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Baton Rouge Press Releases

Press Releases from East Baton Rouge Parish

Copyright: Copyright 2006 City-Parish of East Baton Rouge

EBR Head Start searching for its families

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST

August 19, 2016

For release: IMMEDIATELY

For more information contact:

Paula Roddy, Human Services Director: (225) 358-4583

Susan Boudreaux, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-5101

Scott Dyer, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-7957

Press Release

EBR Head Start searching for its families

The EBR Head Start/Early Head Start program is asking parents/families who have registered for the EBR Head Start/Early Head Start fall term and have not been contacted by Head Start staff, to please contact the EBR Head Start Administrative office at 358-4504 or 358-4583, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to update all pertinent information relative to their child’s enrollment and placement.

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

Mayor Holden, community leaders cut ribbon today for HOPE Ministries’ new Community Garden

Tue, 26 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden and other community leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate HOPE Ministries’ new community garden and citrus orchard. The garden was installed by students from the Mayor’s Love Our Community Summer Youth Employment Program with assistance from a summer intern funded by ExxonMobil and funding support from Capital Area United Way.

The Mayor’s Love Our Community Summer Youth Employment Program was established in 2013 as an environmental stewardship and neighborhood revitalization initiative that employs youth between the ages of 14-17 for four weeks in the summer. The program was designed to fight blight and give youth the opportunity to earn income while completing work that benefits themselves, the environment and the community.

Since its inception, Love Our Community continues to partner with organizations that transform vacant lots and develop, support and sustain access to fresh produce through community gardening.

With ongoing support from partners like these, HOPE Ministries maintains a proven track record of leading the community in the implementation of innovative and effective programming that has a measureable impact on both the neighbors we serve and the community we live in.

The Client Choice Food Pantry addresses food insecurity in the 70805 zip code by providing wraparound services including nutritious food selections, outreach to stabilize access to federal assistance programs, one-on-one guidance and referrals to other resources, and education to support healthy lifestyle choices.

The Way to Work –Sustainable Workforce SOLUTIONS© is a division of HOPE Ministries that trains people to keep jobs and companies to retain people. The program provides both employer and client-centered resources to help participants achieve and maintain employment, economic, and family stability

For more information contact Kelli Rogers at (225) 355-0702 or (512)-771-4599 (cell) or go to

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

With grants expiring, BRAVE looks to nonprofit to maintain its anti-crime operations

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST

With its federal funding expiring, City-Parish officials are taking steps to preserve the highly successful Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) Project through a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation that can accept tax-deductible donations..

BRAVE, Inc. recently held its first fundraiser, and officials are making a major push to solicit donations to maintain the program that targets gang-related violence in criminal hotspots.

“BRAVE is one of the biggest success stories to come out of East Baton Rouge Parish in recent years,” said Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden. “This move to establish a nonprofit funding mechanism will hopefully help to ensure funding is in place so BRAVE can continue providing services to youth that opt out of gang and group-related crimes.“

The program invites gang leaders to a "call in" meeting while assuring them they will not be arrested. At the meeting, they are told that the next time a murder occurs and a member of their group is responsible, whatever warrants or indictments are outstanding on all the members of their group will become top priority and they will all be jailed.

The BRAVE program also gives criminals an opportunity to escape a life of crime through education, substance abuse treatment, workforce development, mentoring and mental health counseling.

In the first full year of the BRAVE program, homicides in East Baton Rouge Parish dropped from 83 to 66, a decrease of 20 percent.

BRAVE has also participated in other educational and anti-crime programs, including the highly successful Gas for Guns that gets firearms off the streets by offering gasoline coupons in exchange for them.

BRAVE was actually launched in May 2012 with $150,000 in city-parish funding that was used primarily to pay for the services of BRAVE Director Herbert “Tweety” Anny and consultant Jim Fealy, who provided technical assistance for the violence reduction


A few months later, Mayor Holden and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore announced that the BRAVE program had received a $1.5 million federal grant that was spread over a three-year period. The program initially targeted known violent and drug-trade offenders in criminal hotspots, beginning with zip code 70805 in North Baton Rouge.

A year later, the Parish was awarded an additional $1-million in federal grant money to build upon the BRAVE effort by creating and implementing a comprehensive, place-based plan to address community crime issues in the four interconnected neighborhoods bordering 70805 and 70802.

BRAVE has been so successful that officials in Jackson, Miss., established their own version of the program.

