Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I was reading a detective novel some years ago and it was set in a city called Baton Rouge. For ages I thought it was a made up name for the story. I never thought in a million years that I would one day actually visit that city, the capital of Louisiana, USA.

We were on the American Queen Steanboat sailing down the Mississippi on our way to New Orleans. We didn't stop at Baton Rouge and the passengers were a little disgruntled until the captain explained that on their last "Thanksgiving Cruise" they had stopped there on the TG holiday and nothing was open. No shops, no museums and it was like a ghost town. So on this cruise they sailed past BR and landed outside Nottoway Mansion and organised a free tour of the house. So we cheered up and enjoyed this diversion from the itinerary.(see last post)

However, the next day we were offered a bus tour of Baton Rouge and admission to the destroyer USS Kidd.

We drove past the Louisiana State Capitol building, at 34 storeys high it is the tallest building in Baton Rouge. It is the tallest Capitol building in the country. It was built in 1930 for Govenor Huey Long with an Art Deco design. It is is on the national register for historic places.

Looking at Baton Rouge from the river overlooking the levee wall.

This sculpture, known locally as the "Paper Clip" for obvious reasons. It is part of the wharf structure where river boats berth. We would have docked here if we had stopped on the way down the river.

The USS Kidd is an authentically restored Fletcher Class fighting ship. It is stationed on the side of the Mississippi River and it floats when there is a lot of water but it was in a cradle when we visited the Kidd. Named after the first admiral killed in the Pearl Harbour attack. There were many guns and depth charges on the deck but I was more interested in how the 300+ men were accommodated on what appeared to be a small ship to me.

We found the room where they slept. It had 3 bunks on top of one another and there were rows and rows of them. It must have been awfully cramped conditions with no privacy at all.

I was flabbergasted at the toilet/head situation. The red seat was for those with VD.

I take my hat off to the service men who had to endure these conditions and fight a war too.
The USS Kidd was based in the Pacific and saw action in World War 11 in many of he Pacific Islands as well as Papua/New Guinea and the Phillipines.


  1. How interesting ! I knew Baton Rouge first from "Gone witht he wind" and then driving through the States, looong time ago ! But we didn't stop.

  2. Have recently read "Gone with the Wind" for the first time where I encountered some of the places you are visiting so really interesting.

    I think being a sailor is not the same as going on a cruise but hopefully their accommodation is a little better today.

  3. I first heard of Baton Rouge in the lyrics of Bobby Mc Gee! I'm appalled at the living conditions of the sailors; I also wondered about the red seat and then you told us! Thanks for an interesting post.

  4. I can't imagine sleeping in such close quarters and on those dreadful beds ... imagine being sea sick in there ugh! they were very brave souls.

  5. Had to laugh about the toilets, that must have smelled awfull there.

  6. Fascinating! Never been to Baton Rouge. I think the toilet situation has been improved since women are now on ships. At least one would hope so.

  7. You wouldn't want to be sitting on the red seat, wouldn't get away with anything like that these days.

  8. I am glad you were still able to visit Baton Rouge! The tour of the ship is amazing. And I agree the conditions do not look tolerable..with the beds and toilets. Thanks for sharing your visit.. Have a great weekend!

  9. You sound excited that you toured Baton Rouge.
    Gosh, the ship, oh dear me, but then they didn't know any different back then.

  10. the cots made me claustrophobic.. nice ship though and Baton Rouge looks nothing like i thought it would.. i always think swamp and woods when i read about it. like the paper clip thing.

  11. What an exciting find and it looks like you had a great trip. I often read of names in books only to discover later that they really exist. Hope you are enjoying the sun. Keep well t'other Diane

  12. definitely no privacy in the privvy! wow!

  13. Interesting, I knew that there is a Baton Rouge but I've never visited. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and now I realize just how blessed I truly am to have all I do.

    Have a wonderful day Diane!

  14. Fascinating glad you got to see the USS Kidd. I learned some new things about the capitol building!

  15. I wonder if there was ANYWHERE you could go for privacy! I wonder how many suffered from claustrophobia.

  16. Well the USS Kidd was a warship - not a 5 star hotel.
    The sleeping quarters on new warships for the crew have
    improved since WW2 - they are certainly far superior in the proximity
    sphere of the bunks. And the female sailors DO HAVE separate sleeping,
    ablutions and toilet areas!
    The toilet situation is now nothing like what is shown here on warships.
    That has improved - health and sanitation rules saw to that
    A little embarrassing to sit on that red seat I should imagine!

    You sure get into the "nitty gritty" of your travels Diane and that is
    how it should be. Well done.

  17. I hope prospective sailors were able to see the interior of a ship before they signed up. I am trying to think of a popular song that has Baton Rouge in it, but it won't come to me. Is it Me and Bobby McGee?

  18. Those toilets!!! No way! I'd be a deserter for sure!

  19. Those toilets are something out of a bad dream for me I hate the thought of going in front of people which is strange since I often go in front of children, my girls, (when little) my grandchildren and of course Tim

  20. I saw a Fletcher class destroyer moored in Buffalo, New York, but was not able to tour her since it was closed to visitors at the time I was there. Those World War II were certainly not built for comfort!

  21. Thanks for poking around in the accommodation/ablutions area, Diane. Interesting to see the conditions those men had to endure. I don't think I would have liked the confined space, I'm not all that good with that sort of thing.

  22. Amazing how the Louisiana State Capitol building towers over the rest of the city. Boy, am I ever glad I have never lived on the USS Kidd!

  23. Very interesting such a museum ship.


  24. Yikes! Interesting tour, but oh my gosh.....