As if we needed another reason to love homeschooling, why not add spur-of-the-moment field trips to the mix?
Since school reconvened after the Christmas holidays, Ty has been doing a special unit in history called My State Notebook. He’s learning all about the history, culture, industry, climate, and geography of Louisiana. I for one have thoroughly enjoyed getting to do this unit with Ty, because we have been able to incorporate quite a few fun activities into our study. Louisiana is such a colorful state – from food, to music, to politics, there has been no shortage of interesting topics to discuss.
So a couple of weeks ago, when the Tool Man had to make a quick trip down south for business, I made the comment that the kids and I should go along and ride on down to Baton Rouge to see the capitol. Next thing I know, the Tool Man called a friend of his, Representative Chris Broadwater, and set up a private tour of the capitol for later that day!
It takes us a good 3 hours to make it down to Baton Rouge, so we kicked it into high gear – waking monkeys, feeding babies, getting dressed. In about half an hour we were headed out the door. We also invited Ty’s cousins to come along, since they are homeschooling for the first time this year.
After making a couple of business stops along the route, we finally arrived at the capitol just after lunch and met up with these guys.
First stop on the tour was the House of Representatives. We found the desk of our own representative and sat down for a photo-op. Ty was supposed to say something politically profound into the mic, but he drew a blank. (I’m sure this happens to a lot of politicians.)
The ceiling in this room is quite impressive, especially when you consider it is made out of sugar cane!
Across the foyer of the capitol is the Senate. It looks pretty similar to the house. The most interesting thing in this room is also found in the ceiling. There’s a pencil lodged in the ceiling where a bomb went off many years ago. I hope you can see it in this picture. It is just to the right of that star…
Anybody who knows anything about Louisiana politics probably knows where the focus of this tour is headed.
People, it’s all about the Kingfish.
I could have named this post the “Huey P. Long Tour.” From here on out he’s pretty much all we discussed.
From the Senate, we made our way down the hall where Governor Long was shot. This tour couldn’t have been timed better for Ty, since it was only the day before this that we discussed the life and career of Huey Long.
Even Lucy was incredibly interested in hearing the tales of Huey Long. It amazes me how much she listens to the topics that Ty and I are discussing in school. I love it when I am reviewing previous lessons with Ty, and Lucy chimes in with the correct answers.
Here, Lucy is showing Lily the only remaining bullet hole from the night Governor Long was gunned down.
Adjacent to the bullet hole is this display chronicling the conspiracy around Huey P. Long’s death.
Representative Broadwater took us to see Huey Long’s desk and office. Today, I believe these are the offices of the Speaker of the House. I could be wrong about that though. (Lol. I really did try to pay attention during this tour, but when you are attempting to keep a bunch of monkeys from wreaking havoc on your state capitol, you miss a few details here and there.) Anyway, somebody important works here!
Seriously, these kids were well behaved the entire day. Just look at them!
Even Miss Tacy Mae got the opportunity to take a seat behind Governor Long’s desk.
In the wall in Governor Long’s office, was this board which lit up as senators and representatives cast their votes. (It was still in use until just a few years ago.) Rep. Broadwater explained to us how Huey Long would watch the lights, and if lawmakers weren’t voting “according to plan” Long had a switch underneath his desk that would disable the system. Then Governor Long would walk down to the Senate or House, and “persuade” the men to vote
as he wanted as they had earlier agreed. Crooked man, that Mr. Long.
Ty and Lucy climbed under the desk to find the infamous switch for themselves. If you want to hear something cute, all you have to do is ask Lucy about “the switch.” She can tell you all about it.
This was Reese’s attempt to “discreetly” flip the switch.
From there we walked down to the basement where Rep. Broadwater showed us the tunnel Huey Long used to access the capitol. He’d drive his car right into the building, hop directly onto an elevator, and ride up to his penthouse without most folks knowing he was in the building.
This looks like a good place to take a break for now. I hope you will come back for Part II of our capitol adventure.