For more information, visit the BRAVE website at or call (225) 239-7835.

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

Mayor Holden Launches Public Safety Platform to Coordinate Near Real-Time Response Efforts

Thu, 26 May 2016 00:00:00 CST

Mayor Holden Launches Public Safety Platform to Coordinate Near Real-Time Response Efforts across Metro Area Partners Interactive digital mapping platform provides single source of critical information for situational awareness, coordination, communication, and analytics across public safety agencies This morning, Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden was joined by Baton Rouge Police Department Chief Carl Dabadie, Jr. and other City-Parish officials for a press conference to launch the City-Parish’s new interactive digital mapping platform that consolidates various public safety-related data inputs, streams, and analytics into one central map-based environment – known as the Baton Rouge Public Safety Common Operational Platform, or PSCOP. The initiative, which has been under development for more than a year, functions as a collaborative effort between the Department of Information Services, the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and the Baton Rouge Police Department, for which the technology is currently being piloted. “In emergency situations, a delay in response time of minutes or even seconds can mean the difference between life and death, making an arrest, protecting residents and their property, and more,” said Mayor Holden. “With this platform, we’ve been able to establish a near real-time, map-based link between our public safety agencies that creates an efficient and accurate overview of emergency situations unlike any we’ve ever seen before here in Baton Rouge – helping to serve the needs of our citizens as swiftly as possible through reducing those minutes or seconds it takes for our agencies to respond.” This morning’s demonstration featured a number of scenarios in which the platform can be utilized to aid in public safety response and management efforts, including the utilization of a detailed operational dashboard to support officer placement and deployment and a 96-hour crime incident map-based view to track recurrences of specific crimes in a specific area. “The launch of this cutting edge platform will dramatically transform how we respond to and monitor emergency situations from one central environment, leveraging every available map and data point to protect the safety of both our citizens and officers,” said Baton Rouge Police Department Chief Carl Dabadie, Jr. “This platform is yet another example of the innovation that can happen when our City-Parish departments work together to achieve shared missions, and I look forward to future efforts and ways in which we can build off of this program in continued service to our Baton Rouge community.” “The significant advancements we’ve made in recent years through our geographic information system program here at the City-Parish have allowed us to take similar leaps forward in how we utilize technology to power efforts like this PSCOP initiative, which require a tremendous amount of collaboration across multiple agencies to integrate real-time, disparate data streams into one central environment from which our law enforcement agencies can make real-time and potentially life-saving decisions,” said Eric Romero, Interim Director of Information Services. Romero pointed to the Baton Rouge Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, and other law enforcement agencies as candidates for an expansion of this pilot platform, ultimately working to establish a common operational platform from which all emergency response agencies in East Baton Rouge Parish can begin mobilizing. City-Parish staff began work on the platform in January 2015 following a joint emergency management exercise with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), from which the need for this type of central operational management tool emerged. From this effort, a cross-departmental team led by Romero and Warren Kron, City-Parish Geographic Information System (GIS) Manager, worked to integrate[...]

DHDS volunteers prepare 1,458 tax returns through VITA tax prep program this year

Mon, 23 May 2016 00:00:00 CST

DHDS volunteers prepare 1,458 tax returns through VITA tax prep program this year

Ten Division of Human Development and Services (DHDS) staff members prepared 1,458 tax returns by participating in the Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA) Free Income Tax preparation program this year. Seven additional staff from the Division assisted with the overall success of the program by serving as schedulers, greeters, and quality reviewers. Volunteers for the VITA Program received special training from the IRS and passed a special certification test dealing with tax issues.

The VITA program offers free tax preparation assistance to individuals who earn $54,000 or less during the tax year.

The City-Parish VITA Program was assisted through a $16,000 United Way grant, which also provided funding for the after-hours assistance provided by DHDS staff. As a result of the DHDS employees’ efforts, the IRS accepted and sent approximately $2.4-million in tax refunds to individuals served by the program, not including their state tax refunds.

