Being a mid-sized city in the deep south, you might not think of Baton Rouge as necessarily being a center for the performing arts. But there is a lot of hidden talent in this town doing really impressive things on the stage – and at birthday parties!
Jenny Ballard is the managing artistic director of Theatre Baton Rouge. Jenny began her career in Tennessee and came to Baton Rouge after several years in local theater there, to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts. After completing the program, Jenny joined Theater Baton Rouge in 2014, and in the years since has helped lead the company through many successful productions, a huge capital campaign and efforts to grow the company’s volunteer base and its education programs.
Venessa Lewis is also in the performing arts arena – though not on stage. Rather, she’s more likely to show up at a kiddie birthday party or perhaps swimming with the sharks in Mexico dressed up as the Louisiana Mermaid, which is her alternate persona. Venessa has a custom-made mermaid costume that she wears for public appearances, where she not only entertains but teaches young people about the oceans and marine life conservation. She also owns the Petite Princess Company, which rents out princesses for birthdays and other events.
Out to Lunch Baton Rouge is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. Photos by Ken Stewart. And for more fun in Baton Rouge, check out what you can do on a bike.