l_welcome3_pagestack1_001.jpgJust a bridge across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, lies West Baton Rouge Parish, an area gaining ever-increasing growth and popularity. Via I10, residents have easy access to downtown, LSU, and all the Capital City has to offer. Some parts of the parish still offer rural settings for home construction or purchases, while many new subdivisions are being developed in and around the 4 major towns - Brusly, Port Allen, Erwinville and Addis. The serene lifestyle here, coupled with vast business opportunities, has caused a significant migration to the west side in recent years. The smallest parish in the state, West Baton Rouge offers small town friendliness with big city convenience!  

Here, giant live oaks grace quiet streets of the older neighborhoods, wherel_welcome3_pagestack1_003.jpg children can still safely walk to school and nearby parks. West Baton Rouge is smaller than its big city counterpart, which makes for a more laid back and friendly attitude. It is a place where people still know each other by name, and newcomers quickly feel at home. It is an all too common sight to see neighbors gathering for cookouts, football parties, or "just because". Many vintage 30s and 40s homes are being restored to their former beauty. At the end of this street (photo) in Port Allen is the River Road and a stunning view of downtown Baton Rouge from the top of the levee. This is also the "best seat in the house" for the annual 4th of July fireworks on the levee in Baton Rouge.  

l_welcome3_pagestack1_009.gifIf your taste leans to new / newer construction, the options are many in West Baton Rouge. In Addis, a community in the southern part of the parish near the Dow site, there are two new developments under way with packages for sale in the $160’s. In the town of Brusly (pronounced Bru-Lee), there is Brusly Oaks, with “turn key” new homes available and several vacant lots for sale. Also in the Brusly area, developments that kicked off several years ago have properties in the 2-4 year old home resale market. Ten-foot tall sugar cane once stood where beautiful developments of upscale homes in the French Country design (photo) now stand. These areas offer the best of both worlds – the protective covenants you would expect for high end developments yet a small town atmosphere with great views of the River Road and adjacent pastures. Historic Rosedale Road, trail of Civil & Revolutionary War troops marching to Baton Rouge, has become a favorite setting for new homes. ONLINE SOON AT THIS SITE will be West Lake Estates just off Rosedale Road. Developed around the site of a beautiful and pristine 54-acre lake, this will truly be a one of a kind community. Each lot is just over an acre, and will either have lakefront, lake access, or lake use, with high restrictions and covenants – all just 5 minutes to downtown Baton Rouge and 10 to LSU! Watch for this one!! 

Business, industry, and agriculture thrive in West Baton Rouge. Several largel_welcome3_pagestack1_005.jpg plants operate throughout the parish, lending hundreds of jobs and career opportunities to local residents. Despite the name, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is located on the west side of the River and plays an important part in the area's economy. One of the largest industrial complexes in the entire Baton Rouge area, Westport, is just at the base of the Mississipi bridge in Port Allen. Sugar cane farming still thrives here, with many farms and plantations being run by the same families for generations. You may spot a local bumper sticker that boasts, "West Baton Rouge - Raising Cane for 200 Years". At Cinclair(photo), near Brusly, stands one of only a few working sugar mills left in Louisiana. A dying breed, the mill has continuously made sugar from cane for over 150 years. Sadly, there is rumor that this mill also will soon be shutting down.  
Update Fall of 2007: Cinclaire Sugar Mill stopped refining cane into sugar a few months back. While the sugarhouse, smokestacks, and all equipment are proposed to become a museum at another site, it is sad for me personally to see another piece of our history become a thing of the past! My grandchildren will probably never know the joy of "picking up cane dropped by the hauling trucks" along the roads, as I did when a child. Susan Hare Langlois 

l_welcome3_pagestack1_007.jpgMuseums, country stores, old churches and antebellum homes offer glimpses into West Baton Rouge's history and agricultural past. However, the Aillet House(photo) tells the story of how most residents lived years ago. Located on the grounds of the West Baton Rouge Museum, the home was moved from the River Road 6 miles south, and restored to its original beauty. It is a wonderful example of what is known as an "Acadian" or "Creole Cottage". As the French-Catholic settlers generally had very large families, these modest structures of only 2 or 3 bedrooms often housed as many as 8 or more children and parents! Many of these cottages had an outside staircase on the porch that led to the attic, and the boys of a family would often sleep in the "attic room". This architectural design is very unique to Louisiana and it is still used in many newly constructed homes. 

The old ferry landing in Port Allen holds fond memories for long time residents ofl_welcome3_pagestack1_011.jpg West Baton Rouge, as it was the primary means of travel from the west side to downtown Baton Rouge years ago. With progress and construction of the I 10 bridge, the old mode of travel gave way to the new and the ferries ceased operation in 1969. However, the levee and the Mississippi still attract area residents for walking, picnicing or just relaxing. The old ferry landing has received a wonderful "face lift" and is now called the Levee Top by the locals. It is now an even nicer place to walk, sit, and take in the stunning view of downtown Baton Rouge. All along Louisiana's Mississippi River people tend to flock to the levee just for fun, something their fore-fathers did out of necessity for work and travel. In many Louisiana River Parishes the custom of building elaborate bonfires for burning on Christmas Eve - to light the way for Pere Noel (Santa Claus in French) is still practiced.  

l_welcome3_pagestack1_013.jpgAnother renewed site is the old Port Allen train depot, along LA Hwy 1. Out of commission for years as a freight depot, there was little left of the original site, save a cement marker. The old switch station building was moved to the north end of town years ago, and was often called the “Eagle Hut”, as it had been used as a meeting place for the Boy Scouts. The building was relocated back to the original site in 1991, and along with new decks, ramps, and vintage railroad cars, “The Depot” was re-constructed. The bright red and yellow colors used throughout the site, down to the red roof of the switch station, are a celebration of the long history of the Union Pacific Railroad Company in the region. Open for tours, The Depot has also proved to be a great place for celebrations and gatherings, such as the lighting of the giant Christmas tree in the center of the plaza each year.  

In Louisiana we are pretty proud of the giant live oak trees that grace the l_welcome3_pagestack1_015.jpg homes, bayous and fields of our state. Finding these stately old trees is usually at the top of visitors’ list of things to see in Louisiana. When one first eyes these dark giants, they are taken aback by the massive boughs and sturdy limbs, but upon viewing a bit longer it is the “mystique” of these trees that holds them there. It is this mystique that binds this ancient tree to the state of Louisiana, for “they” are truly kindred souls – though wars, floods, and some hard times might have come their way, they have both stood the test of time and spring always finds them green again! Known as the “Back Brusly Oak”, the tree in the photo is over 358 years old, is registered with the Louisiana Live Oak Society, and was a community gathering place for many years. Today, you will see Happy Birthdays, I Love You notes, or yellow ribbons hung on its trunk.
Susan Langlois
Susan Langlois
4000 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd Ste 2000 Baton Rouge LA 70816