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Baton Rouge: Economy

Baton Rouge: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Baton Rouge has one of the nation's largest deep-water ports, equipped to handle both ocean-going vessels and river barges. A 45-foot channel on the lower Mississippi River has established the region as one of the nation's most attractive locations for large-scale industrial development. The region served by the port thrives on the large industrial and chemical complexes, as well as agricultural interests, along the 85 miles of the Mississippi River in the port's jurisdiction. Forest and agricultural products, steel and pipe, ores, coal, and petroleum products top the list of cargoes shipped through the port. In the Greater Baton Rouge area a natural resources basin exists, giving industries inexpensive access to the natural resources of gas, oil, water, timberland, sulphur, salt, and other raw materials. In 2004, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge handled more than 6.1 million tons, an increase of 11.5 percent over the previous year.

The travel industry continues to figure prominently in the Baton Rouge economy. Future growth in the Baton Rouge area appears to be in this industry, as well as in finance and insurance, and health care.

Items and goods produced: petrochemicals, rubber, plastic, wood, paper products, food, concrete, scientific instruments

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

Companies wishing to expand or establish roots in Baton Rouge are eligible for a variety of investment incentives. The industrial tax exemption provides that new industrial buildings, machinery, and equipment are exempt from property taxes for five years with provision for a five-year renewal. A five-year property tax abatement on improvements to a structure is available when renovation has not yet begun, with a five-year option for renewal. Existing structures in downtown, historic or economic development districts are eligible, including Spanish Town and Beauregard Town. Urban Enterprise Zones offer a one-time tax credit of $2,500 for newly created jobs, for up to a five-year period. For each new net job created, employers attain job tax credits ranging from $100 up to $225. Foreign trade zones allow foreign goods to enter the zone duty-free and quota-free. The Freeport Law permits most manufacturers to avoid paying taxes on raw materials brought to the state until they enter the manufacturing process. Financing assistance is offered through industrial revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, agriculture revenue bonds, plant loans, and other programs.

State programs

Louisiana has pledged itself to broaden its business base through liberal development incentives and loan programs. The Louisiana Quality Jobs Act offers a tax rebate of up to 5 percent of payroll paid each year for 10 years to new or expanding labor-intensive companies that create $1 million in gross annual payroll, conduct 75 percent of their business out of the state, and provide at least 50 percent of premium coverage for basic health insurance. The Louisiana Capital Investment Tax Credit incentive program is aimed at capital-intensive industries and will give a franchise tax credit of 5 percent per year over 20 years on invested capital in new or expanded facilities.

Job training programs

The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education offers the Quick Start Program whereby participating businesses can obtain workers who are trained with skills to match the needs of the company. Training is offered either at a neutral site or at the company facility. The Job Training Partnership Act assists industries in choosing applicants, provides customized training for specific occupational skills and reimburses industry up to 50 percent for wages paid. Other opportunities are available through the Louisiana Department of Labor.

Development Projects

In what community leaders called the first significant expression of confidence by a private investor in Baton Rouge's long-term plan for downtown renewal, Argosy Gaming Company constructed a 300-room convention center hotel, the first hotel to be built downtown in 50 years. The Argosy Casino Baton Rouge is a three-deck riverboat casino featuring over 29,000 square feet of gaming area. Argosy has invested an $80 million in downtown's Catfish Town on a gambling boat, dock, garage, and 100,000 square feet of retail space.

Plan Baton Rouge, the city's downtown revitalization program, was developed by Andres Duany, a pioneer of the New Urbanism movement. Part of Plan Baton Rouge calls for a $30 million expansion and renovation of The Baton Rouge River Center, the city's entertainment, government, and convention center. Projects in the plan continued into 2005 and included improvements and developments throughout the entire city.

While several new parking garages were built in the early 2000s, the issue of parking and getting around the downtown area was still a challenge. In 2003 and in hopes of alleviating vehicle congestion, freestanding trolleys began running, moving passengers to and from a variety of downtown destinations.

Opened in early 2005, the $55 million, 125,500 square foot Shaw Center for the Arts houses the Louisiana State University (LSU) Museum of Art, a 350-seat performing arts theater, rehearsal halls, LSU School of Art galleries and classrooms, and retail space. In early 2005, ground broke on the massive, 36-story RiverPlace project, a $45 million development that will consist of 99 residential units, retail space, a spa, meeting space, and a fitness center. The first high-rise condominium development in Baton Rouge's downtown, the center is expected to be completed in 2007.

