Baton Rouge, LA - Food, Fun, Archives and Libraries...
Today wrapped up our two days in Baton Rouge, LA.
We had a GREAT time here. Our cousin Gene was the ultimate host. On Wednesday, we arrived in Baton Rouge and ate gumbo. From there, we headed to the State Library. Ironically, on the way there, we saw our cousin Carl who was at work at the time. We found a few things at the State Library, namely, King Atlas, Sr. on the US Agricultural Census in 1880. He had what appears to be 90 acres of land. We also found a few articles with Jean in them regarding her Civil Rights work with the Freedom Rides.
We also took trips to two East Baton Rouge Parish libraries that have genealogy divisions. After the library, we headed to Tony's Seafood. This is an icon in Baton Rouge. It is owned by the family that owns Tony Chachere's seasoning. We ordered crawfish po boys and Gene picked up some catfish for our dinner on Thursday. The sandwiches were great. You can actually order seafood from them and have it shipped anywhere in the US at http://www.tonyseafood.com/.
Later that night, we had dinner at Carl's house. His wife is an excellent cook. We had fettucini with crawfish and shimp, with garlic bread, salad and homemade mini sweet potato pies. We were able to meet two of their children as well as watch their daughter in her track meet at the Penn Relays this past year. The Texas team, for which she runs, won their first Penn Relay for that particular race. They told us that she may run in the next Olympics. We went through pictures with them, had a great time and came home with a ton of food and some pictures to scan. One of their sons who came over is working on his PhD.
On Thursday, we had a great breakfast made by Gene. His friend came by and told us about a commercial kitchen he had built onto his house. He loves to cook. Gene gave the catfish to him for him to cook for us later. From there, we headed to the state archives where we found and made copies a lot of death certificates for family members, as well as got tax information from as early as 1873 from Carroll Parish. Family members were land owners at least from that point forward. I was able to also pinpoint the five year period to which King Atlas, Sr. died. It was between 1890-1895. He did not have a death certificate as they were not required by the state.
I received e-mails from two cousins today with updates to the family file. There are at least 8 more people added to the file. I also got an e-mail a couple days ago from another cousin who lives close to me and who will be attending the reunion in August. After the archives, we headed over to Gene's friends house to see the kitchen and eat. I could not believe the kitchen. It was bigger than my apartment!!! We had sweet tea, homemade potato salad, fried catfish and petite peas. It was past good. I would definitely weigh 300 pounds if I lived here.
Tonight, we spent time scanning pictures into the family archive. Tomorrow, we are headed to Saint Francesville which is in West Feliciana Parish. The Balfour family, who we think was the last slaveowner of our earliest traceable ancestors, moved from North Carolina to Louisiana and lived in this particular area from 1820 to 1827 before they moved to Mississippi. We are hoping to find documentation stating that they purchased at least two of our earliest traceable ancestors there. It was not coincidence that their high school band was in the Rex parade on Mardi Gras day.