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

City-Parish and Louisiana DOTD Partnering with Waze Connected Citizens Program

Wed, 11 May 2016 00:00:00 CST

Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden announced today a formal data-sharing partnership between the City-Parish, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), and Waze (, the free, real-time crowdsourced navigation app powered by the world’s largest community of drivers. Through this free partnership, the City-Parish and DOTD join 65 other communities around the world as global partners within the Waze Connected Citizens Program, which was established by Waze to facilitate two-way data sharing of publicly available traffic information between government agencies and citizens and promote greater efficiency, deeper insights and safer roads for citizens across the world – and now both in Baton Rouge and state routes across Louisiana. “Through this exciting partnership with Waze and our partners in traffic management at the state, we are taking the next step to adopt a data-driven approach to reducing congestion here in Baton Rouge and create safer driving conditions for all our citizens,” Mayor Holden said. “Much in the same way we achieved a Top 10 Digital City ranking last year, my administration is laser-focused on how we can best utilize technology and digital platforms such as Waze to better connect with citizens and, in this case, both provide and consume real-time traffic data that works together to form one of the world’s most accurate overviews of local traffic conditions.” “This level of data sharing between Waze, DOTD and the City-Parish will play an important role for travelers throughout the state as DOTD continues to incorporate the latest technology into our Traffic Management Center,” Sec. Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., said. “I firmly believe in the power of data and information which, when provided to citizens in a real-time manner such as this, will help travelers make more informed travel decisions and have a more enjoyable and safer commute. Through this partnership, we are taking the next step in our efforts to provide as much information as possible for the day-to-day commuter, travelers passing through our state and to those in need of real-time information during emergency situations such as flooding, winter storms and evacuations.” The Waze Connected Citizens Program provides municipalities, states, and countries with an unprecedented view into real-time road activity, empowering decisions that achieve concrete community impact. With a foundation of two-way data sharing, Waze provides partners with real-time, anonymous, incident and traffic information directly from its users (known as “Wazers”). In exchange, the City-Parish and DOTD will provide real-time, government-reported construction, crash and road closure data to Waze to create one of the most succinct and thorough overviews of current road conditions today. Moving forward and in the coming months, both the City-Parish and DOTD will be working to integrate Waze data streams into each organization’s traffic management system and related traffic monitoring applications, such as the City-Parish’s traffic incident map and DOTD’s 511 traffic information web and smartphone application. “The Waze map evolves with every driver and data point it receives, promoting safer roads and sharing more knowledge with Wazers about potential delays to their commutes,” said Paige Fitzgerald, Waze Connected Citizens Program Manager. “The Waze Connected Citizens Program yields even more data, giving citizens in these areas a greater ability to circumvent road closures and traffic jams within the app. The immense levels and layers of traffic-related data now available in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana will serve as key catalysts in helping drivers get to where they need to go on the most optimal routes possible.” According to Waze, Baton Rouge has more than 35,000 monthly active users who collectively drive more than 11.6 million kilometers (7.2 mil[...]

City-Parish Dept. of Environmental Services Engaging Baton Rouge Area Schools

Thu, 14 Apr 2016 00:00:00 CST

April 13, 2016For release: IMMEDIATELYFor more information contact:Karen Khonsari, Director of Environmental Services: (225) 389-3158Susan Boudreaux, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-5101 Scott Dyer, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-7957 Press Release City-Parish Dept. of Environmental Services Engaging Baton Rouge Area Schools Students to learn problem-solving and teamwork while exploring careers in engineering, technology, and environmental areas of City-Parish This morning, Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden announced his Department of Environmental Services has formally kicked off a school-based outreach program focused on engaging students across Baton Rouge. “This innovative new program will help our Department of Environmental Services team connect in meaningful ways with students who have an interest in STEM-related concepts while providing support to foster and grow their interests, complement their classroom education, and teach them about how these subjects are very much a part of the work we do on a daily basis to serve our entire Baton Rouge community,” said Mayor Holden. “In addition to the educational components of this program, we see it as a real opportunity to introduce students to the many career opportunities we have here at the City-Parish, and work hand-in-hand with them to fill our workforce pipeline for years to come.” Director of Environmental Services Karen Khonsari noted that the department is one of the largest within City-Parish government and provides to the public some of the City-Parish’s most visible and complex citizen services – ones that students, as well as all residents, interact with on a daily basis, making a program such as this an ideal platform from which to engage young people looking for ways to apply their interest in STEM subjects. “With all this department is responsible for, we know how critical it is to engage the minds of our youth and involve them in the work we do, both to educate students on core concepts associated with our work and introduce the variety of career opportunities available throughout our department that our team can help students work to achieve,” Khonsari said. To introduce this new program, Department of Environmental Services staff are visiting classrooms this week to provide an overview of their role within the department and present students with their first “assignment” – helping the department develop a logo and brand for the organization. Students will be able to submit their ideas and illustrations for potential DES logo options, with the winning design serving as the foundation and inspiration for the future brand of the department. Classroom presentations are scheduled to take place this week as listed below: • The Dunham School – April 13­ 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.• Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy – April 14­ 7:34 – 8:34 a.m.­ 8:38 – 9:38 a.m.­ 9:42 – 10:42 a.m.­ 10:46 a.m. – 12:17 p.m.­ 12:21 – 1:21 p.m.• Mentorship Academy – April 14­ 12:10 – 1:50 p.m.• Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy – April 15­ 8:38 – 9:38 a.m.“We’re very excited to see the ideas and concepts these students develop, and to be able to soon adopt a brand for our organization that is directly influenced by some of our community’s brightest and most creative young minds,” Khonsari said. In addition to this week’s classroom visits, the department’s school-based outreach will include a formal Adopt-A-School Program that will allow the department to have a broader reach in the education community through partnerships with elementary, middle, and high schools across Baton Rouge, as well as a student mentorship program to further build on these partnerships with students who self-identify as interested in science, technology, engineering, and math fields and schools that directly support these subjects. The department will pilo[...]