Other projects in the planning or construction phase in early 2005 include a $30 million expansion of the Riverside Centroplex; a $34 million expansion of the City Plaza; a new $2.7 million State Visitors Center; a new $30 million Education-Bienville Building; a bike and pedestrian path costing $2 million; a new Capitol House Hilton at $50 million; and many others.

Economic Development Information: Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, 564 Laurel Street, PO Box 3217, Baton Rouge, LA 70801-1808; telephone (225)381-7125

Commercial Shipping

The Port of South Louisiana (LaPlace) led the nation in cargo tonnage, and the ports of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Plaquemines were in the Top 10. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge, the sixth largest deep water port in the United States, links the city to markets throughout the world. The port has a bulk coke handling facility handling more than 1 million tons of green and calcine coke annually. The port also houses one of the largest molasses terminals in the world, with a liquid storage capacity of 16.3 million gallons. The terminal also handles chemicals such as acids and glycol-based products. Forest products are Baton Rouge's leading commodity, including such products as woodpulp, linerboard, flitches, logs, plywood, lumber, milk carton stock, newsprint, and other paper products.

Two major railroads furnish daily service, connecting Baton Rouge with key points throughout the country. A system of interstate highways permits access to and from Baton Rouge for more than 40 common motor carriers that ship a broad range of materials through the area. More than 50 barge and steamship companies offer services to the interior of the United States.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The efforts of the Baton Rouge Joint Labor-Management Committee, in conjunction with the passage of the right-to-work law, have created a positive labor-management situation in Baton Rouge. The employment base is diverse, with most jobs occurring in the retail, government, and services sectors.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Baton Rouge metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 305,700

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 33,000

manufacturing: 21,400

trade, transportation and utilities: 58,400

information: 5,300

financial activities: 16,700

professional and business services: 35,900

educational and health services: 33,800

leisure and hospitality: 28,400

other services: 11,500

government: 61,200

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $17.57

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (December 2004)

Largest area employers Number of employees
Louisiana Department of State Civil Service 24,985
The Shaw Group Inc. 12,500
East Baton Rouge Paris 11,312
Turner Industries Holding Co. LLC 11,092
Louisiana State University 6,809
ExxonMobil 5,261
City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge 4,389
Jacobs 4,000
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center 3,500

Cost of Living

With an exceptionally low property tax, plus a generous state homestead exemption, Baton Rouge is a desirable place to own a home.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Baton Rouge area.

2004 (3rd quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: not reported

2004 (3rd quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: not reported

State income tax rate: Ranges from 2.0% to 6.0%

State sales tax rate: 4.0% (food sales exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 5.0%

Property tax rate: average 91.3 mills per $1,000 of assessed valuation (2004) (residential property is assessed at 10% of fair market value with a $7,500 homestead exemption)

Economic Information: The Chamber of Greater Baton Rouge, 564 Laurel Street, PO Box 3217, Baton Rouge, LA 70801-1808; telephone (225)381-7125

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Baton Rouge: Recreation

Baton Rouge: Recreation

Sightseeing

Baton Rouge offers a variety of recreational activities. A visitor can experience the city's past by touring the elegant plantations in the area. Among the most beautifully restored are Magnolia Mound, Oak Alley and Myrtles. History has also been preserved in the Old State Capitol, built in 1849, featuring ornate architecture and gardens. Other points of interest are the New State Capitol, at 34 stories the tallest capitol building in the nation; the Old Governor's Mansion; and the New Governor's Mansion.

Baton Rouge features one of the country's finest zoos, the initial funding for which came from children collecting pennies. Its natural habitat exhibits contain more than 1,800 animals and birds. The newest exhibit is the Otter Pond which offers above- and below-water views of a naturalistic otter habitat. Plans are being developed for a new Endangered Tiger Survival Center.

Bus and boat tours are available through various charter companies that offer services ranging from brief excursions in the city to overnight trips through Cajun country. Baton Rouge is about a 1.5-hour drive from the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Arts and Culture

With 18 major arts groups, 25 smaller groups, and a network of artists in the community and at local universities, Baton Rouge is a culturally vital city. A renewed interest in the arts beginning in the late 1980s resulted in large part from the construction of performing arts facilities in the 12,000-seat Riverside Centroplex and the designation of the Arts and Humanities Council of Greater Baton Rouge as the official arts agency.

