Home to Louisiana State and Southern universities, Baton Rouge lies about 30 miles up the Mississippi River from New Orleans and 65 miles from the coast. A rich past as an ocean port, center for antebellum commerce, and Louisiana’s colorful political history adds spice to the local character. There are many points of interest along the shady streets with their gracious old homes.
There is plenty to do: the university brings an assortment of cultural amenities and the active and renovated Mississippi waterfront area has restaurants, theaters, and historic buildings. Downsides include hot summer weather, poor air quality, the high crime rate typical of most of the state, and some ugly urban sprawl towards the east.
The area is near the first evident relief north of the broad, flat delta plain extending to the south. Elevations rise from 25 feet to more than l00 feet above sea level. Yet the landscape is generally level in character, and the soil is wet. Lush wet forests of evergreen, live oak, and magnolia trees grow in the area. Especially to the west lie areas of mixed agricultural use, sugar plantations, and marshland, with areas of woodland and pine forest to the north.
The climate is humid subtropical, with some polar influence during winter. Summer months are muggy with clouds, light winds, and abundant rainfall, but seldom exceed 100 degrees. Showers occur every 1 in 2 days during summer. Winter months are normally mild with a few cold spells, lengthy periods of rain, and a few nights with below-freezing temperatures. It rarely stays below freezing during the day.