EBRP Communications District Board of Commissioners

Mon, 11 Apr 2016 00:00:00 CST


EBRP Communications District Board of Commissioners

Meeting Agenda

April 12, 2016 at 2:00

(from the office of: EMS)

Standard & Poor’s affirms Baton Rouge’s bond rating at AAA

Fri, 08 Apr 2016 00:00:00 CST

Mayor-President Melvin L. "Kip" Holden announced today that Standard & Poor’s Rating Services has affirmed its AAA bond rating for the City of Baton Rouge. AAA is the highest possible rating offered by S & P, and will apply to the three City-Parish sales tax-secured bond issues totaling $47 million.

The low-interest rate resulting from S&P and the city’s other bond rating today will save the City-Parish about $5 million by refinancing two bond issues totaling approximately $42 million. The third bond issue will finance improvements to airport parking garage and other repairs.

In an explanation of its rationale for the rating, S & P said Baton Rouge – which serves as a regional economic center for more than 800,000 people – has a diversified economy that has grown in recent years despite bad times in the local petrochemical industry.

“City officials indicate that the state's economic stress, driven in part by weakness in the oil and gas sector, has not had a marked effect on Baton Rouge's economy,” said the S & P report, noting that there has been a continued investment in the city's downtown core, health care sector, and residential and commercial development.

And the report noted that modest economic growth is expected to continue in the future.

“In our view, per capita retail sales are a very strong 161 percent of the national level, reinforcing Baton Rouge's role as a regional economic hub,” S & P said noted that East Baton Rouge Parish’s unemployment of 5.07 percent for 2014 was lower than both the state and U.S. rates of 6.4 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively.

The report noted that city officials have conservatively budgeted for a 1.5 percent sales tax revenue increase but noted that based on current trends, the actual growth will likely exceed the estimate.

Mayor Holden applauded the AAA rating, noting that it will mean continued low interest rates that will ultimately save taxpayers money on future bond issues

“We fiercely protect our bond rating because of its impact on our budgets, and we have worked to keep our local economy strong during even the most difficult economic times,” the Mayor said. “Our rating shows Wall Street's confidence that Baton Rouge is on the right track."

Baton Rouge has the only AAA sales tax rating in Louisiana, and there are less than 50 nationwide, according to Gordon King, the city’s financial advisor. He said the AAA rating is higher than the S&P’s rating for both the state of Louisiana and the United States government.

King credited the S&P rating in part to the vision of Mayor Holden and the leadership of the City-Parish Finance Department.

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

Baton Rouge film industry rolling in 2016

Fri, 08 Apr 2016 00:00:00 CST

2016 promises to be another active year for Baton Rouge’s film-making industry, according to Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden.

Mayor Holden said the Baton Rouge Film Commission is working with approximately a dozen projects that are very interested in filming in BR later this year.

That comes on top of several major feature films that have filmed or are currently filming in Baton Rouge. They include:

• Paramount Pictures’ Jack Reacher: Never Back Down, starring Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders (of How I Met Your Mother), filmed extensively in downtown BR in January.

• Beautifully Broken, a faith friendly, independent feature film based on a true story, is currently in production from local company, Film Incito.