Theater, dance, and music are available to Baton Rouge's audiences of all tastes. Housed in The Baton Rouge River Center, the Baton Rouge Symphony offers a full season of orchestral programming. The Baton Rouge Opera and the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre also reside and perform in The Baton Rouge River Center; the ballet performs classical and modern works. The Baton Rouge Little Theater is the area's most successful community theater. Among other groups integral to the cultural life of Baton Rouge are the music and drama departments at Louisiana State University (LSU) and Southern University.

Museums and galleries in Baton Rouge also offer variety. At the Louisiana Arts and Science Center Riverside Museum, a renovated railroad station features restored cars dating from 1883 to 1940, the Discovery Depot for young children, and the Lindy Boggs Space Station and Mission Control (reservations required). Historical Baton Rouge firefighting equipment and memorabilia are featured at the Old Bogan Fire Station. A complex of more than twenty buildings reproducing life on a nineteenth-century Louisiana plantation awaits visitors to the LSU Rural Life Museum. The LSU campus also offers and art museum and an art gallery, a natural science museum, historic Indian Mounds, and other interesting attractions.

The Old Arsenal Museum offers a tour of an old powder magazine. The Enchanted Mansion exhibits rare and unusual dolls. Baton Rouge's USS Kidd WWII destroyer and the Louisiana Naval War Memorial is a "Southern Travel Treasure" (a designation given by AAA's magazine Southern Traveler ). Old State Capitol is home to a new interactive audio-visual museum, the Louisiana Center for Political and Governmental History. Baton Rouge's riverfront can be toured on a riverboat, and the Atchafalaya Swamp can be toured by boat.

Festivals and Holidays

February (or March) brings Baton Rouge's best known special event, Mardi Gras, with its Krewe of Mystique Parade and other events. Also in February, the LSU Livestock and Rodeo show takes place at the Parker Agricultural Center on the LSU campus. Other Baton Rouge celebrations are the Jambalaya Jamboree (April), FestForAll (May), Bastille Day and 4th of July Freedom Fest (July), and the Baton Rouge Blues Fest and State Fair (both in October).

Sports for the Spectator

Baton Rouge is also home to the Louisiana State University Tigers and the Lady Tigers, and the Southern University Jaguars. The LSU sports complex, site of National College Athletic Association football, basketball, and track competition, is rated among the best in the country. Southern's refurbished A. W. Mumford Stadium hosts Southwestern Athletic Conference football games.

Sports for the Participant

BREC, the Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, maintains and operates 184 neighborhood parks with a broad array of facilities and programming. Facilities in the parks include a theatre and cultural center at Independence Park; Cohn Arboretum on Foster Road; the Highland Observatory on Highland Road; four fitness centers; and facilities for golf, BMX, archery, rugby, mountain biking, swimming, tennis, and other athletic pursuits. In 2004, plans were underway for expansions at 12 parks that would enhance each park's level of family programming.

Among the private sports facilities in Baton Rouge is the Country Club of Louisiana, which features an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, 10 outdoor and 3 indoor tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Riverboat and casino gambling are also popular diversions.

Shopping and Dining

According to the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau, the visitor who has only one free afternoon to spend in Baton Rouge should spend it at the Historic Merchants District on Perkins Road, which has been compared to New Orleans' Magazine Street shopping area. The visitor will find a dozen charming shops and galleries and four restaurants featuring local cuisine, hamburgers and crawfish pies, and possibly the best Italian food in town. Downtown Baton Rouge offers shopping opportunities for those interested in fine art, gifts, designer furnishings, stained glass, and other novelties. The new Mall of Louisiana offers quality stores on two levels. Baton Rouge offers unique shopping at several locations, including The Royal Standard on Perkins Road, where more than two dozen merchants offer international wares.

