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William Bartram's Louisiana Trail Conference

Hosted by Friends of Hilltop Arboretum

In partnership with the Bartram Trail Conference

Celebrating Baton Rouge’s Bicentennial History

Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26, 2017


William Bartram was America’s first native-born naturalist artist. In 1773 he set out on a four-year journey from Philadelphia through the Carolinas and the Gulf South to Louisiana and the Mississippi River. Along the way he recorded his observations of the native people, plants and animals by writing and drawing in his journal. He reached Louisiana in 1775 a year before the American Declaration of Independence, 28 years before the Louisiana Purchase and 37 years before Louisiana became the 18th state in the Union. He spent only a few months in Louisiana reaching his western most point of exploration when he crossed the Mississippi to “Pointe Coupe”, in present day Pointe Coupee Parish. From this place Bartram reversed his path arriving back home in Philadelphia in early 1777. He later organized and drew from his journals to publish his book “Travels” in 1791. The book found a significant readership in American and Europe and is still in print today.

In celebration of the City of Baton Rouge’s Bicentennial Anniversary, the William Bartram’s Louisiana Trail Conference will take us back to 18th Century Louisiana where we’ll learn about the history and natural world of West Florida as well as Bartram’s contributions to art and literature.

Register and Pay:

Click here to register (Deadline MARCH 8, 2017)

Questions call 225-767-6916 or email

Attendance Options:

1. All events: includes Friday Reception, Saturday Conference & Banquet, Sunday Stroll/Brunch & Tours – $175.00 (USD)

2. Friday Reception, Saturday Conference & Banquet (excludes Sunday events) – $135.00 (USD)

3. Friday Reception & Saturday Conference only – $100.00 (USD)

4. Sunday Tree Stroll/Brunch & New Roads Tour only – $45.00 (USD)


Friday, March 24, 2017

Early Conference Check-In and Free Tour of Magnolia Mound Plantation:

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – You can check in early and pick up your conference packet and a free pass to tour the plantation home and grounds (also good for Sunday afternoon 1:00-4:00pm).

Free Afternoon LSU Tours:

1:30 – 2:30pm – Founded in 1869, the Shirley C. Tucker Herbarium at Louisiana State University is the oldest collection of preserved plant specimens in the Gulf South and is the second largest collection of Louisiana plants. Collections Manager Jennie Kluse will lead a tour of the updated facility, with a look at early specimens and species associated with the Bartrams.

3:00 – 4:00pm – The Special Collections at LSU Hill Memorial Library was opened in 1903, and moved to the present campus in 1926. In the McIlhenny Room, items of interest for your observation include, among others, works by John and William Bartram, Mark Catesby, Alexander Wilson, Jacob Bigelow, and John James Audubon. A special treat will be some original watercolor drawings by Margaret Stones from her Flora of Louisiana project of the 1970s-80s.

Conference attendees must sign up separately for these two behind-the-scenes tours. Each tour is limited to 20 people. The group will gather together and walk to each facility, further instructions will be provided.

Marker Dedication and Opening Reception:

Magnolia Mound Plantation (Front Gallery)

4:00 – 6:00p.m. Early Conference Check-In

5:30 p.m. William Bartram Marker Dedication

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Wine and Cheese Reception

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Location: East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library

7711 Goodwood Boulevard, Baton Rouge

Conference Room

8:30–9:00: Registration and Coffee

9:00–9:15: Welcome: President, T. R. Henderson

9:15–10:45: Bartram’s Louisiana Travels

Taylor McGaughy: “Peregrinations to Pontchartrain”: William Bartram’s Westerly Wanderings

Dennis Jones: “Sweet Home Alabama”: Evidence for an 18th Century Native American Occupation at the Chatsworth Plantation Site (16EBR192) in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Dorinda Dallmeyer: “White Cliffs, Deep Time”: William Bartram and Geology

10:45–11:00: BREAK

11:00 –12:00: Marking Bartram’s Trail

Peggy Davis Coates: Louisiana’s Bartram Trail Revisited

Sam Carr: Regional and National Bartram Trail Efforts

12:00–1:00: LUNCH (Conference Room)

Botanic Garden at Independence Park.

Save a few minutes during the lunch break to walk out the back door of the conference room and stroll through the Botanic Garden at Independence Park. The garden features collections of crape myrtles, herbs, roses, LA Iris, day lilies, buttery plants, ferns and gingers.

1:00–2:30: Literature, Art, and the Natural World

Andy Ross: “Within a Few Inches of Your Eye”: Visual and Narrative Meditation in Bartram’s Travels

Elizabeth Athens: “A Lively Animated Picture”: William Bartram and Drawing Ad vivum

Randy Harelson: “Native Flora of Louisiana”: Watercolor Drawings of Margaret Stones

2:30–2:45: BREAK

2:45–3:30: Remembering John Hall

Thomas Hallock: “Remembering John Hall”: The work of the BTC and the Good Nature of Environmental Education

3:30–4:30: Forty Years on: The History of the Bartram Trail Conference

This roundtable discussion will feature charter members of the Bartram Trail Conference. Three Louisiana members, Charles Fryling, Sally Daigle, and Polly Williams, will discuss their early adventures and their hopes for the future of the Bartram Trail Conference. Moderator: Chuck Spornick.

Cocktails, Banquet and Keynote Address:

6:30-7:30: Cocktails on the Plaza

Beer, Wine and Passed Hors d’oeuvres

7:30 – 9:00pm: Banquet and Keynote Address (see conference details)

Daniel H. Usner: “A Prospect of the Grand Sublime”: The Louisiana-Florida Borderland Seen and Unseen by William Bartram

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Field Trips:

LSU Hilltop Arboretum, 14-acres on historic Highland Road, Baton Rouge.

LeJuene House, New Roads, Louisiana, oldest house in New Roads, Circa 1820, on the Francois Samson 1790 plantation.

LSU Hilltop Arboretum Tree Stroll/Brunch and Pointe Coupee

History Tour

9:00am or 11:00am – You begin this field trip with a tree stroll and brunch at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum which will be offered at two different times during the morning (9am or 11am), sign-up for your preferred time slot when you register.

On a beautiful spring morning you will enjoy the serenity of Hilltop’s 14-acres as you stroll past the arboretum’s collection of “Bartram” trees and plants, a map will be provided. Views of Louisiana aquatic plants along the pond will be in full view as you enjoy brunch under the cover of the Margaret Brown Holmes Outdoor Pavilion. Heirloom Cuisine Caterers will provide a mouth-watering Louisiana menu (see Conference Details). The Louisiana Vintage Dancers dressed in period costumes will entertain us under the pavilion with their unforgettable dances of the 1700’s. Bring your dancing shoes so you can join in!

The arboretum’s Hodge Podge Nursery will also be open offering native plants for sale, and the Hilltop Gift Shop will be offering unique gifts including a poster of the famous watercolor painting of the Big Leaf Magnolia by Margaret Stones, and copies of her book Flora of Louisiana.

After brunch you will follow William Bartram’s trail as you travel in your car to New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish, the terminus of Bartram’s travels in Louisiana. The drive will take about 30 minutes and a map will be provided. Randy Harelson and Richard Gibbs will be your hosts for a tour of their historic home, LeJuene House (Circa 1810), and its garden. On your return to Baton Rouge you will stop for a visit at St. Francis Chapel (Circa 1890) which houses religious objects dating from 1738. Tours from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Burden Museum and Garden Tours

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Wear your conference name badge for FREE tours at Burden Museum and Gardens which includes the LSU AgCenter Botanic Garden, LSU Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens.

Burden Museum and Gardens offers discovery and adventure through historic, natural and educational experiences that provide a window into Louisiana’s rich cultural past. Situated on 440 acres in the heart of Baton Rouge, it is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the flora and fauna of Louisiana’s lush landscapes and agricultural heritage.

Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Garden.

Steele Burden, who was influenced by the gardens of Europe designed Windrush Gardens.

LSU Rural Life Museum transports you back to 19th century Louisiana.

Register and Pay:

For more information and to register, go to:

Questions call 225-767-6916 or email

Attendance Options:

1. All events: includes Friday Reception, Saturday Conference & Banquet, Sunday Stroll/Brunch & Tours – $175.00 (USD)

2. Friday Reception, Saturday Conference & Banquet (excludes Sunday events) – $135.00 (USD)

3. Friday Reception & Saturday Conference only – $100.00 (USD)

4. Sunday Tree Stroll/Brunch & New Roads Tour only – $45.00 (USD)

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