Arts Council organizes performances for displaced hurricane victims 

The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge is pitching in to make life a little brighter for the displaced victims of Hurricane Ida sheltering at the Raising Cane’s River Center.

For more than a week now, some 300 storm victims have been staying at the shelter, which was set up by the state and is staffed by the Red Cross.

In recent days, the Arts Council has begun organizing daily entertainment for those at the shelter provided by local performing artists.

Thursday brought a puppet show for kids. Today, Keith “Cartoonman” Douglas is performing. Saturday, a Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra quartet is scheduled to play.

“We coordinated with the Red Cross to see how we could provide some solace to these people who have been displaced by the hurricane and, in some cases, have lost everything,” says Arts Council Executive Director Renee Chatelain. “Dinner begins at 5 p.m. so we have scheduled these performances for 4 p.m., as people are starting to wind down their day.”

The arts council is paying the artists with Creative Relief funds it has raised primarily from local donors.  

Next week, as children in parishes severely impacted by the hurricane begin a third week out of school, Chatelain says the arts council is planning to begin sending in a series of teaching artists, who can provide some educational content to storm victims.

“This will continue as long as people are in the shelters,” she says. 

The Arts Council, which quietly moved into its new headquarters in the Cary Saurage Community Arts Center in mid August, is also offering support to artists from the Bayou Parishes, which were devastated by the storm.

“A lot of artists in those areas lost their studios so we are doing whatever we can to help them,” Chatelain says. “There is also funding available if you know how to tap into it.”