Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Baton Rouge and Natchez

This post is about two weeks late, but I wanted to document our last trip of the summer. We were supposed to head northeast to Asheville and visit the Biltmore Estate, but on the last possible weekend we could travel with the kids before the start of school, the DH's job sent him (and therefore us) west to Baton Rouge and Natchez.

Our first stop was at Liberty Lagoon Water Park. What fun! We didn't take many pictures as we spent most of the day in the water but here are some directly from their site:




 
The next day while the DH was at his conference, Grammy, the kids and I spent the entire day at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. We participated in a hands-on origami demonstration where we made our own sheets of paper and the kids made boxes, cranes, hearts, a chair and a canoe. Here are the items that survived the trip back home:
 
 
For the planetarium show we choose Magic Treehouse Space Mission, which has led to our new favorite book series. (Stinky is currently reading Ghost Town at Sundown.) But nothing could top LASM's Mummy. We were not allowed to photograph this exhibit but here are a few official images I was able to find:
 
http://www.lasm.org/exhibitions/permanent/ancient-egypt

http://www.lasm.org/exhibitions/permanent/ancient-egypt
 
http://theadvocate.com/features/people/8029622-123/thats-our-mummy

http://theadvocate.com/features/people/8029622-123/thats-our-mummy
 
Notice how his brown curly hair is still distinguishable after several thousand years. Incredible!
 
When we visited two years ago, Blinky was afraid to enter the overly-dramatic tomb, but this go round, she found her courage and was pleased she did. "It's not that scary after all." Grammy on the other hand, raced through and although she denies it, I saw her covering her eyes.
 
Afterward we met up with the DH and strolled along the mighty / muddy Mississippi. We saw lots of families playing on the levee, I collected a few pieces of driftwood for an art project and snapped a pic of the old State Capital Building. It is absolutely beautiful.
 
 
The next day we toured Natchez. I've always wanted to visit the city since reading my first Greg Isles book. It was a bit of a drive, but well worth it. On the way, we stumbled across the monstrosity that is Mammy's Cupboard. So of course we had to pull on the side of the road and take a picture. The DH thought I was crazy, but turns out, lots of other cars stopped to do the very same thing!
 
 
A short while later, we were off to learn about the city. Here's what we saw:
 

 
Cheers to this homeowner who refused to let a zoning ordinance dictate what he could display on his house and in his yard.






These are actual slave shackles from the old slave trading post that are now memorialized in Forks of the Road.


 
We must have a thing for gothic cemeteries in the south. At the Natchez City Cemetery, we visited the Turning Angel Statue. She was built to remember five people who were killed in an explosion at the drug company where they worked in 1908, but residents swear if the lighting is just right as you drive at night, her head turns and follows you.

 
This little girl's grave had glass walls and a glass coffin so her mother could visit her during lightning storms so she wouldn't be afraid. Strange. It has since been cemented over but the stairs remain at the top of the grave.

 
Cool tombstones. I imagine a musician is buried here.



William Johnson's diary. He was a free-slave who amassed a small fortune as a barber. He diarized his life in Natchez.

 
Lots of plantation homes! These are but a few we visited.








 
And last but not least, Ms. Nellie's house. Ms. Nellie was an African-American Madam whose black book featured many prominent white men in Natchez. In 1921 no less. She had two rules for johns: don't come to her house after midnight and never come drunk. Sadly, in 1990 she was killed by a young john who broke both rules. The story is far more complex and interesting and you learn more about it here and here.

 
That's it for the next few months as we adjust to Stinky and Blinky being back in school, homework, extracurricular activities and all the craziness that brings. Hope you've enjoyed your summer as much as we have.
 

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