As correspondent Tom Mellet points out, the Thin Blue Line is now marked by the Red Pole, which in French is le baton rouge.
French explorer Sieur d'Iberville led an exploration party up the Mississippi River in 1699. The explorers saw a red pole marking the boundary between the Houma and Bayogoula tribal hunting grounds. The French name le bâton rouge ("the red pole") is the translation of a native term rendered as Istrouma, possibly a corruption of the Choctaw iti humma "red pole"
André-Joseph Pénicaut, a carpenter traveling with d'Iberville, published the first full-length account of the expedition in 1723. According to Pénicaut,
"From there [Manchacq] we went five leagues higher and found very high banks called écorts in that region, and in savage called Istrouma which means red stick [bâton rouge], as at this place there is a post painted red that the savages have sunk there to mark the land line between the two nations, namely: the land of the Bayagoulas which they were leaving and the land of another nation—thirty leagues upstream from the baton rouge—named the Oumas."
See also Red Sticks for the ceremonial use of red sticks among the Muscogee.
The location of the red pole was presumably at Scott's Bluff, on what is now the campus of Southern University. It was reportedly a 30-foot-high (9.1 m) painted pole adorned with fish bones.
At least seven officers were injured and at least three of them are feared dead in a shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday, 7.17.2016. (The number of those killed was updated to "4" by a state legislature representative on MSNBC. He also said there were "multiple shooters," so his information is unverified. Police, during a news conference, also mentioned they may be looking for multiple shooters - in black, with long guns, with masks, faces hidden, maybe in military garb.)
Police received a call of "suspicious person walking down Airline Highway with an assault rifle," the source said. The suspect appeared to be wearing black with assault rifle.
When police arrived, the man opened fire.
The remaining officers are hospitalized in critical condition.
Kip Holden, the mayor-president of East Baton Rouge Parish, said authorities were still trying to get a handle on the situation, but added, "The count is three officers dead possibly."
The victims may include police officers and sheriff's deputies.
"There is still an active scene. They are investigating," he said. "Right now we are trying to get our arms around everything."
The shooter is believed to be down as well, Holden said.
"Everything is moving fast and I have not been able to verify everything," he said.
Screengrab from a video of a Gavin Eugene Long using the pseudonym of Cosmo Setepenra. (YouTube)
Long went to Dallas after the attack on police officers on July 7, 2016, according to a video he posted to Youtube. He tweeted a photo of Micah X. Johnson, the Dallas gunman. Long wrote that he dropped out of college, sold his two cars and gave away his material possessions to journey to Africa, his “ancestral homeland,” after a “spirutual revelation.” While there he wrote three books, he said on the website. Source.
Law enforcement agencies have identified the man as Gavin Eugene Long, who has been tied to the Sovereign Citizens Movement. Due to the early history of the Sovereign Citizens anti-government, allegedly white supremacy philosophy, initial confused caused some mainstream media reporters to identify Long as a white gunman.
Gavin Long was a former University of Alabama student who was divorced from his wife in 2011. Public records show he has lived in Kansas City and Grandview, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the university is located. He was a former Marine.
The second victim has been identified as Matthew Gerald, 41, who was married with two children. He had been working on his own for 12 days.
Airline Highway is a divided highway in the U.S. state of Louisiana, built in stages between 1925 and 1953 to bypass the older Jefferson Highway. It runs 115.6 miles (186.0 km), carrying U.S. Highway 61 from New Orleans northwest to Baton Rouge and U.S. Highway 190 from Baton Rouge west over the Mississippi River on the Huey P. Long Bridge. US 190 continues west towards Opelousas on an extension built at roughly the same time.
The highway was named "Airline" because it runs relatively straight on a new alignment, rather than alongside the winding Mississippi River. (Compare with the similar term air-line railroad.) The name later became even more fitting, as both Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport were built along the highway. Airline Highway also runs close to the site of the old Baton Rouge airfield (near the intersection of Airline and Florida Boulevard, now a park and government office complex), which brings it within blocks of the similarly named Airport Avenue and Airway Drive.