The Old State Capitol Treasure
History fascinates me because it gives one a sense of a 'place in time' where we all are. Another thing about history is the people, the nameless forgotten individuals we'll never know as well as the shakers and movers that fill our history books. People have basically always been the same.
Parents want the best for their children and a safe and secure home, a way to earn a good living whether it was a warm cave, lively hunting grounds, fertile fields for farming or a prosperous local economy to earn a living in. Love and hate, jealousy and envy, aggression and battles and wars have always been with us too. And people have always built nice, fortified, magnificent buildings to house their governments in.
I'm from Texas, if I haven't mentioned that before and well, we got us some history over there too you know. We have The Alamo and San Jacinto, Goliad and many other historic sites and buildings but they're kind of 'new world' or even 'old west'. Most only date back to the mid 19th century and the history of the state is centered around cattle, cotton and later oil.
Most recently my dearest friend let's call her 'Babylove' (she also captured this amazing photo of the full moon peaking through clouds over the old building) introduced me to the 'Old State Capitol' in Baton Rouge. WOW!
I was already aware of course of the 'new' state capitol (the nations tallest) where the governor was shot, have even put my fingertips in bullet holes still in the wall near the elevator! But the old state capitol built around 1847, the 'Castle' blew me away! History- wise and architecture-wise.
It isn't 'old west or new world' it's old world, it's European old world Gothic! Architecture rooted in the earliest fortress-ed building designs of old Frankia.
It's been a garrison, a prison, occupied by the Union Army during the Civil War. The Yankees occupied and then abandoned it after it caught fire twice while they inhabited it, the second fire totally gutting the building. (like the White House in the War of 1812, uh, different story though) Of course it's been a statehouse, scene of no doubt many artful and heated debates through to the 1930's. Finally in the early 90's the state figured out what a treasure it truly is and turned it into a beautiful museum that can be toured, you can get married in it too nowadays.
I love the way it looks, Mark Twain a Mississippi Riverboat pilot who wrote a few published stories back in the day, supposedly loathed the sight of it. On this note Clemons and I disagree.
I want to sit and stare at it, go through every room, climb to the top of one of the turrets and look through a parapet out over the mighty River and imagine...
I know much about New Orleans history, and the Battle of New Orleans that took place down the river some, more near Chalmette, and the French influence over that region, the architecture of the 'French Quarter' and its history (my grandfather as a 7 year old entered the United States through NO too by the bye) but my goodness my friends, y'all got a Treasure in that old castle in Baton Rouge and I can't wait to spend more time in it.
Oh, one other thing before I go - it's haunted! But, well of course it is! aren't most of the old world buildings, mansions and plantations in that region? The main ethereal protagonist is a woman who loved the building from the day it's foundations were laid and wrote passionately about it in a book called "The Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman'.
Entrance to the castle museum is free, and it's wheelchair accessible, hours of operation are Tuesdays through Fridays 10AM-4PM.
Though the ghosts and spirits that came before us more or less come and go as they please.