Baton Rouge, Mississippi is the capital of Louisiana and represents better than anywhere else the vibrance the state and the city s 230,000 residents are so proud of. Originally settled in 1699 by French explorers, this part of the country has at times been claimed by France, England, Spain, West Florida, the Confederate States of America, Louisiana and the United States of America. All of these are still represented in the various elements of the state s current flag. Architecture features prominently in Baton Rouge with structures ranging from the neo-gothic state capitol to the grace and grandeur of several plantation homes and from Italian renaissance to contemporary buildings. Several museums throughout the city bring history to life with restored original pieces and interactive displays. Check out the Old Arsenal Museum which was built in the 1830s, or the U.S.S. Kidd and Nautical Center which is a 369 foot WWII Fletcher Class Destroyer that has been fully restored and is open for overnight camping. At the Baton Rouge Zoo more than 1800 animals are waiting to be discovered. Of course the biggest annual event in the city is Mardi Gras when people flock from all over to take part in festivities.