat traffic to the Gulf of Mexico by approximately 120 miles. Built in 1961, the massive lock structure has 64-foot sides and 90-ton doors. An interactive model of the lock, a wildlife management presentation and videos can be accessed in the new Visitors Center, set to open in October. After exploring the center, visitors can go to the local wall to view tugboats locking through. Large groups should make reservations by calling (225) 343-3752.

Port Allen Middle School

Formerly the Port Allen High School and on the National Register of Historic Places, it is considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco buildings in Louisiana.

Port of Greater Baton Rouge

Head of deepwater navigation on the Mississippi, the docks and administrative buildings of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge are located in the port complex. The Port offers tours by appointment by calling (225) 342-1660, just remember everyone entering must have a valid driver’s license or other valid form of I.D.

Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church

Built in 1907 this Gothic Revival style church house an active Catholic congregation, just yards away from the Bourgeois House. The adjacent cemetery dates from the 1830s, many family names in the cemetery are those of Arcadians who settled in the area. The church is a rectangular wood frame, featuring Victorian influences and Tudor-type openings as well as the use of shingles at the central door pediment and brackets to support side door sheds.

Sandbar Plantation Home (circa 1837)

The Sandbar was home to Ethel Claiborne Dameron, who played a leading role in establishing the West Baton Rouge Library, Museum and Historical Association. Today it is privately owned.

Scott’s Cemetery

Dating back to the 1850s, Scott’s Cemetery was the burial place for African Americans that were important to West Baton Rouge History.

Smithfield Plantation House

This sugar plantation main house is on the National Register of Historic Places and today is privately owned. The house reflects the architectural styles of Stick/Eastlake, Italianate and Queen Anne Revival.

State Capital Raceway

Fun and entertainment for fellow racers, spectators and families can be found at the State Capital Raceway. Regular racing events include: Summit ET Brackets, Bud Light Q16, Street Night, Coca Cola, Trophy ET, $Money$ and TNT, The Import Face, Ironman Championship, TOP Doorslammers Event and the SCR Track Championship.

West Baton Rouge Parish Library

The library provides books, periodicals, newspapers, audio and video cassettes. The library also offers Louisiana genealogy resources, children’s reading programs, internet access and dial-in catalogue access.

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