• Camera Obscura, an independent feature film, is currently in production from New York-based ModernCine, starring Christopher Denham (from Argo).

• Gifted, an independent feature film, wrapped last week. It was the directorial debut of Bob Shaye, founder of the extremely successful studio, New Line Cinema. New Line is best known for releasing the Lord of the Rings franchise.

Schaye said his production’s experience in Baton Rouge was very favorable.

“The local talent pool and equipment availability were good,” Schaye said. “The cooperation with municipal building authorities was appreciated. The ease of shooting on location at night with the assistance of local police was valuable."

In addition, there are several television and cable projects that are being filmed in Baton Rouge, including:

• AMC’s non-fiction series, Ride, starring Norman Reedus (from Walking Dead) , was filmed in BR on March 16 and 17.

• A major reality series from NZK Productions was filmed here on March 7 and 8.

Last year, Baton Rouge was named the best small city in America to live and work as a filmmaker by Moviemaker Magazine. Baton Rouge placed third in the rankings for 2016.

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

Mayor Holden Appoints Baton Rouge Bicentennial Committee

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 00:00:00 CST

Actress Lynn Whitfield and Journalist Andre Moreau to Serve as Honorary Co-Chairs

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden has named a committee to help the City of Baton Rouge commemorate the 200th anniversary of its incorporation in 1817. Holden said he will task the committee with reaching out to the City’s arts, educational, cultural and entertainment programs this year to ask that they plan ways to welcome new visitors to Baton Rouge and educate residents about the City’s rich heritage.

“I would like to see us kick off a year-long celebration of all that is great about Baton Rouge at this year’s Red Stick Revelry event on New Year’s Eve,” Holden said, “and invite visitors to take a new look at Baton Rouge in 2017 and experience a place where people and culture have merged to build a vibrant Capital City.”

Holden said he has tapped Emmy Award winning actress Lynn Whitfield, star of the upcoming series Greenleaf on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and Emmy Award winning journalist Andre Moreau, news anchor at WAFB-TV, to serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Baton Rouge Bicentennial Committee.

Holden said he is inviting organizations like Visit Baton Rouge, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, the Arts Council and others to take a leadership role in planning ways to incorporate the bicentennial into existing educational and entertainment programs.

Members of the Baton Rouge Bicentennial Committee are:

• Paul Arrigo, Visit Baton Rouge

• Mary Stein, EBR Library

• Rene Chatelain, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge

• Fairleigh Jackson, Foundation for Historical Louisiana

• Adam Knapp, Baton Rouge Area Chamber

• Stacy Simon, Visit Baton Rouge

• Karron Alford, Visit Baton Rouge

• Davis Rhorer, Downtown Development District

• Kia Bickham, Office of the Mayor-President

• Rannah Gray, Red Stick Revelry

• Bishop Ivory Payne, The Weekly Press

• Eric Dexter, Forum 35 President

• Carolyn Bennett, community volunteer

• Dr. F. King Alexander, Louisiana State University

• Patricia Flood, Southern University

• Philip Smith, Baton Rouge Community College

• Carolyn McKnight, BREC

• John Sykes, Magnolia Mound Plantation

• Rebecca Hamilton, State Librarian

• Verdi Adam, community volunteer

• Melissa Eastin, EBR Library Archivist

• Faye Phillips, former archivist for LSU

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

BRPD vs BRFD Basketball Game, Friday, April 8th

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 00:00:00 CST

Baton Rouge Police Department vs Baton Rouge Fire Department Basketball Game on Friday, April 8th at 7 p.m. at 4000 St. Gerard Street (formerly Redemptorist High School Gym).


(from the office of: BRFD)

