With emergency personnel filling hotels, LSU football fans turn to other options

The Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge (File photo)

This Saturday marks the start of what is normally a busy time for Baton Rouge-area hotels—LSU home football games. But with some hotels completely booked with evacuees and emergency personnel responding to Hurricane Ida, where will fans stay?

Based on what is right for the community and the governor’s recent orders, Nathaniel Tannehill, general manager at the Renaissance Hotel, says the hotel will not ask anyone to leave. Instead, Tannehill and his team reached out to those with reservations in advance, and most are changing their reservations to a later date or canceling. 

More fans are staying with family, friends or driving back and forth without spending nights in Baton Rouge, he says. 

As for the impact on the hotel, he says he and his team are simply trying to deal with all of the evacuees and emergency personnel already there. The Renaissance continues to be close to or sold out every day. 

All individual reservations at Crowne Plaza have been canceled through the end of the month due to relief efforts and the number of first responders the hotel is housing, says General Manager Scott Michelet.
“It is a big season,” he says, “but we’re also at full capacity right now. So financially, we’re doing OK.”

Airbnbs are an alternative for fans looking to stay in Baton Rouge. According to Airbnb’s website Thursday morning, there are only six stays left in the city’s vicinity, two which are in New Roads and Maurepas.

It is an unusual week, says Paul Arrigo, CEO and president of Visit Baton Rouge, because LSU is playing McNeese. He does not expect as many alumni from around the country to head to Baton Rouge for this game, compared to larger matchups like Auburn or Florida. 

There will be an impact, he says, since some people will not spend as much time as they normally would in the city. They will not be here as long and will have less opportunity to spend money. 

However, nearly every hotel in the city is booked, he says, and while those emergency personnel and evacuees will not necessarily be visiting attractions, they are going to local restaurants.

“The economic impact will be positive,” Arrigo says. “It’s not something I’m necessarily pleased about, because we’d much rather not go through this, but restaurants and hotels will be feeling a positive impact.