Baton Rouge Traditions

Traditions in Baton Rouge

By Maida Owens


A photo essay of traditions in Baton Rouge. Hover over a photo to learn more and click any photo to see a slideshow based on folklife genres or categories. Photos are added as fieldwork is completed.

The National Endowment for the Arts supported the fieldwork on folk arts and the Library of Congress supported documentation of occupational traditions.















Other craft traditions: African American church hat maker. Show horse gear. Tattoo artist. Belt buckles made from industrial scrap.


Other customs: Community-based fundraisers such as those for sick children, burned homes. Memorial T-Shirts, Making gifts for veterans.


Other dance traditions: Stepping. Palestinian dancers. Cajun and Zydeco dance.

Folk Theater/Street Performance

Other street performances: Marching clubs (The Dancing Girls/Southdowns). Children's parades (Mardi Gras, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day). Easter parade.


Other food traditions: Smoked meats, homemade sausage. Seafood markets. Plate lunch diners. Crawfish boils on Good Friday. Fish fries. Foods for fundraisers. Cooking game or fish. Rosh Hashanah meals. Greek Orthodox communion bread.



blues venues, sites and their owners









Pentecostal praise team, Baptist choir, Church of Christ congregational singing
Singing To the Glory: Church-based Choirs and Ensembles in Baton Rouge


Greek Orthodox chanters, Hindu drumming, Hindu bhajans (devotional songs), Vietnamese Buddhist chanting
Sacred Sounds in Baton Rouge Churches, Synagogues, Temples, and Mosques
Dancing in the Light: The Nine-Day Festival of Navaratri in South Louisiana


Jewish synagogue, Sufi ney, Sacred Harp singing
Sacred Sounds in Baton Rouge Churches, Synagogues, Temples, and Mosques


Other music traditions: Jam Sessions (Irish traditional, blues, bluegrass, Cajun, zydeco). Scottish ballads. Jewish cantor. Muslim muezzins singing calls to prayer. High school marching bands. Baptist Singing Convention. Gandy dancers. House movers' work calls.

Oral Traditions

Legends about the State Capitol
Legends and Lore of the State Capitol

Cajun humorist. Reciting cowboy poetry. Ghost Town legends. Liar's Bench in Beauregard Town. Toasting. Rapping. Oratory styles (sermons, politicians).

Occupational Traditions

Other occupational traditions: Outdoor cooking equipment made for tailgating and caterers. Gunmaker. Building arts (brick masons, tile masons, copper work, ironwork, millwork, plasterers, sheetrock finishers). Cemetery workers. African American braiding. Shoe shine. Training stock dogs. Dairy farm. River workers (pilots, deckhands). Hog removal. Stockyard. Auctioneers (cars, antiques, livestock). Auto body specialists. Furniture repair, upholstery, chair caning, leather repair, watch repair, Latin grocery store.

Recreational Traditions

Other recreational traditions: Trail ride club. Rodeo traditions. Social clubs. Horse grooming. Mutual aid societies. Jewish Mahjong club. Equestrian traditions.

Ritual Traditions

Other ritual traditions: Mardi Gras ball tableaux. Candle shops. Debutante traditions. Holy rooms in homes (Buddhist, Catholic). Fortunetellers. Easter traditions. Fundraisers for ill children or houses burned. Knotted rosaries. Crochet rosary holders. Church altar guild traditions.

Yards and Gardens

vegetable and ornamental gardens


statements of faith


yard decorations: Christmas lights, football; Mardi Gras flamingos and bead trees





public spaces may have manicured gardens or more naturalized ones.

Other yard and garden traditions: Prayer gardens, rosary walks. Ornamental fences, gates. Ethnic gardens (holy basil for Hindu rituals, grape arbors, vegetables not readily available). Families growing local fruit such as lemons, figs mirlitons, cooking pears, satsumas, and muscadines. Homes adapted for hunting/fishing (mud rooms, outdoor cooking spaces, boat sheds, spaces to process fish and game).