One thing you hear a lot from people who come to Baton Rouge after having been a way for awhile is how different it is. How much the city has grown, improved, and special mention is most often made about the rebirth of downtown and revitalization in other up and coming neighborhoods. All this redevelopment didn t happen by accident. There has been a lot of planning over the past 25 years to bring not only downtown, but areas like Mid City, the Perkins Road overpass area, and Old Goodwood back to life. Stephanie s guests on Out to Lunch have been at the forefront of this effort. Davis Rhorer is the executive director of the Downtown Development District, a post he has held since the organization was founded in 1987. Davis has overseen the implementation of two major land use plans for downtown, Plan Baton Rouge and Plan Baton Rouge II. Davis has been a tireless advocate for the city s historic center during the development of signature projects like the Shaw Center for the Arts and the IBM complex, the Third Street Entertainment Corridor and the redevelopment of dozens of old office buildings into chic new apartment complexes. Boo Thomas is a key figure in the planning and development of not only of downtown but of the entire region. Boo is the executive director of CPEX the Center for Planning Excellence. CPEX is a nonprofit organization that coordinates urban, rural and regional planning efforts in Louisiana by providing best practice planning models, innovative policy ideas, and technical assistance to individual communities. Since its founding in 2006, CPEX has been involved with the planning efforts of more than 20 Louisiana cities, towns and parishes. Dustin Sutton and he is the founder of Geaux Downtown BR, which promotes downtown culture, nightlife, festivals and events and social media platforms. Dustin is a Baton Rouge native, who graduated from LSU in 2009. After traveling the world, he came back to his hometown and started taking pictures of the happening stuff he found downtown, and his pro Geaux movement snowballed. Yes, Baton Rouge has changed, and is changing. These three folks are part of the reason for the change and emblematic of the city s exciting though not unplanned future direction. Photos at Mansurs on the Boulevard by Ken Stewart.
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