Red Stick 311 Smartphone and Web App

Wed, 09 Mar 2016 00:00:00 CST

Press ReleaseMayor Holden Announces Launch of Red Stick 311 Smartphone and Web AppNew tools provide direct connection between citizens and City-Parish government to request services and report issues in real-time and while “on the go” This morning, Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden announced the launch of Red Stick 311, a new web platform and smartphone app for both Apple and Android devices designed to provide easy-to-use tools for citizens to request government services and report service-related issues in real-time. Both the Red Stick 311 web platform and smartphone apps allow users to easily log requests for service, create online accounts to track the status of service requests, upload images that provide visual references as to the nature of the service request, and do so all from a computer or smartphone. In addition, the Red Stick 311 mobile app utilizes geolocation services to easily pinpoint the location from which a user is requesting service, allowing the City-Parish to then dispatch crews directly to that location and overlay the request with other work that may be ongoing in that area and potentially causing the request for service, such as road or sewer construction. “We live in a world that runs on technology, and because of this, there is an expectation for all devices, platforms, and applications to keep pace,” said Mayor Holden. “Here in Baton Rouge, we recognize that expectation and want to continue changing how government has traditionally interacted with citizens by now offering our 3-1-1 services as a web platform and smartphone application. Red Stick 311 takes our commitment to digital innovation and citizen service one step further by placing the power of requesting assistance or reporting issues in the palms of our citizens’ hands and in a way that is most convenient for them.” While residents are still able to utilize traditional means of requesting service or reporting issues by dialing 3-1-1 or using the after-hours call-in number, officials are encouraging residents to take advantage of these new tools given the additional information they can provide to call-takers and responding inspectors or crews, such as images about the severity of the issue being reported or the precise location at which the issue has occurred. “Our team at Information Services has been hard at work over the past several years to identify ways in which we can more easily connect citizens to government services, and engage residents in the daily operations of our City-Parish government in meaningful ways,” said Eric Romero, Interim Director of Information Services. “This Red Stick 311 initiative encompasses each of these goals and, through these new digital platforms and resources, provides citizens with yet another way to interact with government and request services in the way that is most convenient for them – from reporting a pothole and roadside drainage issues to requesting a signal study or traffic sign.” As part of the launch of these new tools and platform, the City-Parish has also developed a dynamic citizen self-help knowledge base, easily accessible from the Red Stick 311 homepage at This resource provides users with a wealth of anytime information and resources associated with common requests for service, with references to ordinances that govern how and to what extent issues or complaints are managed – ranging from how swimming pools are required to be maintained to identifying the process a citizen must go through in order to get a road striped or re-striped. The knowledge base ties into the web version of the Red Stick 311 platform, whereby citizens requesting service or reporting issues are automatically provided with knowledge base[...]

Parish Officials Cut Ribbon on Sullivan Road Project

Thu, 03 Mar 2016 00:00:00 CST

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Green Light Plan’s Sullivan Road project Thursday, March 3, at 10 a.m. in the project right-of-way area near First Baptist Church of Central, located at 9676 Sullivan Road, celebrating another Green Light Plan project to reach the end on the construction phase. This event was live-streamed using Periscope as part of Mayor-President Holden’s ongoing initiative to leveraging technology to engage with citizens in new and innovative ways.

“This project was essential due to the significant growth experienced in this area of our Parish, and with growth comes a corresponding need for supporting infrastructure,” Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden said. “The improvements included in the Sullivan Road project serve as a key catalyst in creating the additional capacity that is so desperately needed by commuters throughout the parish and residents of this area, and furthermore, are a great example of increasing the connectivity throughout the entire parish to truly form one Baton Rouge.”

The $25.8 million project construction project was awarded through the Parish to Baton Rouge-based J.B. James Construction, LLC. At a construction cost of $11.3 million, the project expanded Sullivan Road from the previously existing two-lane, undivided roadway to a four-lane roadway with a raised median from the Central Thruway to Wax Road. Several sharp curves were realigned through the project, helping to ensure safe and efficient traffic along this stretch of Sullivan Road.

Project improvements also included significant intersection upgrades along Sullivan Road, including additional turn lanes at both Sullivan Road at Lovett Road and Sullivan Road at Wax Road. Combined with other projects in the Green Light Plan, including the Central Thruway project, the new and improved Sullivan Road will now serve as a key connector roadway contributing toward an improved north-south corridor extending from Nicholson Drive to Hooper Road.

For more information, please visit the Green Light Plan website at

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

North Baton Rouge NOW Blue Ribbon Commission

Tue, 01 Mar 2016 00:00:00 CST

Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks will hold a press conference on Wednesday, March 2 at 10:00 a.m. at 222 St. Louis Street, 9th Floor in Council Chambers to announce the members of the #NBRNOW Blue Ribbon Commission.

The first announcement of the Commission was at a Town Hall Meeting several weeks ago held at The Offices of Champion Medical Center, located on Howell Place.

##NBRNOW Blue Ribbon Commission is a group of exceptional people appointed to study and recommend policy to address the scarcity in economic development and health care opportunities in and around North Baton Rouge,” said Banks.

