If you happen to be strolling through some of the historic neighborhoods of downtown Baton Rouge, be prepared for beggars. A notorious location is if you are stopping at the convenience store (Chevron) on the corner of Government and St. Louis Streets. They are harmless for the most part, but you never can be too sure. I haven't heard any stories of pickpocketing in downtown Baton Rouge (there typically aren't any huge crowds unless there is a special event), but I would be on my guard anyway.
Baton Rouge is flat, and drainage is poor for the most part. That being said, a typical thunderstorm with even brief, heavy rain can turn many of the city's streets into rivers and lakes.
If you are going to be driving in Baton Rouge, you will really want to be aware of this fact. During heavy rains, slow down and do your best to look ahead. You don't want to plow into high waters and stall your car or even worse be swept away. Some notorious areas for urban flash flooding are along River Road under the Mississippi River bridge, some areas in the Garden District (in the photo), and Brightside in south Baton Rouge. I used to live in the Garden District, and I know for a fact it can be hazardous.
The National Weather Service's flash flood awareness slogan says it best: "TURN AROUND AND DON'T DROWN!"
WATCH THOSE BEADS!!!
The Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade is Baton Rouge's biggest, and it winds down some narrow streets in the old Spanish Town neighborhood in Baton Rouge. WATCH YOUR HEAD! During Mardi Gras 2001, I got a mild concussion from a sack of beads thrown from a float. They landed square on my head, knocking me off kilter for a while, and giving me headaches for weeks. It is a fun time, but be on the lookout!
Also, since people tend to reach for beads as they are being thrown, you may want to watch for a stray elbow or arm. In years since, I have seen people get whacked pretty hard and unexpectedly by the more ambitious bead-catchers.
CAUTION: bank holdups
Again, I do not want to turn anyone away from Baton Rouge, but events in recent weeks here bear some mentioning.
Baton Rouge has to be the bank holdup capital of the U.S. There have been far too many for a city this size over the past few years, and this year has been no exception, with the frequency of holdups increasing once again in the last few weeks. The robbers lately have been heavily armed and strike during business hours--including at bank branches located within grocery stores.
Just a friendly reminder of something else in this city the tourist should be aware of . . .
Beware of windy conditions when going up to the observation deck of the Capitol Building. When its really bad, they will close the deck. We were there the day after a tropical storm had hit and were surprised it was open as it was still really windy (although now quite as bad as it looks:-)).
Cockroaches are big and some...
Cockroaches are big and some can fly.
The summer heat wouldn't be too bad, but the humidity can kill. CURRENT SERIOUS WARNING: West Nile Virus. Over 50 people have contracted this potentially mortal disease from mosquito bites this summer. If you are traveling to South Louisiana, don't forget to pack your mosquito repealent.
Game Night is a big deal in Baton Rouge. We're proud of our teams; so if you go to a game enjoy it - have fun. Geaux Tigers!!!! If not, avoid getting stuck in game day traffic at all costs. You may be road blocked or detoured in a swarm of vehicles for needless hours.
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