Inherit Baton Rouge is a newly formed division of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana (FHL) designed to engage professionals and students under 35 who are devoted to the preservation of the cultural and historical character of Baton Rouge. Inherit Baton Rouge’s mission is to inspire its members to take an interest in the city’s treasures and invest in its heritage. FHL accomplishes this initiative through education on historic preservation and several cultural and social events. Learn more at the Foundation for Historical Louisiana's website.
Written by Leigh Danielle Honeycutt
Huey Long, perhaps Louisiana’s most famous (and infamous) governor, was not known as a preservationist. That is, until now. In 1929, Huey petitioned the state legislature to appropriate money to build a newer, nicer governor’s mansion for his family. They denied his request. Being the rogue that he was, he took matters into his own hands and in the middle of the night arranged for inmates from the local prison to “deconstruct” the home. Once the former mansion was demolished, the legislature had no choice but to apportion him money to rebuild an executive residence.
Construction began immediately on what we came to know as Louisiana’s White House since Huey commissioned the mansion be a smaller replica of the Washington, DC White House. Huey was so confident that he would one day become President, he wanted to make sure he knew his way around once he took office. Complete with an East Room, Oval Office, Rose Garden and West Wing, the mansion was finished in an eager twelve months.
Huey, known for bringing his resident bartender along on out-of-town trips to mix up his favorite Ramos Gin Fizz drink, seemed like the perfect fit for our Inherit Baton Rouge kick-off event. The Huey LongNeck Historic Pub Crawl was held on April 7, 2011 and began at Huey’s House: the Old Governor’s Mansion, also the preservation headquarters for the Foundation for Historical Louisiana. An astounding 275 attendees came out and participated in pub crawl activities throughout the evening at several bars in downtown Baton Rouge including The Roux House, Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant, Red Star Bar and Happy’s Irish Pub.
At each bar, organizers polled the pub crawl participants with historic trivia and prizes were awarded. One of the prizes was a weekend stay graciously donated by the comeback King Hotel just re-opened in downtown Baton Rouge, an historical landmark where Huey often stayed. The pub crawl was a chance for younger citizens to socialize and learn about opportunities to revitalize the community through preservation. Inherit Baton Rouge plans to continue social and service events to connect its members with the organization’s mission. Who knew Huey would become such a local preservation icon? No one, that is, until now.
Watch this great video produced by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana about the relevance of historic buildings and neighborhoods as we move into the future:
Leigh Danielle Honeycutt is the Deputy Director of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana.