Baton Rouge makes impression with Miss USA 2014 pageant

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge rocked the national stage during a three-hour national telecast of Miss USA 2014.

The event put the spotlight on the Capital City's culture, cuisine, and future.

The glitz, the glamour, and the gorgeous gowns lit up Baton Rouge. Those who watched the Miss USA 2014 pageant found it hard to take their eyes off the screen. The city was in the national spotlight for the three hour production, which featured a taste of the ladies' experience. IPO restaurant was featured for its Louisiana spread.

"It's huge. You can't buy that kind of press. Any time that comes along whether national magazine or television you jump on it," Executive Chef Scott Varnedoe said.

Varnedoe said cooking for some of the most beautiful and fit women in the country can be tricky.

"You want them to enjoy the food but you've got to be aware of their diet but it worked out. We were all happy, all ate. They eat more than you think they do," Varnedoe said.

The music and the food were a hit, but Baton Rouge also offered something you can't necessarily put a price on.

"The Baton Rouge hospitality was out there in full force. The contestants, the production all said how wonderful the city was and how welcoming we were to them," Katie Guasco said.

Katie Guasco, Communications Director for Visit Baton Rouge, said businesses rolled out the welcome mat. She said the hotels were packed solid. The crowds spilled into local restaurants which were ready and waiting to dish a delectable cuisine. Baton Rouge ate it up.

"Downtown and citywide we're experiencing higher numbers than usual," Guasco said.

It's back to the chopping block for Chef Varnedoe but he said it is an experience he won't soon forget.

"We saw an impact on a Sunday where we normally wouldn't be, and we added a day on during the week that we normally wouldn't to our business and it was quite nice," Varnedoe said.

The girls are gone, but locals hope the impression they made on the Capital City is lasting.

Economic impact numbers are expected later this week.