Deep-seeded southern heritage collides with the energy of a youthful population in Baton Rouge, giving the region a uniquely traditional but vibrant feel. Meaning “Red Stick,” after the red poles Native American tribes used to mark hunting grounds in the area, the capital city has been the seat of politics in Louisiana since 1849. It is also the home of Louisiana State University, and a huge population of students, faculty and alumni that are fiercely loyal to the Tigers and their city.
Nearly 230,000 people live in the 76-square-mile area, long dominated by petrochemical production and manufacturing. Exxon Mobil is one of the largest employers, with a payroll of more than 4,000 workers in 2013. Turner Industries, a heavy industrial construction company, and CBI Inc., a waste processing company, also employ many local residents, as do Our Lady of the Lake and Baton Rouge General Medical Centers. LSU has a large footprint in the city, providing educational opportunities and community outreach programs. Its 25,000 students and 5,600 employees also add an undeniable dynamism.
Baton Rouge is about 60 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, on the east side of the Mississippi River. The downtown district along the riverfront is the site of many office towers, arts centers, museums, restaurants and bars. North Boulevard Town Square, which bridges the area between North Boulevard and River Road, offers more than an acre of green space and is home to dozens of festivals, concerts and outdoor movie screenings.
The arts and music scenes are selling points for Baton Rouge. The Shaw Center for the Arts is a must-see, covering a full city block downtown and overlooking the Mississippi River. The Baton Rouge River Center is another local point of pride. Its 10,000-seat arena and theater book national events and house the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and Ballet. The Varsity Theater, in the North Gate area near LSU campus, is another favorite venue for local bands and touring artists. LSU home games, however, eclipse all other activities in the fall. Students and alumni are happy to boast that the tailgating is some of the best in the country.
|Square Miles||77 square miles|
|Population Density||2,986 people per square mile|
|Total Population||229k people|
|Median Household Income||$37,381|
|Median Age||30 years old|