A new events center is planned for Jefferson Highway, near the intersection of Antioch Road.
Michael McDowell, a local organist, says he saw a need for a neighborhood center and started exploring the idea of opening his own events space in the summer of 2021.
“As the organist, I go to a ton of weddings,” McDowell says. “I was saddened by the wedding reception market in Baton Rouge.”
Along with wedding receptions, he hopes the space—to be called Aurora Park—can be useful to local organizations. There are currently no comparable event spaces in District 9, McDowell says, and he has seen local homeowners associations book rooms in libraries out of the district.
He has requested that two lots at the corner of Jefferson Highway and Alder Drive that are under contract for purchase be approved for a conditional use permit, which will be considered by the Planning Commission at its July meeting.
If approved, he plans to demolish the existing buildings on the property and to begin construction on the 10,000-square-foot facility over the summer.
He expects construction to take a year and aims for a January 2025 opening.
“It will be similar to a civic center but with more firepower,” McDowell says.
See the Planning Commission’s full preliminary July agenda.