Baton Rouge's numerous restaurants satisfy any dining taste, from fast food to gourmet continental, served in casual or elegant settings. Specialties include Cajun and Creole cooking and fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

Visitor Information: Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 730 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802; telephone (225)383-1825; (800)LA-ROUGE; fax (225)346-1253

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Baton Rouge: Education and Research

Baton Rouge: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Public elementary and secondary schools in Baton Rouge are part of the East Baton Rouge Parish (county) system, administered by a school board that appoints a superintendent. The system offers specialized programs for gifted students as well as arts, English as a second language, magnet, Montessori, college preparatory, and vocational programming. Adult education is provided to more than 5,000 students each year. A 1998 vote approved the five-year collection of a one-cent sales tax to be used for educational improvements; the tax generated nearly $300 million, which funded the construction of four new schools, and additions, improvements and repairs to all of the others. In 2003 voters renewed the tax-collecting program for another five years. District plans include seven new schools, and more renovations and repairs to existing schools.

The following is a summary of data regarding East Baton Rouge Parish's public schools as of the 20022003 school year.

Total enrollment: 52,434

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 52

junior high/middle schools: 13

senior high schools: 11

other: 12

Student/teacher ratio: 14.8:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $36,604

maximum: $53,001

Funding per pupil: $7,478

About 50 parochial and private schools also operate in the Baton Rouge area, enrolling more than 60,000 students.

Public Schools Information: East Baton Rouge Parish School System, 1050 S. Foster Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70806; telephone (225)922-5400

Colleges and Universities

Baton Rouge is home to two major universities, Louisiana State University (LSU) and Southern University (SU). LSU, with more than 31,000 students, offers undergraduate programs in more than 100 fields and advanced degrees in many fields, including law and medicine and is one of only 25 universities nationwide holding both land-grant and sea-grant status. SU, with more than 10,000 students, is the largest African American university system in the nation. SU offers degrees through 13 different colleges and includes programs in arts and science and engineering. Baton Rouge Community College enrolls about 4,000 students and is expanding its campus to include a Science and Technology Building and a Learning Resources Center, which will feature a library, a theater, and an academic learning center. Industrial training programs are available at 14 vocational-technical schools in greater Baton Rouge, including the Baton Rouge Technical Institute.

Libraries and Research Centers

In addition to its main library in Baton Rouge, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library operates 12 branches. Its collection includes nearly one million volumes, plus magazines, newspapers, films, cassette tapes, compact discs, videos, talking books, and art reproductions. The library's popular Information Services answers more than 600,000 questions annually, many of them telephone inquiries. Baton Rouge residents also have access to libraries at Louisiana State University and Southern University and to several governmental libraries.

About 70 research centers are located in the Baton Rouge area; many of them are affiliated with LSU and conduct research in such fields as agriculture, mining, and environmental studies. Key LSU research institutes include the $125 million Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the $25 million Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices. Private-sector research facilities include Exxon's R&D Laboratories and the Allied Signal High Density Polyethylene Laboratory.

Public Library Information: East Baton Rouge Parish Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806-7699; telephone (225)389-3360

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Baton Rouge: History

Baton Rouge: History

French Settlers Found City

The second largest city in Louisiana, Baton Rouge was established as a military post by the French in 1719. The present name of the city, however, dates back to 1699, when French explorers noted a red cypress tree stripped of its bark that marked the boundary between Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds. They called the tree "le baton rouge," or red stick. The native name for the site had been Istrouma. From evidence found along the Mississippi, Comite, and Amite rivers, and in three native mounds remaining in the city, archaeologists have been able to date habitation of the Baton Rouge area to 8000 B.C.

Capital City Grows Steadily

Since European settlement, Baton Rouge has functioned under seven governing bodies: France, England, Spain, Louisiana, the Florida Republic, the Confederate States, and the United States. In the mid-1700s when French-speaking settlers of Acadia, Canada's maritime regions, were driven into exile by British forces, many took up residence in rural Louisiana. Popularly known as Cajuns, descendants of the Acadians maintained a separate culture that immeasurably enriched the Baton Rouge area. Incorporated in 1817, Baton Rouge became Louisiana's state capital in 1849. During the first half of the nineteenth century the city grew steadily as the result of steamboat trade and transportation; at the outbreak of the Civil War the population was 5,500 people. The war halted economic progress but did not actually touch the town until it was occupied by Union forces in 1862.

In August of that year, the Third Battle of Baton Rouge was fought at Port Hudson, less than 25 miles north of the city. Six thousand Confederate troops were ultimately defeated by 18,000 Union soldiers in one of the longest sieges in American military history.

