Hundreds wait for tickets to see President Obama in Baton Rouge

Hundreds wait for tickets to see President Obama in Baton Rouge
Source: Gerron Jordan/WAFB
Source: Gerron Jordan/WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hundreds of people braved overnight and early morning temperatures Tuesday for a ticket to see President Barack Obama during his historic trip to Baton Rouge later in the week.

A crowd lined up outside the McKinley High Alumni Center starting Monday evening to get tickets for the president's speaking event at McKinley High on Thursday.

Tickets were free, but limited. They were handed out starting at 9 a.m. and all tickets were gone by 10:15 a.m.

"This is the only opportunity we have to see the President while he's in office, in Baton Rouge, so I wouldn't miss it for life," said Aaron Moses, who waited in line since 7:30 p.m. Monday.

"We've seen him in different places. The inauguration in DC, we were there. So we have to come here and finish off his presidency," said Jennifer Elliott.

Despite the long hours and near freezing temperatures, those fortunate enough to get their hands on one of the limited tickets say the wait was worth it.

"I'm so happy," exclaimed one Baton Rouge woman. "I've never seen him and I'm 89 years old and this is a treat to me."

"It's amazing to see the President of the United States. Regardless of your politics, he's the President of the United States and we're so happy to be here Thursday in our home state of Louisiana," said another ticket holder.

When the tickets ran out, so did luck for the hundreds of people turned away.

"I'm about to cry," said one woman. "We got right at the door and they said no more tickets."

Turned away, but their spirits not turned down. The students of Democracy Prep didn't get tickets, but were grateful for the experience.

"We really want to give our kids the experience of being engaged in something like this knowing what a big deal it is for the President to visit Baton Rouge," said Michelle Gieg, executive director of Democracy Prep. "We wanted them to experience what it's all about."

For hundreds, what it's all about, regardless of politics, is history.

"I'm just excited to be part of history and he's coming to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. So I can say I was here."

Tickets were free, but limited. They were handed out starting at 9 a.m. and all tickets were gone by 10:15 a.m.

The White House did not disclose the number of tickets that were made available to the public.

Obama will speak Thursday around 9:45 a.m.

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board issued the following statement regarding the limited number of McKinley High students allowed to attend the event:

The setup and seating allotments were provided to the district by the White House. All of our students will have the opportunity to view the historic visit through the live feed available at We are working with the technology department staff to ensure all schools have access to the feed.

At Tuesday's monthly "Lunch with the Supe" event, EBR Superintendent Warren Drake opened up about what he hopes local students take away from the president's visit to Baton Rouge.

"I want the kids to understand that everybody has a future. No matter where you are at this moment in your life, you have a future, and the future goes through education," said Drake. "With the president coming to a public high school, it speaks volumes to the 42,000 students we have in our district to say education is the key. It's number one in whatever you do, and we're going to help our students get there, but it's very critical."

After his speech at McKinley High, Drake said the president will stay on campus to "do Twitter" in the school for about an hour.

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