LT. GOV.MITCH LANDRIEU OPENS CAPITOL PARK WELCOME CENTER AND CELEBRATES 2006 LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL -- 010/26/2006
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2006
LT. GOV.MITCH LANDRIEU OPENS CAPITOL PARK WELCOME CENTER AND CELEBRATES 2006 LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL
Saturday, October 28, 2006 banner day for tourism in the Capitol City $4.7 million Welcome Center adds to revitalization of downtown Baton Rouge 4th Annual Louisiana Book Festival expected to draw record crowds
Baton Rouge, LA - On Saturday, October 28, 2006, the Lt. Governor and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism will host an opening ceremony for two major events in Baton Rouge: the much-anticipated opening of the Capitol Park Welcome Center, and the state's annual world-class literary celebration, the 2006 Louisiana Book Festival.
"The annual Louisiana Book Festival brings people into Baton Rouge's Capitol Park to celebrate Louisiana authors and books," Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu said. "Our new Welcome Center, a $4.7 million dollar top-of-the-line facility, will give everyone, tourists and residents alike, another reason to visit Baton Rouge and fuel this city's downtown renaissance."
The Capital Welcome Center is an impressive 12,000 square-foot multi-purpose facility, equipped with a state-of-the-art theatre, a caterer's kitchen, a large outdoor patio, and a scale model of the State Capitol Complex and Grounds. One of 13 Welcome Centers around the state, the new facility also houses satellite offices of the Louisiana Folk Life Commission, the Office of State Parks and the Office of Tourism.
Angele Davis, Secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said she believes the Welcome Center will become a Capitol City landmark. "Over 78,000 people visit the Capitol Park area yearly. We expect this multi-million dollar facility to increase local and tourist traffic downtown and give a boost to the continuing downtown Baton Rouge Renaissance," she said.
Chuck Morse, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, said the building was designed for broad use. "We wanted the Welcome Center to be a wonderful resource and information center for visitors to the State Capitol, but we also envisioned the facility as one more downtown location where Baton Rouge residents could hold meetings, receptions or community events," he said.
On Saturday, in walking distance from the Capitol Welcome Center, will be one of the state's premier community events, the 2006 Louisiana Book Festival. Children and adult booklovers will have an opportunity to meet more than 100 celebrated writers and poets who will conduct panel discussions and more intimate book "chats" at various locations within walking distance of the state capitol. In it's 4th year, the book festival offers a variety of book-related activities, exhibitions, and demonstrations, as well as local food and music.
Secretary Davis said this year's program is a crowd-pleaser. "At this year's book festival, we offer the reader an opportunity to meet a variety of the world's most distinguished, popular, and entertaining writers," she said. "From Andre Codrescu to Ernest Gaines to Chef John Folse, we have something for everyone."
State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton agreed. "We work to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for all booklovers," she said. "We'd like everyone to experience the thrill of talking to an author in person."
This year, the 2006 Louisiana Book Festival hopes to extend that thrill to children by providing age-appropriate and fun activities related to books. The Book Festival has built a Young Readers Pavilion, five tents that offer storytelling, writing projects, book-related crafts, face painting and photo opportunities. Clifford the Big Red Dog, Franklin the Turtle and other costumed characters will roam the pavilion during festival hours.
For more information on the 2006 Louisiana Book Festival, please visit www.state.lib.la.us