Updated: Feb 11

Kingyatta’s (King & Kenyatta) River Walks

Levee Saunters

Board Promenades

Mississippi Excursions

2017(Then)~(2020) & 2021(Now)

Alongside the Mississippi River

Born Down South

Down By The Bayou

From the Pit ~ To the Palace

~We’re Now Speaking To The Masses

A Seat At the Table

Our Bloody River History

River Walks & Freedom Talks

From Running Away (By the Riversides)....

To The White House, Senate & State Capital

Where We Now Reside!!!

Escapes from slavery, and the extreme measures taken to stop these escapes, refuted the propaganda stating that African Americans were simple-minded and needed the civilizing and Christianizing influences of the slave system. The origin of the term “Underground Railroad” is not known precisely, but it was in use by the 1830s. During this period escapees were aided by other slaves and free blacks more often than by benevolent whites, with the overall organization of the effort provided by free blacks in the North.

A harsher Fugitive Slave Law was enacted as part of the Compromise of 1850, in direct reaction to the success of the Underground Railroad. It permitted the recapture of escaped slaves with the assistance of Federal marshals. Officials also could levy fines and prison sentences on individuals who helped runaways. This law forced escaping slaves to flee to Canada, where slavery was illegal. Some historians have estimated a total of about 100,000 slaves escaped along the Underground Railroad between 1790 and 1860.

The greatest importance of the Underground Railroad was probably not the number of escapees, but the pressures the movement placed on society to end slavery. A great number of resources throughout the U.S. were expended on hunting and capturing slaves, and a large share of the struggles of American politics in the early 19th century were tied to the fugitive slave question.

The Autobiography of William Wells Brown includes an excellent account of a slave’s escape from the St. Louis area in the early 1830s. Neighboring communities of Alton, Illinois and Webster Groves, Missouri have some Underground Railroad oral history connected with them, but little hard evidence. A well-documented urban slave escape was attempted at a ferry crossing on the Mississippi River on May 21, 1855. Today known as the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Site in north St. Louis, the site was the first in Missouri to qualify as part of the National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Dr. Kris Zapalac, a historic preservation specialist with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, conducted research which uncovered the story of eight or nine enslaved people who rowed across the Mississippi River with the intention of making their way northward toward freedom. They were aided by a free man known only as Isaac, and possibly by Mary Meachum, the widow of the founding pastor of the First African Baptist Church of St. Louis. Five of the escapees were apprehended. Isaac and Meachum were prosecuted for their efforts in helping the runaways, but since they were not captured or observed at the scene of the escape, the charges against them were dropped. Several of the slaves involved in this escape were the property of Henry Shaw, founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden. One, a woman named Esther, was punished by Shaw for her flight by being sold down river to a resident of Vicksburg. The lack of reference to children on the accounting provided to Shaw by Lynch indicates that Esther paid for her flight not only by being sold down river, but also by losing her children, who were sold separately.

National Underground Railroad to Freedom




Cause the world can be toxic

Especially when your skin looked like chocolate

At one point they sold us for profit

But we made it out of the gauntlet!

~Tobe Nwigwe

The Great River Road is a collection of state and local roads that follow the course of the Mississippi Riverthrough ten states of the United States. They are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. It formerly extended north into Canada, serving the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.


2,069.0 mi[1][3,329.7 km)

The Great River Road – The Best Drive in America

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The scenic route passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns. The Great River Road is arguably the longest and most important scenic byway in America.

The Drive

It takes about 36 hours of straight driving to travel from north to south along the byway. Most people take four to 10 days to make the journey.


Learn more about the pilot’s wheel here.

America’s Byways – National Scenic Byway Designation

The Great River Road is designated as a National Scenic Byway. This federal designation recognizes the Great River Road’s outstanding assets in the areas of culture, history, nature, recreation and scenic beauty. All along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, you’ll find tourism amenities as well as Interpretive Centers that help travelers experience the many facets of the Mississippi River Region.

What You’ll Experience

All along the Great River Road, visitors will find interesting things to see and do, including a number of river-related attractions and designated interpretive centers. The communities you’ll encounter along the way – from tiny riverside villages to vibrant metropolises – are where you’ll experience the living history of the region through music, culture and local cuisine.

See traveler recommendations on what flavors to sample up and down the Great River Road.

Travelers can spend a day exploring a short portion of the byway, or a week traveling through several states – or many weeks traveling the entire length of the river. It would take a lifetime to truly experience all that the Great River Road has to offer. Start your Great River Road journey today.

Find current road conditions along the Great River Road.

Learn more

6 things you might not know about the Great River Road

Four things to love about the Great River Road

Travel along the Great River Road with author Gayle Harper

Celebrate Drive the Great River Road Month

Related Articles

The term "Great River Road" refers both to a series of roadways and to a larger region inside the US and in each state, used for tourism and historic purposes. Some states have designated or identified regions of state interest along the road and use the roads to encompass those regions.[2]

It is divided into two main sections: the Great River Road and the National Scenic Byway Route. The eponymous segment runs on both sides of the river from Louisiana through the state borders of Kentucky/Illinois and Missouri/Iowa, excepting the full length of the road in Arkansas. A five-state section of the road has been designated a National Scenic Byway, running through Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Developed in 1938, the road has a separate commission in each state. These in turn cooperate through the Mississippi River Parkway Commission (MRPC). The 2,340 miles (3,765 km) are designated with a green-and-white sign showing a river steamboat inside a pilotwheel with the name of the state or province. The over-all logo reads "Canada to Gulf" where the local name would be, and most MRPC publications denote the route as beginning in Ontario and ending in Louisiana.

National and Other Routes

Until the early 1980s, a single Canada-to-Gulf alignment of the Great River Road, serving all ten states, was eligible for special federal funding. The states posted "National Route" plates above the markers on this route and marked their own alternate routes across the river, creating two alignments between New Orleans and Hastings-Point Douglas.[3] Signs marking the National Route are now used only in Illinois and Minnesota.[4] The National Route followed the following segments:[5]

Venice to Port Allen, Louisiana on the west bank

Huey P. Long Bridge

Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Greenville, Mississippi on the east bank

Benjamin G. Humphreys Bridge (replaced by the Greenville Bridge in 2010)

Lake Village to West Memphis, Arkansas on the west bank

Memphis & Arkansas Bridge

Memphis, Tennessee through Kentucky to Chester, Illinois on the east bank

Chester Bridge

McBride to Hannibal, Missouri on the west bank

Mark Twain Memorial Bridge (replaced by the modern Mark Twain Memorial Bridge in 2000)

East Hannibal to Niota, Illinois on the east bank

Fort Madison Toll Bridge

Fort Madison to Muscatine, Iowa on the west bank

Muscatine High Bridge (replaced by the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge in 1972)

Illinois City to East Dubuque, Illinois on the east bank

Julien Dubuque Bridge

Dubuque to Lansing, Iowa on the west bank

Black Hawk Bridge

De Soto, Wisconsin to Point Douglas, Minnesota on the east bank

single route from Point Douglas to Lake Itasca

More recently, much of the Great River Road, including a portion in every state, has been designated a National Scenic Byway.

Throwback 2017/2018 Portraits On the River On the Levee...

New Orleans has two levee systems along the Mississippi River. Two levee systems hold back the Mississippi in New Orleans: the East Bank System and the West Bank System. Together, these systems boast 192 miles of levees and 99 miles of flood-walls. But it's unclear just how much water the river levees can withstand...

Western Route


Few if any signs are present in Louisiana,[4] but the route has been defined by state law. It begins at Venice on the west bank, following LA 23 into Gretna, where the eastern route splits. The western route, historically part of the National Route here, turns west on LA 18, which it follows all the way to Donaldsonville except for a detour on LA 541 from Harvey to Bridge City. A short piece of LA 1 connects the Great River Road to LA 405, which hugs the river to another junction with LA 1 in Plaquemine. LA 988 loops off LA 1 from northern Plaquemine back to yet another junction south of Port Allen, where the route leaves LA 1 again on Oaks Avenue, which becomes LA 987-5 and turns north along the river on River Road. LA 987-4 (Court Street) leads back west to Jefferson Avenue, which the Great River Road follows north to LA 986 along the river and under the Huey P. Long Bridge (US 190),[6] which carries the National Route to the east bank (with access via LA 987-1).

A state alternate route begins along LA 986, becoming LA 415 near Lobdell and continuing along the river to Hermitage. LA 416 takes the route inland along the False River, an oxbow lake, to LA 1 near Knapp. LA 1 is followed through New Roads to Keller, where LA 15 splits to continue along the river to southwest of Vidalia. LA 131 leads northeast to Vidalia, from which US 425 and US 65 take the Great River Road to Arkansas.[6]

Eastern Route


A state alternate route begins in Gretna and crosses the Crescent City Connection (US 90 Business) into New Orleans. Tchoupitoulas Street leads along the river to Audubon Park, with Magazine Street, Leake Avenue, and Oak Street continuing from the other side of the park to the city line. In Jefferson Parish, the road becomes River Road (partly LA 611-1), from which the Great River Road jogs northwest on Hickory Street to LA 48. LA 48 hugs the river to Norco, where US 61 crosses the Bonnet Carre Spillway to LA 628, connecting in LaPlace to LA 636-3and LA 44. Another river-hugging highway, LA 44 leads to Burnside, where LA 942 continues to Darrow; the route then follows LA 75, LA 991, and LA 327 around the curves of the river to Baton Rouge. Through that city, the Great River Road uses LA 30, Government Street, River Road (partly US 61 Business), State Capitol Drive, Third Street, Spanish Town Road, Fifth Street, and Capitol Access Road (LA 3045) to I-110. At the Airline Highway interchange on I-110, the National Route comes over the Huey P. Long Bridge (US 190) and turns north to follow I-110 and US 61 into Mississippi.[6]

In January 1811, there was a rebellion of several hundred enslaved and free black people referred to as the 1811 German Coast uprising, beginning in St. John the Baptist Parish and continuing on a 26-mile (42 km) route through lower Louisiana toward New Orleans. A Louisiana militia countered the rebellion, the largest revolt of enslaved persons in United States history. Afterward, there were trials on the plantations and executions of the majority involved in the revolt. The heads of many of those executed were placed on spikes along the Great River Road.[9][10][11]

Some sources show the Great River Road continuing south from New Orleans along the east bank on LA 46 and LA 39 to Pointe à la Hache.[citation needed]

2020/2021 Portraits along the Mississippi River

Our River Walks & Freedom Talks........

Kingyatta’s (King & Kenyatta) River Walks

Levee Saunters

Board Promenades

Mississippi Excursions

2017(Then) & 2021(Now)

Alongside the Mississippi River

Born Down South

Down By The Bayou

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