Heading into Baton Rouge, less than 50 miles from Breaux Bridge we crossed over the Atchafalya Swamp area, the largest river swamp in North America. The visitor center for the area was an easy exit off I-10, so we pulled off. This was one of those unplanned stops that proved to be interesting and well worth the stop.
The visitor center has a great movie about this major swamp and much to Joel's pleasure had free samples of jambalaya rice and bread pudding because it was National Tourist Day! Because Joel filled up on samples I didn't have to worry about lunch!:) I learned that there are three seasons of the swamp lands: high water, mid water, and low water. Note, nothing is mentioned about temperature or weather. It all depends on what is happening up north along the Mississippi River.
Several miles of elevated highway traverse over the swamp. Due to the flooding up north, the swamp was at higher than normal levels.
Our destination was Port Allen, a suburb of Baton Rouge and also known as West Baton Rouge because it is west of Baton Rouge (dah!). We found the Moose Lodge and discovered it is only open Thursday through Sunday, but had a nice level grassy area so we parked there anyway. We unhooked the car and headed into Baton Rouge.
Next, we headed for downtown Baton Rouge. Downtown is not a very big area. I had read about a Main Street Market area so we headed towards main street. Downtown is going through redevelopment and is pretty torn up so we gave up on the market area and headed over to the River walk.
After seeking out Happy's Irish Pub and cooling off with a brew and then later pizza at Schlitz and Giggles (yes they do sell Schlitz beer) we headed back to Port Allen and scouted out this little town. Port Allen used to have a ferry that went across the river but was shut down in the 70's and now there is a nice little park it its place.
The new capital building.
Tuesday morning we headed over to the Baton Rouge Bus Maintenance to get the breaks done. Joel met with Todd who arrived some time after 10:30. Apparently he works on the big rigs in the evening, usually charter buses, when they are are not in service. If you need a bus part or are in need of a fixer upper this is the pace to go. Todd buys old buses and parts them out and when there are no longer any useful parts he sells them for scrap metal. He said he got rid of about 50 buses in January during the slow time. He still has over 40 on his property. I didn't go inside his building, but Joel said the place is full of old engines and parts.
Todd didn't get started until 11:00 so we were there most of the day. Since Joel wanted to stick around while the work was being done, I got caught up on paperwork and some domestic stuff.
When the breaks were done we headed out of the city catching Highway 61, which leads to Natchez,MS the start of the Natchez Trace Parkway. We stopped for the night in St. Francisville about 25 miles from Baton Rouge.