Petrochemical Industry Develops

During the war, the state capital had been moved to Shreveport, but it was returned to Baton Rouge in 1880. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the town had undergone significant industrial development as a result of its strategic location for the production of petroleum, natural gas, and salt. In 1909 the Standard Oil Company built a facility that proved to be a lure for other petrochemical firms. Throughout World War II, these plants increased production for the war effort and contributed to the growth of the city.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Baton Rouge experienced a boom in the petrochemical industry, causing the city to expand away from the river and threatening to strand the historic downtown area. In recent years, however, 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. With a renewed interest and focus in the downtown area, it appears that the twenty-first century will mark a new phase in the life of the city.

Historical Information: Foundation for Historical Louisiana, 900 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA, 70802; telephone (225)387-2464. Baton Rouge Genealogical & Historical Society, PO Box 80565, Southeast Station, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-0565. Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Society, PO Box 82060, Baton Rouge, LA 70884-2060. Louisiana State Archives, Secretary of States Building, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA; telephone (225)922-1209

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Baton Rouge: Communications

Baton Rouge: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Baton Rouge's major daily newspaper is The Advocate, a morning paper. News is also available in The Baton Rouge Post, an online only news daily. Gambit, a weekly, covers local politics, dining, and entertainment. Scholarly/literary magazines published in Baton Rouge include the Henry James Review and The Southern Review. In addition, magazines on engineering, agriculture, the oil industry, library science, business, and pharmacy are published in the city.

Television and Radio

Baton Rouge has four television stations: three network and one public. Five television stations are located in surrounding communities, and cable is available. In addition, eleven radio stations broadcast from Baton Rouge: six AM and five FM.

Media Information: The Advocate, 525 Lafayette Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802; telephone (225)767-1400

Baton Rouge Online

The Advocate. Available www.2theadvocate.com

Baton Rouge city guide. Available www.baton-rouge.com/BatonRouge

Baton Rouge Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.visitbatonrouge.com

The Baton Rouge Post. Available www.batonrougepost.com

The Chamber of Greater Baton Rouge. Available www.brchamber.org

City of Baton Rouge home page. Available brgov.com

The State Library of Louisiana. Available www.state.lib.la.us

Selected Bibliography

Bannon, Lois Elmer, Martha Carr, et. al., Magnolia Mound: A Louisiana River Plantation (Gretna, La.: Firebird Press, 1984)

Carleton, Mark T. River Capital: An Illustrated History of Baton Rouge. Pictorial research by M. Stone Miller, Jr. (Sierra Madre, CA: Windsor Publications, 1981).

Dedicated Friends of Magnolia Mound Plantation. The Magnolia Mound Plantation Kitchen Book: Being a Compendium of Foodways and Customs of Early Louisiana, 17951841, Interspersed with Anecdotes, Incidents and Observations. (Baton Rouge, LA: Magnolia Mound Plantation House, 1986)

East, Charles. Baton Rouge, A Civil War Album. (Baton Rouge, LA: East, 1977)

Meyers, Rose. A History of Baton Rouge, 1862. (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press for the Baton Rouge Bicentennial Corporation, 1976)

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Baton Rouge: Convention Facilities

Baton Rouge: Convention Facilities

Louisiana's hotel room demand is fourth in the nation, with 63.6% of rooms sold. The principal convention facility in Baton Rouge is The Baton Rouge River Center, which is located downtown on the banks of the Mississippi River. Connected to the Louisiana Arts and Science Center and the Old State Capitol, The Baton Rouge River Center is within walking distance of hotels, restaurants, shops, and major attractions. Municipally owned, The Baton Rouge River Center is maintained by a private management company called SMG. Since SMG assumed management of the facility events have grown to more than 500 per calendar year and attendance at these events continues to increase. The Baton Rouge River Center is comprised of three main facilities: the Arena, the Exhibition Hall and the Theater for Performing Arts. The River Center Arena is a 10,000-seat arena, with over 30,000 square feet of exhibition space and more than 7,000 square feet of meeting space. The new 70,000 square-foot Convention Center can be combined with the arena to create more than 100,000 square-feet of contiguous exhibit space. The River Center hosts events such as concerts, conventions, sporting events, trade shows and theater productions. As the downtown area continues to grow, The Baton Rouge River Center has responded with the current expansion of the new Convention Center. This new venue will include 100,000 square feet of continuous, state-of-the-art exhibition space and will prove to be a cornerstone development in Baton Rouge.

