When Baton Rouge’s two favorite past times—LSU football and state politics—collide on the same day, is there any hope of actually getting work done?
In a word, no.
Between the inauguration this morning at the State Capitol and the daylong party in New Orleans leading up to tonight’s championship game between LSU and Clemson, most local businesses—though technically open—are operating with limited staff.
Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp says most of BRAC’s staff is in the office this morning, but he knows of several large Baton Rouge companies hosting tailgate parties this afternoon in New Orleans, which means many of their employees won’t be at their desks today.
Baker Donelson, a national law firm with offices in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, is among them. The firm’s New Orleans office will be hosting a pregame party from 4-7 p.m. for all its clients in town for the event. About half the Baton Rouge office will be there for it, too, says managing partner Phyllis Cancienne.
“We’re technically open today,” says Cancienne, who was getting on the road mid-morning to head down to the Crescent City. “But I don’t think too much will be going on.”
Jones Walker, which also has offices in both cities, isn’t hosting a big pregame event, as it did in 2011, the last time LSU played in a national championship game. But the law firm is closing its New Orleans office at 3 p.m. and its Baton Rouge offices at 4 p.m.
Local marketing firm Otey White and Associates is open but only about half its staff is in the office today. White, himself, chartered a bus for some three dozen associates, friends, family and employees. They were headed to New Orleans shortly before 9 a.m. and will return after the game tonight.
“We do work all around the country so we have to be open today,” White says. “But we gave people the opportunity to take off if they wanted.”
While not all companies were able to be so flexible with their employees today, commercial real estate broker Mark Hebert says they should be because no one is paying attention to business, whether they’re technically working or not.
“We should all be closed today,” says Hebert, who is taking off to go to the game, even though his offices are open. “If I was working, it would be impossible to get anything done. All I’d be wanting to do is go to lunch to talk about the game.”