Will Baton Rouge be crowned again?

Will Baton Rouge be crowned again?
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It seems East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden is ready to once again don his sash and compete for the honor of hosting Miss USA.

While the pageant's location and date have not been announced, Holden has requested that the Metro Council pull $230,000 from the city's general fund to pay for expenses related to hosting the event.

"I think it's a good use of city funds. I think anytime you have an opportunity to have a return on an investment that not only gives Baton Rouge economic exposure but brings the event here at the local level," said Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker

Last year's pageant was broadcast to millions of people, putting as much a spotlight on baton rouge as it did the 51 contestants.

According to Visit Baton Rouge, the economic impact of the competition could be valued around $20 million, packing local hotels and restaurants. While the mayor declined to make any comments about the request, several council members say the pageant is an investment they'd make again. 

"You talk about running government like a business. This is what businesses do. Businesses advertise. This is advertising for Baton Rouge, but it's giving us the opportunity to advertise on a worldwide scale," said Councilman John Delgado.

"Watching that pageant to say 'hey, Baton Rouge is on the map.' They have the capacity to hold that event, and they may consider us for other events. That's really what we want," said Wicker.

The council members WAFB spoke with also said the city is in good standing financially and can afford to try and lure the crown back to the Red Stick.

"Last year's revenues exceeded our expectations, so there should be enough money in the general fund to apply to this," said Delgado.

According to the mayor's office, an additional $50,000 would come from the mayor's economic development fund.

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