Study in Baton Rouge, The United States
Study in Baton Rouge, The United StatesBaton Rouge, capital of the American state of Louisiana, is a major industrial, political, and commercial center in the southern United States. Accessible from the Caribbean via the broad Mississippi River, it is one of Louisiana's most important shipping ports, and ships from all over the world can be found here bringing a variety of goods into and out of the United States. “Baton Rouge” is French for “red stick,” a reference to a Native American boundary marker that stood in the spot where the city was founded. Starting in 1699, French settlers and traders forging their way up the Mississippi began establishing themselves in the area nearby; overtime, Baton Rouge grew into a small town in the shadow of bustling New Orleans, the chief urban center in the French colony of Louisiana. For almost 100 years it was little more than a French military outpost that rarely saw any action, and not much changed when the city, along with much of the continent, was purchased by the government of President Thomas Jefferson in 1803. Even during the Civil War, when Union troops kept an iron grip on New Orleans, Baton Rouge was largely ignored and considered to be strategically unimportant. Nonetheless, it has been Louisiana's capital since 1849, when rural citizens decided that their neighbors in New Orleans had too much influence over the governance of the state.
Today, Baton Rouge is more or less typical of cities in the deep South. At roughly a quarter of a million inhabitants, it is unremarkable for its size, although it does have a significantly higher concentration of museums and cultural institutions than most of its neighbors. Of course, the gentle and relaxed culture of the American South pervades the atmosphere and defined the local lifestyle. More importantly, the city loves to showcase the culinary aspects of its regional heritage–spicy Cajun cuisine and hearty soul food favorites (fried chicken, grits, and pecan pie) all find their way to the table at local restaurants.
The one thing that makes Baton Rouge particularly notable among Louisiana cities, aside from the presence of the state government, is its public education system. Baton Rouge is the home of Louisiana State University's flagship campus, which occupies a sprawling green space that is worth visiting purely for its aesthetic virtues. Numerous other colleges, universities, and vocational institutes dot the Baton Rouge street map.
Baton Rouge's reputation as an academic hotspot trickles down from the top research universities all the way to its public and private elementary schools. Although primary and secondary education is regulated by the state of Louisiana, Baton Rouge has poured considerable resources into making its public education system the best in the state, and it has been remarkably successful in this effort. The city offers a standard curriculum–math, science, art, music, English, and social studies–for the majority of students, and has several magnet and charter schools to provide specialized education for kids with particular talents and interests. One of the most innovative is Mentorship Academy, which concentrates on enabling its 14 to 18-year-old students to learn outside the classroom through internships with local businesses. Another public charter school concentrates on digital arts, a major industry in Baton Rouge.