Downtown Baton Rouge and Historic Spanish Town, LA

Most of my evaluation area for dwtn Baton Rouge is btwn North Avenue Blvd and the Capital Access Rd to the north. I included a small segment btwn North Ave and Government St. west of St. Louis St. This includes the historic Spanish Town district.

Spanish Town was commissioned in 1805 and is the oldest neighborhood in Baton Rouge. I believe Spanish town developed before most of Dwtn except along the waterfront. Baton Rouge only had a population of about 500 in 1810 even though the City was established as a fort and trading post in 1755 by the French. The creation of Spanish town allowed Baton Rouge to diversify beyond just a mainly Anglo and minority French City brining new Spanish citizens to the City. The American Civil War brought destruction to the area and left only a few homes and buildings standing in the Spanish town. At this time only 5,000 residents lived in Baton Rouge primarily in the Downtown, Spanish town and Beuregard Town.  After the Civil War, Spanish Town was mostly populated by African Americans. I believe the Downtown area began to take shape after the Civic War.

I view Downtown in 4 segments:

– Spanish town is between 5th Avenue east to the highway and north of North St.
– Capitol Area is between N 5th Ave and the River and South to North St.
– Heart of Downtown is south of North St to North Blvd/Federal St. There is where the majority of high rises are located, Arts activity, Dwtn’s historic street along 3rd Avenue and major civic plazas.
– Underutilized Dwtn- is east of N 5th Ave between North Avenue and North St. This is a mixture of historic low rise buildings, some mixed-use activity but lots of surface parking and dead spaces.

Dwtn desperately needs more residential and neighborhood amenities which can be achieved through significant mixed-use infill development especially east of N. 5th Ave.

Click here to view my Dwtn Flickr Album and here to view my Spanish Town Album


* Very gridded and easy to navigate Dwtn street network
* Good dedicated bike sharing system Dwtn and spilling into Beuregard Town.
* Decent age diversity among adults living Dwtn.
* Solid park amenities including the Mississippi River front park, Galvez Plaza and North Blvd Town Square, the Downtown Greenway Blvd park, and the Capitol Gardens and Veteran’s Memorial Park surrounding the Capitol Complex. Several smaller plazas and parkettes too.
* North Blvd Town Square and Galvez Plaza and interconnected and form and solid Civic Plaza with lots of public events.
* Crime is pretty average for American Dwtn’s. Generally a safe place.
* Pretty good imageability with a distinct state house area, the Historic Spanish Town, Historic commercial district along 3rd St and well designed Dwtn plaza spaces. Put also plenty of soulless areas in the eastern half of Dwtn.
* Good architecture (both historic and infill) around Galvez Plaza and North Blvd Town Square. Great historic architecture in Spanish town.
* No hard data on Dwtn employment but assuming with all the State workers here its a decent # (40K-50K). COVID has certainly decreased this amount.
* Solid cultural amenities including plenty of restaurants, bars, & cafes. Decent # of live music venues, a handful of art galleries & performing arts theaters, and lots of museums.
* Major regional amenities including plenty of courthouses and gov’t bldg, a convention center, and Dwtn post office & library.


* Population density is low even for an American Dwtn.
* Decent public transit access Dwtn and decent access to the more historic neighborhoods east of Dwtn and to a less extend south of Dwtn. Outside of these areas public transit access drops off pretty quickly but at least some level of access within the City of Baton Rouge. Very limited public transit access outside of the City.
* Plenty of 2-3 lane one way roads. While this isn’t terrible egregious its pretty unnecessary given Dwtn Baton Rouge’s size and more of these roads should be made 1 way.
*Effectively no dedicated bike lanes within Dwtn. Very limited dedicated loans outside of Dwtn. Nice 2 mile dedicated lane running east of Dwtn along Government St and a waterfront line going south of Dwtn.
* No a very children’s friendly dwtn. No major sports area’s Dwtn. Along truly kids friendly museum is the Science Museum. Few kids living Dwtn.
* Greater Science focused high school Dwtn and a couple smaller schools. A handful of smaller schools on the edge of Dwtn.
* For sale options are limited to the Spanish town area. A handful of 1-bed options selling btwn 100K-200K, 2-beds sell btwn the high 100Ks to the low 300Ks, 3 & 4 beds btwn 200K-500K.
* Okay # of rentals with 1 beds ranging anywhere in the 1Ks, similar # of 2-beds and similar lease amount. Very limited 3-bed options.
* Poor ADA curb cuts in Spanish town and some missing sidewalks too. Eastern town generally has curb cuts but often outdated. Western Dwtn has good sidewalks and pretty consistant curb cuts.
* No University presence Dwtn. The closest college location is Baton Rouge Community .
* Other than the spectacular Art Deco tower not much to speak of with the Baton Rouge skyline other than a couple mid century 20-30 story towers and smaller gov’t bldgs.
* Lots of bland office towers throughout and auto centric infill in the eastern half of Dwtn.
* So so retail amenities including a pharmacy, a small market, a couple boutiques & gift stores, many banks, a couple gyms, and lots of churches.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s