Filling empty downtown storefronts; DDD, BRAC want to help

(file photo)

The Downtown Development District and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber will work to identify vacant downtown storefronts and any impediments to bringing those locations back into commerce, the DDD’s executive director says. 

The groups also plan to recruit businesses to fill those storefronts, with a focus on local and minority-owned companies, Whitney Hoffman Sayal adds. The DDD is carrying over $308,000 that wasn’t spent last year due to staff vacancies to help support the effort along with other projects planned for this year. 

Also discussed at today’s DDD meeting:

  • The Capital Region Planning Commission has launched “Commuter Krewe,” an effort to partner with area businesses and encourage car and van pooling to alleviate traffic amid construction projects. A free Commuter Krewe smartphone app is available; you can get more information by calling 225-344-RIDE or emailing [email protected]
  • Work has begun to convert the former Holiday Inn Express to an Origin Hotel, which will be a boutique hotel with a full restaurant. The work is expected to be finished in August or September. 

The DDD has tapped consultant Phillip LaFargue to lead the process to create downtown’s newest strategic plan that will help guide the DDD’s efforts over the next five years.

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Celebrate the Life of Jean-Louis Trintignant by Revisiting “Three Colors: Red”


You may well wince at the tidily wholesome ending of Michael Lehmann’s Heathers (1989), but you have to respect the film’s fearless depiction of youthful evil. As a young woman stranded in the netherworld between obscurity and popularity, Winona Ryder ingeniously makes her character’s innocence both chilling and comical. And Christian Slater? As an outsider with the swagger of James Dean and the soul of a serial killer, he’s one of the all-time scariest high school villains. Amazon Prime.


Greg Mottola’s quasi-autobiographical Adventureland (2009) is set in 1985, but you don’t need to have been alive then to be overwhelmed by its nostalgia. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star as James and Em, co-workers who fall in love while working at a Pittsburgh theme park over the summer. Revelatory in its ordinariness, the essence of their romance is captured in the film’s most exquisite image: Stewart’s face framed by a car window, looking at once beautifully present and achingly gone. HBO Max.


Celebrate the life of Jean-Louis Trintignant, who died in June, by revisiting his potent performance in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Red (1994). As a retired judge who eavesdrops on his neighbors, Trintignant skillfully embodies his character’s armored cynicism, which is gradually pierced by the empathy of a student and part-time model (Irene Jacob). HBO Max.

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