|The Superdome as viewed from Thalia Street, New Orleans.|
I went to Baton Rouge today. I like that Baton Rouge means "red stick" in French. Aside from memorizing it as Louisiana's capital I've known much about it. I spent three hours there and I can't say I learned much.
The Louisiana Capital Building is a concrete, art deco skyscraper that is the tallest building in town. That doesn't speak well for the economy. Neither did the abandoned storefronts in the city's center. I wasn't in New Orleans anymore. I knew that already.
I drive a very small motorcycle. I hate to take the highway. I had business in Baton Rouge though so I took the highway, a straight shot through swampland with nothing to look at but bayou and cypress trees until I go to Baton Rouge. Not much to look at there either.
I've got nothing against "Bat Rue" as those in the know like to call it. I had no trouble parking and no traffic and it was easy to navigate. The streets were a lot smoother and emptier than those in New Orleans. Heck, it felt like a ghost town abandoned to all but bureaucrats, bless their souls.
On the way homewards, I crossed the St. Charles Parish line and there, on the furthest shore of Lake Pontchartrain, I saw, off in the distance, far away past a flat landscape of flat water and flat grasslands and a few stubby trees, New Orleans Central Business District silhouette; skyscrapers cut hazy, blue profiles where the atmosphere converged with whatever water and vegetable much is at sea level. I thought, "That's where I live!" and I leaned down over the gas tank to reduce my wind resistance. The motorcycle picked up five mph, ten, fifteen. I couldn't get there fast enough.
Before I knew it, I was in familiar territory. I was home. I tootled down Tulane Avenue to and fro. I took a right, I hung a left, I hung on through stop signs and travelled all the way to Gen. Pershing Street. I noodled around a few blocks, crisscrossed, doubled back, rattled my equipment over potholes and around traffic cones. Yes, home. New Orleans, not Baton Rouge.
I was in Louisiana all day but home is where the heart is.