Baton Rouge

Passing under a bridge I see Baton Rouge on the other side of the river. I have to get over there now but a barge is coming up river. I stop and wait to cross 75 yards in front of a barge anchored in the river. A deckhand comes walking the length of the barge to the bow and says without shouting, “Could you move over to the side.” I quickly move over not realizing they were getting ready to move. Yikes! Over the barge’s loudspeaker I hear, “Attention rower! Are you the only one?” I look up at the bridge and nod and give a thumbs up. “I thought I saw two of you.” I give some kind awkward large hand gestures like moving my arm away from my body and holding one arm up and pointing to my chest. I guess he understood for he fired up and took off up river as soon as the channel cleared. I followed crossing just astern of him and found myself next to an ocean going cargo ship from Hong Kong. I kept my head on a swivel looking for anything that might be moving. I pulled up behind the USS Kidd an old Navy ship now a museum.

Talking to a teenager who was taking tickets onboard the Kidd I told him that that was my boat and my phone number was on it. “You want me to watch it?” he says. “Well yeah but really I just want to let you know it there and it’s mine.” He gave me such an apathetic look I think I could have told him there was a naked woman down there and he would not have reacted.

Well I’m not staying here tonight. I can still get sandwiches though. I walk a half mile into town to a subway. The air conditioning is bracingly cold as I stand in a long line soaked in sweat and filthy clothes. There are a couple of uniformed officers with guns and many of the other men are clean cut, wearing tight fitting polo shirts and khakis. They are all carrying guns. I’m sure Louisiana has friendly gun laws but. Turns out I am right next to a Louisiana District courthouse. Baton Rouge is also the state capital. Most people ignored me as I ate and relaxed in the AC but I have to wonder if some saw me and thought , Yeah we’ll see him a little later.

Maybe it is safe to stay here? No. I set back out and the next five miles was me swerving around anything moving and waving my hat to let captains know I was down there. Down river some, I saw it coming from miles away. An ocean going ship headed my way. I gave it plenty of room as it passed and set up to face the wake it left. It came in big rolling waves maybe ten of them and Little Joy easily floated over each one.

A Blackhawk helicopter flew overhead and about 20 minutes later came back and circled low and slow around me twice. I waved my hat and didn’t think to take a picture until it was leaving. In the Navy I was a helicopter crewman and we would do things like that on occasion. Fun

At the end of the day I sat on a beach eating a second subway sandwich and calculated I had only 202 miles left to Venice Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. I could finish in four days. First I have to make the passage of 100 plus miles from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.

The beginning of the Port of Baton Rouge.
I should have cleaned the lens.
USS KIDD
Little Joy between the Kidd and a floating casino.
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol. Mark Twain called it the ugliest building on the Mississippi River. Now wish I had gone in. It has a beautiful stained glass rotunda.
One of the many Live Oaks at the old capitol.
First ocean going ship underway
Navigation map for Baton Rouge

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