Among other meeting facilities in Baton Rouge are the LSU Assembly Center and LSU Union, located on the campus of Louisiana State University, and F. G. Clark Activity Center and Smith-Brown Memorial Union, both on the Southern University campus.

There are more than 7,000 hotel rooms in Baton Rouge, most in the College Drive area; many offer convention and meeting facilities.

Convention Information: Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 730 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802; telephone (225)383-1825; (800)LA-ROUGE; fax (225)346-1253

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Baton Rouge: Population Profile

Baton Rouge: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 494,000

1990: 528,261

2000: 602,894

Percent change, 19902000: 12.37%

U.S. rank in 1980: 68th

U.S. rank in 1990: 90th

U.S. rank in 2000: 69th

City Residents

1980: 220,394

1990: 219,531

2000: 227,818

2003 estimate: 225,090

Percent change, 19902000: 3.77%

U.S. rank in 1980: 62nd

U.S. rank in 1990: 73rd (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 85th (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 2,964.7 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 105,691

Black or African American: 114,860

American Indian and Native Alaskan: 1,035

Asian: 6,547

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 176

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 3,918

Other: 1,888

Percent of residents born in state: 76.7% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population Under 5 years: 15,502

Population 5 to 9 years: 15,609

Population 10 to 14 years: 15,248

Population 15 to 19 years: 21,954

Population 20 to 24 years: 27,230

Population 25 to 34 years: 31,719

Population 35 to 44 years: 30,343

Population 45 to 54 years: 27,166

Population 55 to 59 years: 9,495

Population 60 to 64 years: 7,490

Population 65 to 74 years: 13,312

Population 75 to 84 years: 9,611

Population 85 years and over: 3,139

Median age: 30.4 years

Births (2002)

Total number: 4,878

Deaths (2002)

Total number: 2,604 (of which, 55 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $18,512

Median household income: $30,368

Total households: 88,913

Number of households with income of . . .

Less than $10,000: 15,805

$10,000 to $14,999: 7,903

$15,000 to $24,999: 14,039

$25,000 to $34,999: 11,366

$35,000 to $49,999: 12,451

$50,000 to $74,999: 12,538

$75,000 to $99,999: 6,544

$100,000 to $149,999: 4,813

$150,000 to $199,999: 1,526

$200,000 or more: 1,928

Percent of families below poverty level: 20.3% (72.7% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 18,949

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Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge (băt´ən rōōzh) [Fr.,=red stick], city (1990 pop. 219,531), state capital and seat of East Baton Rouge parish, SE La., on a bluff along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River; inc. 1817. It is a busy deepwater port of entry; an important transportation, distribution, and commercial center for a large oil, natural gas, and farm area; and a major oil-refining hub. The petrochemical and fuel corporation ExxonMobil has large facilities and is one of Baton Rouge's major employers. Manufactures include concrete products, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, chemicals, plastics, and resins.

Baton Rouge was founded in 1719 when the French built a fort on the strategic riverside location. The settlement was ceded to Great Britain in 1762, captured by the Spanish in 1779, and acquired by the United States in 1815 (following a brief period when it was a part of Spanish Florida). It became state capital in 1849. In the Civil War it was captured by David Farragut after the fall of New Orleans (May, 1862); a Confederate attempt to recover it failed (Aug., 1862).

The city has notable antebellum houses. The old capitol (1882), built in the Gothic style of the original, which was burned in the Civil War, still stands; a new 34-story capitol was completed in 1932. Also of interest are the governor's mansion, the old arsenal museum, the retired destroyer Kidd, and the Huey Long grave and memorial. The city has an arts and science center (with a planetarium), several museums, a zoo, and a symphony orchestra. It is the seat of Louisiana State Univ. and Agricultural and Mechanical College and of Southern Univ. and Agricultural and Mechanical College.

