College Towns of the South: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Home of the Louisiana State Tigers
Louisiana State Capitol

As the state capital, Baton Rouge is the epicenter of Louisiana’s political life and a great place to discover the state’s past. The city’s vibrant culture, a blend of French, English, and Spanish influences, rivals that of its older sister, New Orleans.

Mike the Tiger

Eduardo M. Perez

Brush up on your history on a tour of Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, a Gothic structure built in 1847 on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Today, it’s home to an award-winning Louisiana history museum. The current or “new” State Capitol, also great to tour, was built in 1930 by Governor Huey P. Long and was the site of his 1935 assassination. At thirty-four stories, it’s the tallest capitol building in the U.S. and one of the nation’s finest examples of art deco architecture.

The Stockade
The Stockade

The Stockade

Continue your exploration of Louisiana culture at Boutin’s, the place to go for an authentic Cajun vibe. Enjoy classics like crawfish etouffee and new favorites such as crawfish enchiladas, and dance to live zydeco music on the large oak dance floor most nights. Tsunami overlooks the Mississippi River, and it’s a great date spot for sushi aficionados (order the spicy Tiger Tail roll). For brunch, Mason’s Grill is a must. Its famous Bloody Marys—known as Bloody Masons—deep-fried catfish, and Cajun shrimp burgers keep locals coming back.

Baton Rouge residents know how to imbibe, and you’ll find many of the city’s best bars on 3rd Street downtown. The Breakroom at IPO, located upstairs from Restaurant IPO, stands out for its wide selection of local beers on draft (try the crisp Canebrake) and river views from the patio. Bed down at The Stockade, a large Spanish-style home in the heart of downtown that served as a Civil War stockade. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the elegant bed and breakfast maintains its historic fenced entrance to remind guests of its past.


“I love relaxing at the Burbank dog park, grubbing on some Cajun food at Sammy’s, or dressing up and heading downtown to the rooftop sushi bar Tsunami.”—Mo Isom, most decorated goalkeeper in the history of the LSU soccer program, class of 2011

“Go to LSU’s beautiful campus and see Mike the Tiger’s habitat. Then go to the top of the State Capitol for the views of downtown and the Mississippi River.”
— Gaines M. Foster, professor of history

“Go to Walk-Ons Bistreaux & Bar and order the catfish Atchafalaya. They’re also known for having the best margaritas in town.”  —Craig Greenman, class of 2008