The traveler, on descending the Mississippi River to New Orleans, usually takes a boat at St. Louis, Memphis or Cairo and passes through a cotton region until he reaches the mouth of Red River, below which point sugar cane fields make their first appearance.
VICKSBURG. (355 miles from New Orleans.) This city is the largest town in Mississippi (population 14,834) and is situated on a high bluff on the right bank of the river. A few years ago the main channel was in front of the town, but the river broke through at the point where General Grant started to dig a canal during the war in order to cut off Vicksburg, and made a new bed for itself. This left the town on a side stream, which every year becomes more shallow and, in course of time, may become a lake. There is a large business done at Vicksburg, and from the Yazoo River country, a few miles above, large quantities of cotton are received. General Grant attacked the place in 1863 and besieged it for several months. After a gallant defense, during which the place was nearly pounded to pieces and the inhabitants driven to seek safety in caves dug in the hills, the towm surrendered to the Union forces, on the 4th of July, 1863.
Natchez. (265 miles from New Orleans.) The town of Natchez (population 12,210) is situated on a high bluff on the left bank of the Mississippi. The surrounding country produces large crops of cotton and the planters are very wealthy. Natchez-on-the-Hill is a pretty town, and its suburbs contain magnificent residences, belonging to planters owning large cotton estates in this vicinity.
Mouth of Red River. (200 miles from New Orleans.) The mouth of Red River, a very turbulent and muddy stream, is but a short distance from the Atchafalaya River. Below this point the bright green cane fields appear for the first time and the traveller enters the sugar region of Louisiana.
Baton Rouge. (130 miles from New Orleans.) Baton Rouge (in French "Red Stick"), population 11,269, is the capital of the State of Louisiana, and stands on the left bank of the river. It derives its name from a huge red cypress tree that formerly stood very prominently on the bank of the river. The bluff, on which the city is built, is the nearest high land to the sea in the Mississippi Valley. Below and opposite the lands are alluvial and are protected by a system of dykes, called levees. The State Capitol, destroyed by fire during the war, has been rebuilt and crowns the bluff, being visible for miles.
On the spot where the old Spanish Fort stood, nestled in the trees, are the old U. S. Barracks and Arsenal, now used by the Louisiana State University, a large and flourishing military college. The inhabitants rebelled against the Spanish authority and one night attacked the fort. Carlos de Grandpre. a young Spanish officer, eighteen years of age, commanded the fort and only yielded it with his life. At Baton Rouge are located the Blind Asylum, the State Penitentiary, and other State institutions.
DONALDSONViLLE. (79 miles from New Orleans.) The town of Donaldsonville is situated at the junction of the Mississippi and Bayou Lafourche (one of the outlets of the Mississippi), and along its banks are located many fine sugar estates. Donaldsonville, once the capital of the State, has several fine buildings, and is situated in the centre of an extensive and highly productive sugar region, embracing some of the finest plantations in the world. A few miles below here (on the left bank) are the estates of the late John Burnside, the Sugar King of the United States. Mr. Burnside owned nine large plantations which produced large crops of sugar. For one of these places and its many slaves, he paid (before the war) one and a half million dollars, cash down. Donaldsonville is connected with the city by railroad.
College Point. (61 miles from New Orleajis.) On College Point, fronting the river, is situated the large college conducted by the Marist order. Two miles above is the Convent of The Sacred Heart, a Catholic female educational establishment, conducted by Nuns of the Sacred Heart order. Around College Point, the celebrated Perique, a kind of tobacco, very strong and much prized by smokers, is raised and prepared for market in a peculiar manner by the Acadian farmers.
Bonnet Carre Point. (40 miles from New Orleans.) The river at Bonnet Carre Point makes a sharp bend around the point, which derives its name from its resembling the shape of a square cap. On the left side the river approaches within seven miles of Lake Pontchartrain, and, without doubt, in early times, found its way to the sea by that route. In 1871 and 1874 overflows (called crevasses) of more magnitude than in previous years occurred here, and inundations took place. That of 1874 was very destructive and the water spread over the country above and below, inundating many fine plantations. The river broke through the levee, fifteen feet high, with great force, making a report as loud as a cannon, the waters pouring through the opening creating a roar equal to Niagara. Attempts were made to stop the crevasse by the use of lumber and bags filled with earth, but all efforts were useless. The State Board of Engineers, in 1879, built a dam across the crevasse with the view to slacken the current and to cause the sediment of the river to precipitate itself and form the foundation for the new levee.
Red Church. (29 miles from Neiv Oiieans.) The small red church on the left bank of the river is a very prominent landmark on the river; steamboatmen calculate the speed of their boats from the city to this point. It is also noted that the Mississippi here attains its greatest depth.
Carrollton. (9 miles from Neiu Orleans.) New Orleans is reached at Carrollton, the point opposite, which is called "Nine Mile Point," is a noted landmark. The river makes a long bend below Carrollton, but the distance by land to the city is much shorter. Street cars from Carrollton to the city; time, 30 minutes; fare, 5 cents. The tourist taking a position on the upper deck of a steamboat has a fine panoramic view of the city, which lies at his feet, spread out, as it were, on a table. After passing the Audubon Park, and along the river front, lined with ships and steamers from all parts of the globe, the head of Canal street is reached and here the journey is at an end. The centre of the city and the hotels are about six squares distant from the landing. Carriages and cabs meet all boats. See Hack tariff. Street cars, two blocks distant; fare, 5 cents.
NEW ORLEANS GUIDE, With Descriptions of the Routes to New Orleans, Sights of the City Arranged Alphabetically, ans Other Information Useful to Travelers; Also, Outlines of the History of Louisiana, By Hon. James S. Zacharie, Second Vice President of the Louisiana Historical Society, Member of the City Council of New Orleans. F. F. Hansell & Bro., Ltd, New Orleans. 1893, 1902
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