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Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge: Introduction
Baton Rouge: Geography and Climate
Baton Rouge: History
Baton Rouge: Population Profile
Baton Rouge: Municipal Government
Baton Rouge: Economy
Baton Rouge: Education and Research
Baton Rouge: Health Care
Baton Rouge: Recreation
Baton Rouge: Convention Facilities
Baton Rouge: Transportation
Baton Rouge: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1719 (incorporated 1817)

Head Official: Mayor Melvin "Kip" Holden (since 2005)

City Population

1980: 220,394

1990: 219,531

2000: 227,818

2003 estimate: 225,090

Percent change, 19902000: 3.77%

U.S. rank in 1980: 62nd

U.S. rank in 1990: 73rd (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 85th (State rank: 2nd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 494,000

1990: 528,261

2000: 602,894

Percent change, 19902000: 12.37%

U.S. rank in 1980: 68th

U.S. rank in 1990: 90th

U.S. rank in 2000: 69th

Area: 76.84 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 83 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 67.5° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 55.55 inches of rain; 0.1 inch of snow

Major Economic Sectors: services, government, retail trade, construction

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (December 2004)

Per Capita Income: $18,512 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 18,949

Major Colleges and Universities: Louisiana State University, Southern University, Baton Rouge Community College

Daily Newspaper: The Advocate

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Baton Rouge: Transportation

Baton Rouge: Transportation

Approaching the City

Located off Interstate 110 approximately 5 miles north of downtown Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport is served by 4 major airlines. The recently renovated facility provides direct service to 24 cities, with connecting service also available through major southern cities.

The major routes into Baton Rouge by car or bus are Interstates 10, 12, and 55. Interstate 10, which runs across the continent from Jacksonville, Fla., to Los Angeles, gives the motorist a fine view of Baton Rouge. Interstate 55 connects the city with points as far north as Chicago.

Traveling in the City

Baton Rouge is laid out on a grid pattern, with streets in the northern half of the city intersecting at right angles; in the southern half, however, streets run diagonally. Florida Boulevard divides north from south; east is divided from west by the Acadian Throughway. Public bus service in the city is provided by Capitol Area Transit System (CATS), which offers 17 different routes. Charter bus services are also available.

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Baton Rouge: Geography and Climate

Baton Rouge: Geography and Climate

Located on the east side of the Mississippi River and situated on the first series of bluffs north of the river delta's coastal plain, Baton Rouge is about 60 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Louisiana. The city's subtropical climate is free of extremes in temperature, except for occasional brief winter cold spells. Precipitation is ample, placing Baton Rouge fifth among the ten wettest cities in the United States.

Area: 76.84 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 83 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 51.21° F; August, 80.54° F; annual average, 67.5° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 55.55 inches of rain; 0.1 inch of snow

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Baton Rouge: Health Care

Baton Rouge: Health Care

The Baton Rouge region includes seven general hospitals providing more than 2,100 beds plus 28 nursing homes providing nearly 3,000 beds. Woman's Hospital specializes in care for mothers and newborns but offers services to women of all ages. Earl K. Long Medical Center is the teaching arm of LSU Medical School, as well as part of the state's charity hospital system. Patients throughout the region and the state seek treatment at Baton Rouge General Medical Center's burn center and at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center's eye bank. Additionally, Our Lady of the Lake Heart Center specializes in heart disease with a staff which works only in cardiac care.

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Baton Rouge: Introduction

Baton Rouge: Introduction

Baton Rouge, the state capital of Louisiana and the county seat of Baton Rouge Parish, has been described as "a happy blend of Cajun joie de vivre and progressive American know-how." Situated on the Mississippi River in the heart of the state, the city is an important center in the Sun Belt market. Moderate year-round temperatures and a relaxed environment make Baton Rouge a desirable place to live. Significant construction projects taking place in the twenty-first century are bringing city planners' dreams of a pedestrian-centered downtown community a step closer to realization.

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Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge Capital of Louisiana, USA, on the Mississippi River. Founded in 1719 by French colonists, it was ceded to Britain by France in 1763, and to the USA with the Louisiana Purchase (1803). It became the state capital in 1849. The city contains both Louisiana State University and Southern University, and is the site of a large petrochemical complex. Industries: natural gas, chemicals, plastics, wood products. Pop. (2000) 227,818.

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Baton Rouge: Municipal Government

Baton Rouge: Municipal Government

Baton Rouge operates under a city-parish form of government, administered by a mayor/president and a twelve-member council.

Head Official: Mayor Melvin "Kip" Holden (since 2005; current term expires 2009)

Total Number of City Employees: 2,530 (2004)

City Information: Baton Rouge Municipal Government, PO Box 1471, Baton Rouge, LA; telephone (225)389-3000

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