First impressions of Baton Rouge

Hello folks! My name is Marie Wallace and I’m one of the Baton Rouge Smarter Cities Challenge team. I’m from Dublin Ireland and this is my first time visiting the state of Louisiana; actually its also my first time visiting the South, something that’s been on my bucket list for years, so I’m super excited to be here. I’m going to let the rest of the team introduce themselves over the coming days, however since I’m one of the first of our team to arrive I thought I would get the ball rolling on our blog.

I arrived into Baton Rouge yesterday (Saturday) to be greeted by our Program Manager, Anne McNeill, who is a Baton Rouge native and one of the friendliest folks I’ve ever met. I thought us Irish were talkers, but I’ve now discovered that you guys from Louisiana could give us a run for our money ūüėČ

Everyone has been so great and have really made us feel at home. Arriving on the day of the Tigers LSU game was fortuitous as I not only got to attend the game (Wow, you guys really know how to put on a show) but also got to attend my first ever “tailgate” (one of Anne’s old¬†friends kindly invited us to theirs). For any Irish folks reading this, a tailgate is¬†where you set up camp beside your car and have a big party. ¬†Yes, you will see a bit of a pattern¬†emerging; everyone here loves to party. The food was amazing and the company even better. I want to give a big shout-out to Debra Ourso, our tailgate host, for being so warm and inviting and really making us feel at home.

Below are some photos to give you a sense of the party which is an LSU game. And for anyone who is not from Louisiana, I’d strongly recommend getting it on your bucket list.



Debra making sure that we are all well-fed, and boy was the food good. When I was flying into Baton Rouge I was sitting beside a lovely Louisiana native who asked me if I had brought my stretchy pants with me, and now I understand why. The food is so amazing here.


Some ingenious folks beside us who actually brought their own electric ceiling fan which they attached to a tree, how cool or what!


The Tigers mascot. I got to see the real tiger later in the day chilling out in his habitat. It was so cute, he was lying on his back stretching his legs up in the air. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to snap a photo of that.



The pre-game show with a HUGE marching band, dancers, and flag bearers. Very impressive.



Filed under Baton Rouge LA - USA

3 responses to “First impressions of Baton Rouge

  1. Welcome to the Red Stick, Marie! Did you get a solid impression of what traffic was like around the stadium’s part of town? It’s certainly been an issue making headlines the last few weeks / football seasons. Looking forward to the work you all are doing here in Baton Rouge.

  2. Lewis Doherty

    It would be my hope that the concepts and solutions developed by your team in Baton Rouge could be applied to other cities. The Baton Rouge transportation system is a wreck and this is the point at which innovation might occur.
    I would like to provide your group some information and meet with you.
    I currently live in Hammond, LA, but lived in Baton Rouge most of my life and my family still lives there. For several years, I lived in the D.C. area and I’m familiar with its transit system and conducted work on analyzing non-transportation bureaucracies and delivery systems. I have also have had several letters published in the ADVOCATE regarding transportation theory and at one time had a website dedicated to streetcar systems, how they originally evolved, why they died and why the attempts to return them have failed or not prospered.
    At this time, I volunteer with the Louisiana Steam Train Association [LASTA], an organization that rebuilds and operates antique railway equipment and follow the activities of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (steam), the Irish Traction Group (diesel /electric), Iarnr√≥d √Čireann and Northern Ireland Railways.
    I recently wrote an article for the LASTA newsletter discussing Hollerith’s Electric Tabulating machine for Railway applications (1895) after we found old Hollerith cards stuffed in one of our cars. Of course, Hollerith’s company became IBM.
    My family is originally from Donegal.