The Baton Rouge River Center, a Louisiana convention and meeting venue with 200,000 square feet of function space, has been transformed into a relief center in the wake of flooding that left thousands homeless in Baton Rouge in August (see photo at right). The center and surrounding hotels were not directly impacted by the flooding that killed 13 people and damaged 60,000 homes, so government officials implemented an evacuation and temporary respite plan that turned the facility into the city’s hub for relief efforts.
No events were taking place at the venue when the city flooded, though two were scheduled for the near future and have been relocated to other cities. Officials say they expect the River Center to continue being used as a relief center and temporary lodging facility until October, after which its normal operations will resume. Baton Rouge River Center is a historic district of downtown Baton Rouge that sits next to the Mississippi River. The downtown area was largely spared during the flooding event, and officials do not expect it to have a long-lasting effect on the city’s travel and tourism industry.