Hotels are hard to come by for the start of football season because of Hurricane Ida

The Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge says they have had to cancel bookings to accommodate first...
The Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge says they have had to cancel bookings to accommodate first responders.(WAFB)
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 4:16 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There is nothing like a good football season, and with fewer COVID-19 restrictions more folks are pouring into the capital city. However, there’s just one problem, after Hurricane Ida hotel rooms are scarce.

“Normally, we would be near 90% capacity of just LSU fans plus other businesses that we have in house, right now it’s none because of the restoration and first responders that we have right now,” says Scott Michelet who is the general manager of the Crowne Plaza and is the president of The Baton Rouge Lodging Association.

Michelet says the last time hotel rooms were this booked up was Hurricane Katrina, “Well it’s been kind of difficult currently this month due to the restoration and rebuilding of Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas because of Hurricane Ida. So, the bookings for LSU football games, most of them had to be canceled by the hotels to take care of the restoration.”

As hotel bookings go up during football season, restaurants and bars are finally seeing customers return close to pre-pandemic levels. However, as Paul Arrigo with Visit Baton Rouge explains, other local businesses are having a hard time capitalizing on the crowds.

“The hurricane comes, our hotels are filled, the restaurants are doing fine, the hotels are fine. The attractions are not because the person that is staying in the hotel right now, the contractor etc. is not interested in the attractions as much as a leisure traveler or even a conventioneer,” says Arrigo.

Governor John Bel Edwards did make a proclamation that hotels must continue to house first responders. That ordinance is supposed to end next Friday, September 24. From there it’s a waiting game to see if that order will be extended.

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