The Commission’s purpose is to use their expertise to issue findings and/or strategies which can then be used by our governmental authorities to address the economic and healthcare disparities north of Florida Boulevard.

Banks stated, “We must ensure we have done all that we can to get the right people to provide the right answers in making recommendations for the future of the people who live, work and play in the northern part of our city.”

(from the office of: Public Info)

Community Forum

Fri, 26 Feb 2016 00:00:00 CST

Join Councilman LaMont Cole along with Louisiana State Senator Regina Barrow, Louisiana State Representative C. Denise Marcelle, and Louisiana State Representative Edward “Ted” James for a Community Forum on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 6pm at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, located 4000 Gus Young Avenue.

Featured speakers will address:

Criminal Justice, an update on the Status of Body Cameras for Police Officers, presented by Baton Rouge City Police Chief Carl Dabadie

Education, The Re-Opening of Istrouma High School

State Finances, An update on the Louisiana Budget presented by Representatives from The Office of Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, Louisiana Department of Revenue, Louisiana Department of Transportation, Louisiana Department of Justice, and the Office of Motor Vehicles

Refreshments will be served!

(from the office of: Public Info)

Live Video Streaming Application Periscope Connects Citizens to Public Events in Real-Time

Fri, 26 Feb 2016 00:00:00 CST

In line with an ongoing commitment to leveraging technology and digital tools to engage with citizens in innovative ways, Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden has recently begun working with the Department of Information Services to integrate platforms such as the live-streaming smartphone application Periscope into existing processes for transmitting real-time information and even coverage to interested residents or stakeholders.

Mayor Holden’s push to further utilize digital platforms like Periscope in support of daily government operations and enhanced citizen engagement follows an announcement by the Center for Digital Government in November 2015 recognizing Baton Rouge as a Top 10 Digital City among mid-sized cities.

“Over the past several years, my office has been hard at work identifying tools through which we can better engage citizens and give those who are interested in participating in the daily operations or planning efforts of our local City-Parish government the opportunity to do so,” said Mayor Holden. “Digital platforms such as Periscope provide citizens with a front-row seat for our public meetings and events and, moving forward, we are looking to expand how we use similar technologies to better engage Baton Rouge residents, businesses, and stakeholders in the environment that is most convenient for them.”

Recently, City-Parish staff have utilized Periscope to provide a live video stream for meetings such as a TramLinkBR public meeting held in late January and, just this week, a ribbon cutting event hosted by Mayor Holden commemorating the completion of the Green Light Plan’s Fairchild-Badley Improvements Project.

Next week, Mayor Holden will host two land-use planning public workshops for the TramLinkBR project that will be broadcast live on Periscope, and additional departments and agencies are already planning to use the platform to showcase additional opportunities for citizens to engage in similar planning efforts or public presentations.

To tune in, simply download the free Periscope application to your Apple or Android device and “follow” The City of Baton Rouge. From there, the platform will alert you in real-time when the City-Parish is live-streaming, along with a description of the meeting or event. Any videos that are streamed in real-time are also accessible for up to 24 hours on the app following the conclusion of the stream.

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

City-Parish Officials Cut Ribbon on Fairchild-Badley Improvements Project

Thu, 25 Feb 2016 00:00:00 CST

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Green Light Plan’s Fairchild-Badley Improvements project Feb. 25 in the project right-of-way area near Immaculate Conception Church at 1565 Curtis Street.

"We are here this morning to celebrate the completion of a much needed project that has improved a very important corridor for travelers who live, work, and play in Baton Rouge,” said Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden. “All across East Baton Rouge Parish, we are able to see the benefits of the Green Light Plan in action – from southeast Baton Rouge to downtown Baton Rouge, and from the cities of Zachary and Central to right here in north Baton Rouge. As we gather this morning, we are reminded of the progress we have made in reducing congestion and improving connectivity around East Baton Rouge Parish.”

This $7.5 Million project was awarded through the public bid process to JB James Construction, LLC to replace the previous narrow, two-lane, open ditch roadway from Scenic Highway to Veterans Memorial Boulevard with a two-lane curb and gutter roadway at a construction cost of $4.5 Million. Roadway improvements also extended to include 600 feet of Elm Grove Garden Drive, from the Fairchild-Badley Road at Elm Grove Garden Drive intersection north to the Elm Grove bridge, which tie into improvements previously made to Elm Grove Garden Drive through a separate Green Light Plan project.

