Out and About in Baton Rouge – Out to Lunch – It’s Baton Rouge
While New Orleans gets the lion’s share of attention for being Louisiana’s premier tourist destination, Baton Rouge has some offerings of its own.
Michael Day is General Manager of the Raising Cane’s River Center, Baton Rouge’s premier event facility. Built in 1977, the River Center has more than 14-thousand square meters of exhibition space, a 12-thousand seat facility for concerts, performances and sporting events, a ballroom and meeting rooms and a separate fine arts theater where the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and Baton Rouge Ballet perform, among others. In the fall of 2016, the River Center became the Raising Cane’s River Center, when Raising Cane’s bought the naming rights for the River Center for $3.87 million, a deal that was designed to help generate a little cash that could be used to help refurbish the center. Michael has been at the helm since 2015.
David Beard works right across the street from Michael at the USS Kidd Veterans Museum, where he is Executive Director. The Kidd is a World War II-era Fletcher Class Destroyer ship that is one of Baton Rouge’s best-known and unique tourist attractions, and David is unique in that he is the first full-time, experienced museum curator to run the facility, which is significant because he is bringing a whole new level of expertise to keeping this historical treasure afloat – figuratively, if not literally. David has spent the past two decades as a museum curator with a specialty on military and maritime museums. He is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, who previous ran military museums in Philadelphia and, most recently the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur, Texas.
David and Michael take Stephanie Riegel behind the scenes at the USS Kidd and the Raising Canes River Center. Photos at Mansurs On The Boulevard by Karry Hosford.