My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The feel of the deep south!

I've been in Baton Rouge now for about five days and I am having a wonderful time. Leslie and Tom are really making this into a very special time for me! I'll try to let you get an idea of what has been going on ...
Friday Leslie showed me around the LSU campus which is surrounded by lakes. They look beautiful, but the idea behind them was all but beautiful. The then governor (1930s) thereby successfully prevented a Black college next to LSU. For lunch we went to Georges - a great local place - and I had crawfish (Hummerkrabbe). This was just the beginning of lots of great Louisiana cuisine: Jambalaya (spicy rice with meat and sausages), cheese grits, red beans and rice with sausage, oysters and seafood gumbo ... (to be expanded still)
In the afternoon we toured Baton Rouge: the Old Governor's Mansion (where Tom and Leslie got married), the Old State Capitol (at its time the highest in the US) and the Spanish Village - Ulrike, that's where they have the pink flamingos at Mardi Gras :). In the evening we went to a concert downtown where we met some friends and some German exchange students. we all had caipirinhas (seldom to be had here) and Leslie's friend Garland invited everybody for brunch after church on sunday.
Saturday was a lazy day. We had a barbecue here for lunch and later Leslie and I strolled through downtown, listened to a country band and later visited tom at his job.
Sunday I accompanied Leslie to church and then we all went for brunch at Garland's and Billy's place. They have a beautiful home and are wonderful people. we had such a good time! Later Leslie and I left for New Orleans with Andreas, Becky and Eric. The Lousiana Philharmonic Orchestra have a concert in the zoo and everybody sat in the grass and had a picnic. It was really beautiful! I wish Markus could have been there ...
Monday Leslie and I took the jeep and started to travel back in time :) We first visited Nottoway Plantation. It is the biggest plantation house in the south (64 rooms) and really beautiful inside and out. I really enjoyed touring it. But unfortunately they try to gloss over the past and don not talk about slavery which made all that wealth possible. It gives you a very strange feeling walking there, listening to the guide and thinking about the slaves... In Donaldsonville we went to the River Road African American Museum which tells you about slavery, the underground railway and who former slaves lived after slavery was abolished. They were really nice cause it was actually closed but they switched on the lights for us!
Then we went on to Oak Alley Plantation. The oaks there date back to the 1700s and are incredable beautiful! Today we spent the day in the French Quarter in New Orleans. So far I have received a great impression of the feel of the Deep South!