Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baton Rouge-Old Governors Mansion

Another road trip into Baton Rouge which means the auto pilot on the car takes us to Mike Anderson’s Restaurant first.  Today I had the Fresh Gulf Shrimp lunch special, their shrimp in as good as I’ve ever had, lightly battered and as tender as can be, Cathy went with her favorite, the Jason. The Jason is a fillet of fresh fish wrapped around a crabmeat dressing, fried and topped with a crawfish tails cooked in a cream sauce on a bed of rice, salad or cole slaw, choice of side and garlic toast.  I get excited just typing the descriptions of their meals.

After saying good-bye to Big Mike and letting him know that we would be back sometime next year we headed into the downtown area. After a beautiful drive through the campus of LSU with all it’s Live Oaks and Magnolia’s we arrived at our destination, The Old Governors Mansion.  We had a 2fer coupon so it was only $7.

A little history here, when Huey Long was elected Governor there was already a Governors house located on this site but it wasn’t quite what he wanted, so he when to the Senate and told them he needed $125,000 dollars to build a new Mansion.  The senate said that what he had was good enough and to live with it, NO MONEY, now this was Huey Long and that just wasn’t going to happen.  He called the head warden of the prisons (a man he had just appointed to this job) and asked him to send him 60 large strong inmates with a lot of tools, within a week the mansion was dismantles into a large pile of rubble.  Huey then went back to the Senate and they gave him his money for a new mansion. 

Since Huey’s plans were to move to Washington DC after serving as Governor, he had the mansion designed much like the White House, large entrance, lobby, east wing and an oval office, he wanted to be prepared for when he was President.  Our guide Ory Poret, had spent his entire life in Baton Rouge and really made the tour great because of all the behind the scene stories he was able to tell us.


Notice how it looks a little like the white house.

The East Wing is often used for wedding, it has two gigantic mirrors on opposite walls you get an endless reflection as you can see by the chandeliers, there are only three.

One of my favorite things was the Wall paper in the dining room,  this is the original wall paper that was hung in 1929 and the colors are still as bright as they were then, this room has some big windows and a lot of sun light yet the wall paper appears to have not faded at all.  When JFK was running for President, Jackie visited here for a lunch and told the people that if Jack got elected that as First Lady she was going to have this wall paper copied and do a room in the White House with it.  He was, she did, it is.

West Point scene

Boston Tea Party Scene

 The Governors Desk

I believe he told so that six different governors lived here, one was Jimmie Davis, the Cowboy country singer who recorded “You are My Sunshine” which later became one of the state songs of Louisiana.

Here is Governor Davis taking office on his horse “Sunshine” which he rode up the steps and into his office.

Another Governor was Huey’s little brother Earl, Earl served two elected terms a Governor, during his second term he was institutionalized for a period but returned to finish his term.  He then decided to run for the Senate, everybody told him that he would never make it because of his condition, he didn’t listen he had thousands of buttons made up that simply said “I Ain’t Crazy”.  He won the election but died two days later from heart problems.

Ory had so many stories that I would fill ten pages repeating them, but here’s two quick ones.
Huey Long’s Secretary of State  died in office so Huey appointed his Girlfriend to fill the position until the next election, often Huey would go on a trip out off state and he would take the Lt. Governor with him because this would make his girlfriend the Acting Governor while they were gone.
Another one was that Earl Long also had a girlfriend, Blaze Starr, one week when his wife was gone he had Blaze stay at the mansion with him, when she left she packed everything but forgot her fur coat.  When Mrs.. Long returned home she found the fur coat and had the maid run it through the washer and dryer so it would be clean when Earl returned it.

The tour lasted about an hour and old Ory had us laughing most of it. Time and money well spent.

1 comment:

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Jolly good post, very amusing and interesting.
Now I am wishing that I had spent more time in Baton Rouge, and heard Ory Poret's stories.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX