Saturday, June 14, 2014

State Capitol

David and I haven't been to the state capitol in years, so we decided to tour the capitol and surrounding grounds today. Its free to tour the capitol and the building is very pretty inside. I tried to take pictures inside, but I didn't have enough light and most of them didn't turn out well. Here's some of the good ones.
This is a picture of the Memorial Hall. This hall is the first area you see after you walk through the front door. I would describe this hall as opulent. The first thing you notice is all the marble, its everywhere! When you look up, you see two huge bronze chandeliers hanging from the tall ceiling. They each weight two tons. I can't imagine the ceiling framework needed to support them.
The doors were my favorite. Each section depicted a scene in Louisiana history. Each door had three to four sections like this. I think the doors were made of bronze, but I'm not sure. There were two sets of doors, one leading to the House of Representatives chambers and the other the Senate chambers. The chambers are on the far left and right of the Memorial Hall.
This is an example of the border around the ceiling. I think it was painted, but I'm not sure. It was very detailed and they had Spain and France represented on the ceiling too.
The view from the observation deck. It is on the 27th floor and is 350 feet high. I didn't like it up there, it was too high. David didn't mind at all, he was leaning over the railing looking at the people below. The center of the garden is Huey Long's grave. He was the governor in the 1930's and was assassinated at the capitol in 1935. Huey Long commissioned the present day capitol building to be built in the 1930's.
I think every one that visits the capitol takes a picture like this. The steps leading up to the entrance have each state's name and the year they were admitted to the Union.
At 450 feet, the capitol building is the tallest state capitol in the U.S. It was built in 14 months and completed in March 1932.
After we walked around the capitol, we walked a short distance to Arsenal Park. Here is a replica of the Liberty Bell cast in France in 1950. France gave every state a bell like this with the stipulation that it remain on the capitol grounds.
Near the bell is a bust of George Washington. It commemorates his 275th birthday on February 27, 2007.
This is the Old Arsenal Museum on the state capitol grounds. I think this was our favorite part, we both love history. This building was designed to store gunpowder, its walls are four and a half feet thick. Gunpowder needs to be kept dry, so underneath the arsenal the troops stored barrels of charcoal. The charcoal soaked up any moisture that snuck in. It was occupied by the Army from 1810-1885. The museum is inside the old arsenal and its free admission. They have hundreds of replica gunpowder barrels inside.
Here's a section of the Arsenal museum. There are several old pictures from the civil war. They also have cannon balls and two guns on display.
Next to the Arsenal is an Indian mound with two cannons on top of the mound. Dave loves cannons.
This is the Pentagon Barracks viewed from the observation deck of the capitol. You can't go inside the buildings now because they are used as apartments for state legislators. It was built in 1819-22 to house U.S. troops. We walked around the buildings and found this really old sign.
It says: On this site stood the Spanish fort captured by the forces of the Republic of West Florida September 23, 1810. We couldn't read what it said below that. I wish better care had been taken of this old marker.
Did you know that on April 10, 1912 the first U.S. air mail plane flew between New Orleans and Baton Rouge? I didn't either. We found this sign across the street from the Pentagon Barracks. That's all the pictures I have for y'all. If you like history, definitely visit the state capitol.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rip Van Winkle Gardens

Today we toured the gardens and home of Joseph Jefferson. This was his winter home and it was built in 1870. Jefferson was an actor best known for playing Rip Van Winkle. The gardens are in New Iberia, LA and it costs $10 to tour the gardens and home.
One of the famous visitors to the home was President Grover Cleveland. He took naps under one of the oak trees and it was subsequently named The Cleveland Oak. This is a partial picture of the oak, it was so big I couldn't get all of it.
My favorite part of the gardens was seeing all the peacocks! They were tame and would let you walk right up to them.
When we drove up to the entrance, there were peacocks walking on the roof of the gift shop, in the courtyard, and on the garden paths.
There were several Asian inspired statues found throughout the garden.
The gardens had several types of bamboo. They were very tall and arched over the paths.
Rip Van Winkle Gardens are covered with huge live oaks draped in Spanish moss. Its rumored that the pirate Jean Lafitte buried treasure under one of the oaks.
This picture is so spooky! In 1980 an oil rig accidently drilled into a salt mine causing all the water from Lake Peigneur to form a whirlpool and drain out. The suction from the draining water caused 70 acres of land, barges, and oil rigs to be sucked in the lake. The lake sucked in a smaller home built on the lake, now all that's left is the chimney and it was attached to a second story fireplace. If you want to read more about the drilling disaster click HERE.