BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Visitation is underway for Hotelier Francis Grayson who died Friday.
Visitation is taking place today April 23 until 6 p.m. at Hall Davis and Sons Funeral Service, 9348 Scenic Highway, in Baton Rouge. That will be followed by a repast at the Lyceum, 124 Third Street, at 6:30 p.m. The repast is open to the public.
On Thursday, April 24, visitation will be held at Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church, 3155 Victoria Drive, in Baton Rouge from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. followed by funeral services at 11 a.m.
Grayson died after a long illness. He was 53. He was the general manager at Hotel Indigo in downtown Baton Rouge.
His business partner says the phone hasn't stopped ringing at the hotel, but he is still in shock over the death of his friend.
"I was telling someone my wife is my better half, but he was my other half," says Gayle Carnahan who along with Grayson operated a hospitality management company called Nu Vieux. "He was always there. We kind of formed a balance that's why I say he was my other half."
Grayson was a familiar smiling face at some of Baton Rouge's nicest hotels. He had worked as general manager of Hotel Indigo since it opened in 2011. Prior to that he worked to open the Belle of Baton Rouge and the Sheraton Hotel. His career began some 30 years prior at what is now the Ramada Inn.
He could often be found overseeing events at the Lyceum Ballroom and the Kress Building. He was also a fierce advocate for the revitalization of Downtown Baton Rouge, and spent many of his days working to improve the area.
In 2012 Grayson told WAFB's Michelle McCalope that he got into the service industry by accident working as a restaurant server. The Monroe native attributed his success to the values his parents and grandparents taught him such as working hard and getting a good education.