The project also saw the addition of sidewalks along both sides of the roadway to allow for safer pedestrian access. The project also included key curb and gutter subsurface drainage improvements to support enhanced maintenance of the surrounding area and to increase the overall beautification of the roadway along Fairchild Street and Badley Road.

For more information, please visit the Green Light Plan website at

(from the office of: Mayor-President)

Baton Rouge Fire Department Once Again Gets Top Class 1 Rating

Mon, 14 Dec 2015 00:00:00 CST

Class 1 rating means property owners will continue to pay lowest possible premiums for their insurance

The Baton Rouge Fire Department (BRFD) has once again achieved a Class 1 rating, the highest rating issued by Property Insurance Association of Louisiana. The Class 1 rating means that the homes and businesses in the BRFD's jurisdiction will continue to pay the lowest possible premiums for their property insurance.

BRFD is one of 130 departments in the nation and one of four in Louisiana to achieve the highest rating that a fire department can receive. In 1979 BRFD became the first Fire Department in the United States to receive a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Service Office, Inc. (ISO), an independent rating organization for the property/casualty insurance industry. BRFD has retained the Class 1 rating for the past 35 years.

All U.S. fire departments are required to undergo the rating process every 5 years, which consists of many different factors, including but not limited to training, communications, manpower, response times, and continuing education.

In announcing the continuation of BRFD's top rating, Baton Rouge Fire Chief Ed Smith first credits the men and women of his department that risk it all everyday.

"Our fire department personnel continue to be the best of the best," Chief Smith said. "They deserve much of the credit for the professionalism they bring to the citizens of Baton Rouge day in and day out. I am honored to lead such a fine group of men and woman."

The Chief noted that the water company also plays a major role in the rating as it pertains to water supply and hydrant locations.

Chief Smith also credited Mayor Melvin L. "Kip" Holden and the Metro Council for providing the backing needed for his department to retain the highest possible rating.

"Training, manpower, and equipment all play a part in the rating, and the Mayor and Council have consistently supported the Fire Department as it strives to maintain its Class 1 rating," Chief Smith said.

Mayor Holden noted that Public Safety, including fire protection, has remained his top priority throughout his 11 years at the helm of City-Parish government.

"The top Class 1 rating is something that is easy to take for granted, until the unthinkable happens and you need BRFD to respond to an emergency," Mayor Holden. "We should all consider ourselves fortunate to live in a city with one of the top fire departments in the United States."

Baton Rouge is the only city in the State of Louisiana that is accredited or has a number one rating in the areas of fire protection, police protection, emergency medical services, and emergency preparedness.

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(from the office of: Public Info)

Sweazy appointed new director of City-Parish Office of Community Development

Mon, 24 Aug 2015 00:00:00 CST

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden has appointed Bradley Sweazy as the new director of the city-parish Office of Community Development (OCD).

Prior to his appointment, Sweazy had served as a consultant for the city-parish OCD, assisting with project management and oversight. He has more than 23 years experience working with federal housing programs and community development both in Louisiana and Kentucky.

Sweazy began his career as an on-site property manager for the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC), and took the property from 55 percent occupancy to 98 percent occupancy within 18 months. During that same period, the sales price of the property increased from $750,000 to $1.45 million.

That success led to a series of promotions for Sweazy at the KHC that included stints as chief program officer and chief information officer, when he managed 250 team members and helped increased the KHC’s national ranking from 33rd to 8th. As KHC’s chief officer, Sweazy helped to increase the agency’s success in increasing single-family homeownership by 30 percent.

Sweazy came to Louisiana in April 2008 as program manager for the newly created Louisiana State Housing Corporation, and was charged with the management of the agency’s transition from the former Louisiana Housing Finance Agency. In the first year, he was instrumental in helping the LHC reduce costs and increase revenues so the agency realized a profit of over $2 million. As a result, he helped to restore the agency’s homebuyer program that had been off-line for 18 months.

At the LHC, Sweazy oversaw hundreds of millions in federal disaster Community Development Block Grants, $20 million in homeowner rehabilitation, and over than $1 billion in rental production. As a result, he was recognized by HUD for best practices.

In his new position as director for the City-Parish Office of Community Development, Sweazy will oversee a number of local programs to improve existing housing and develop new housing opportunities for persons of low to moderate income in East Baton Rouge Parish.

(from the office of: Mayor-President)