Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Field Trip: Louisiana Governor's Mansion

Last week we "toured" the Louisiana Governor's Mansion with our homeschool group.  I use the word lightly.  There are approximately 45 rooms in the mansion, including 12 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms.  We got to see the foyer, drawing room, one of the dining rooms (there are two) and rotunda.  And that was it.  I was really hoping to see one of the kitchens.  But it really was a fascinating tour none-the-less. 
The mansion itself is beautiful.  I always admire it when traveling down the interstate.  I'd forgotten until we drove up that I'd actually been there before.  Several years ago, the then Governor's wife sponsored a school supply fundraiser for children whose schools had been destroyed by one of the hurricanes.  I delivered a bunch of supplies after our VBS that year.  
The very first thing I noticed when we walked in was that it was still decorated for Christmas!  I wasn't expecting that the second week in January.  But the trees were really pretty.  These were in the drawing room and decorated with a Louisiana theme.  Many of the decorations had been sent to area school children who colored them and then sent them back for the trees.  They were done in blue and gold because those are Louisiana's state colors.  
The drawing room was quite big with very beautiful furnishings.  Our docent was so very good!  She was a retired school teacher, and she kept us entertained the whole time.  We learned a lot, too.  Many symbols and things unique to the state are in the furnishings.  There are 64 fleurs-de-li in the design of the area rug that represent Louisiana's 64 parishes (counties).  There are 18 stars around the edge of the rug that represent Louisiana being the 18th state added to the Union.
Of course, the Steinway tucked away in the corner of the room caught my eye.
Across the foyer from the drawing room is one of the dining rooms.  The Governor had just had a meeting in here before our tour began.  I couldn't help but think of Grandmother's dining room as I stood at the end of this table.
The Louisiana state seal graces the floor of the rotunda.  There are 2,500 pieces of marble assembled together here!
Louisiana's First Family resides on the second floor of the mansion.  Portraits of Louisiana's former governors line the staircase.
The foyer is quite a work of art.  There is a beautiful mural painted on all four walls.  It is very colorful, very bright and also includes special touches relating to past governors and their families.  The dog you see here was Governor Blanco's dog.  The stack of books behind the poinsettia represent Governor Jindal because he was a Rhodes Scholar.  The bat you see to the right of the deer was actually painted by Governor Jindal's son.  So there are lots of neat little things going on here.  
The mansion sits across the lake and in the shadow of the state capital building.  Mason said he would love to live here.  When I asked him why, he said because he can learn a lot about the state and the government.  Of course, the chocolate chip cookies they gave us on the way out probably had a lot to do with it, too!    

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