Emergent Method recommended to assist with DDD director search

An aerial photo of downtown Baton Rouge. (Stock photo)

The DDD Commission Executive Committee today recommended Emergent Method as the third-party consulting firm to assist the board in its search to replace Davis Rhorer, the longtime executive director who died in March.

The committee chose between proposals from Emergent Method, SSA Consulting and Pinson and Associates, with Emergent Method receiving the most votes. 

Besides a detailed proposal, chairwoman Melanie Montanaro says Emergent Method’s resources will aid in moving the search forward. 

“They have a downtown headquarters and are invested in downtown,” Montanaro says.

Emergent Method’s proposal, similar to the others, gave a three- to six-month time frame to identify the best candidates, though Montanaro says the window will be extended because of necessary “administrative decisions.”

Besides Montanaro, the committee of DDD commission board members include Eric Dexter, Jude Melville and Prescott Bailey. They will recommend the hiring of Emergent Method to the full board at a meeting that could happen as soon as next week. If OK’d, the decision then goes to the parish attorney for final approval.

Other items discussed at Tuesday’s DDD meeting include:

  • The DDD’s 2022 budget request will be voted on in November.
  • Chelsea’s Live, opening in 1010 Nic, has begun booking live music performances for December.
  • Downtown hotel occupancy is back above 2019 and 2020 numbers, says Karron Alford, director of marketing and technology at Visit Baton Rouge, though some of that increase is due to Hurricane Ida emergency personnel and evacuees.
  • CATS is working on a downtown circulator to replace the Capitol Park Trolley, which ceased operations prior to COVID-19. The circulator will include two 30-foot electric buses that will run a new route through downtown, from the River Center to Capitol Lake, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
  • Ordinances to allow commercial pedal carriages in Baton Rouge were passed by the Metro Council. Routes for the carriages must now be approved by the Taxicab Control Board, which may happen in the next month and a half.