West Baton Rouge has long had a love affair with the Mississippi River. It was the Mississippi transportation route and the fertile land adjacent to the river that drew the first settlers here almost 300 years ago. The river remains the dividing line between East and West Baton Rouge parishes. Today, West Baton Rouge's sweet location as a key transportation route in the heart of Plantation Country draws visitors from throughout the world.
Largely an agricultural parish until the 1960s, the parish is now home to one of the largest deep-water ports in the world, along with major chemical and manufacturing corporations.
Also, the parish serves as a major transportation route with Interstate 10, the Mississippi River bridges, La. Hwy. 1, and U.S. Hwy. 190 all running through the heart of the parish.
West Baton Rouge includes four communities: Port Allen, the seat of parish government; Brusly, Addis and Erwinville.
Early land records date the parish to 1763 as part of the Louisiana Purchase territory. West Baton Rouge was first settled by Acadian exiles that recognized the value of the Mississippi and the rich soil here. Banished from Nova Scotia, the brave men and women embraced the land and began to develop it. The Parish of West Baton Rouge was created in 1807 as part of the Territory of New Orleans. Today, the rich agricultural heritage stands alongside the power of industry and international commerce. Today, powerful marine vessels dock where the small boats of history once landed.
Sugar cane farming was the predominant industry here with the early small plantations giving way to larger plantations of several hundred acres in the early 1800s. During that time most plantations had their own sugar mills.
West Baton Rouge is a place where "community" is a way of life. West Baton Rouge has rich lands carved by the powerful waters of the mightiest river in North America the great Mississippi River. For millennia, her soils have been deposited along the west bank of the Mississippi, building a place of abundance that West Baton Rouge Parish residents call home.
The ethic of labor and heritage have survived, anchored by families descended from those early inhabitants the Cajuns. Industrial giants such as ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical noted the possibilities. Today, the people of West Baton Rouge produce millions of dollars of valuable products, from the sweetest white sugar to versatile petroleum products.
A regional population of nearly 450,000 provides the base of support for the ninth largest port in the United States, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. The Port handles over 59 million tons of products annually. The U.S. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway flows to the Mississippi through the Port Allen Lock, gently allowing 24,000 barges to continue the journey from Texas to Florida. Presently over 20,000 people enjoy the fruits of commerce and the 203 square miles of West Baton Rouge Parish.
West Baton Rouge Parish enjoys a moderate climate enabling its residents to enjoy outdoor recreation and sports throughout the year. There are 16 public parks and a recreational vehicle campground.
West Baton Rouge beckons newcomers with abundant job opportunities, inviting residential developments, and the close proximity to metropolitan Baton Rouge. The serene lifestyle and business opportunities in West Baton Rouge Parish have caused a significant migration to the west bank of the Mississippi River.
West Baton Rouge offers an inviting combination of powerful industry, metropolitan proximity, and the peace and security of small-town living. It provides a rural or small-town setting conducive to stable family life with easy access to the conveniences and services of the capital city.
The West Baton Rouge Parish School System provides excellent learning opportunities for almost 4,000 students. The community-based schools are staffed with dedicated professionals who provide a quality education for every child. Public school students have excellent learning opportunities in grades K-12. In addition, the parish has a K-8 private parochial school. West Baton Rouge Parish schools consistently score higher than the state average and plans are being implemented at each school to ensure continued improvement.
West Baton Rouge Parish is also close to two major universities that are a short commute away. Louisiana State University, in East Baton Rouge, is the state flagship institution, currently enrolling over 30,000 students. Southern University is located in Baton Rouge is just a short drive across the Mississippi River. These well-respected institutions provide the educational and research support of industries along the West Baton Rouge corridor.
West Baton Rouge offers many cultural amenities, boasting 10 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, numerous attractions and museums. The West Baton Rouge Tourist Information Center can provide you with information for planning your visit to West Baton Rouge, including information on area hotels, dining, tours, festivals and special events.
Exhibits the unique ways of life on the 19th and early 20th century sugar plantations. Guided tours through the plantation home, cabin dwelling, and sugar industry gallery with its working model of a sugar mill are available. Free admission. 845 N. Jefferson in Port Allen. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am - 4:30 pm and Sunday 2 -5 pm.
Phone: (225) 336-2422
Listed on the National Register as a fine example of a commercial and public buildings. The Addis Museum houses a collection of photographs, memorabilia, and exhibits on Addis' history as a railroad town. Located on Ray Rivet Street, west of LA Hwy. 1. Call for tour times:
Phone: (225) 687-4844
Visitors can view the train that used to haul sugar to the mill. Site includes the Choctaw Plantation home (circa 1830), the train depot, and the scale house, plus a miniature train collection, lanterns, caboose whistles, and other memorabilia from sugar plantations. 5151 Ellwood Road, Brusly. Private. Group tours by appointment.
Phone: (225) 749-2205
Located near Brusly on LA Hwy. 1 at Terrill Drive. Cinclare exemplifies the "sugar town", which was a self-sufficient plantation community with homes and services for the workers and their families. Mill operates from October to December to produce raw sugar from the sugar cane grown in nearby fields. Private.
The recently restored 19th century depot building, train car, and platform are located between LA Hwy. 1 and the Union Pacific train tracks. The museum and train car are open for tourists Tuesdays- Thursdays, 10 am - 2 pm.
Phone: (225) 383-8760
Built for the 1884 World's Fair in New Orleans, Poplar Grove reflects the Oriental influence on Victorian architectural design. Group tours, private parties, meetings, plantation dining and gospel choirs, by advance reservation. Located on North River Road above Port Allen. Private.
Phone: (225) 344-3913Website: http://www.poplargroveplantation.com/
Visitors can stand on the lock wall and watch barges and tugboats pass through from the Mississippi River to the Intracostal Canal. Free Admission. Located off of Hwy. 1 South; follow the signs to the Port. Daily 9 am - 5 pm.
Phone: (225) 343-3752
Head of deepwater navigation on the Mississippi River. The docks and administrative building are located in the port complex off of Hwy. 1 South. Tours by appointment.
Phone: (225) 342-1660
A faith community since 1835, the church and cemetery are located on South River Road in Brusly. Many family names in the cemetery are those of Acadians who settled in the area. Church Offices
Phone: (225) 749-2189
The Burial place of African Americans important to West Baton Rouge history dates back to the 1850's. Located in Port Allen on the corner of Court and Commerce streets near the old ferry landing. Scott's United Methodist Church:
Phone: (225) 383-2234
Information courtesy of West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, Museum and Tourist Commission.