$2.3M could go towards upgrades at Raising Cane’s River Center

Members of the EBR Metro Council could decide on Wednesday, Sept. 21, to send millions of dollars to the Raising Cane's River Center for improvements.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Members of the East Baton Rouge Metro Council could decide to send millions of dollars to the Raising Cane’s River Center for improvements.

So what updates are needed and why?

“So, we had an R&B show, next show coming up is country, the show coming up after that is classic rock with Garry Allan with the Beach Boys, then we come back with John Mulaney and comedy,” said Wayne Hodes, the general manager of the Raising Cane’s River Center.

The facility opened back in 1977. Hodes says it’s in desperate need of some upgrades in order to keep up with the times.

“The hope is that the money will go towards creating additional events,” he added.

City-parish officials will consider setting aside $2.3 million for improvements at the Raising Cane’s River Center. City officials say that money is already earmarked for such projects.

Hodes says the money would go towards helping them with their upcoming hockey games, getting a new scoreboard, infrastructure updates like video cameras, and a new basketball court.

“So, that would also enhance our chances of getting the state high school boys’ and girls’ tournaments. Potentially, college tournaments, possibly a (New Orleans) Pelicans exhibition game, which I’ve had conversations about and there is interest there,” he explained.

The max capacity for the arena is about 10,300 people.

Compare that to the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, which can hold more than 17,000 people. Or the Cajundome in Lafayette, which can seat about 13,500 people for a concert.

“Certainly, the Cajundome would be, if we can get the same type of capacity and the same type of amenities, being the suites and other things, I think we could very easily, you know, secure the entertainers that might be going there than here,” noted Hodes.

Besides the extra funding request, they are also doing a huge facility market study which is expected to take six months.

Officials are hopeful that the study can uncover new ways that the River Center can bring entertainment to Baton Rouge.

But even after the study is completed, folks with the River Center will need to find additional funding for any potential construction projects the study may recommend.

“There’s only so much we can do with the capacity that we have, and there’s so much you can do with relationships, which are great,” he said. And we can still operate but what we’ll need to find out from this RFP process, is is this the right fit for this Baton Rouge market, whether it be the capacities, or the amenities, or what have you?”

It may just take some time before you see a lot of A-list celebrities in Baton Rouge until the facility is more up-to-date.

“There’s a reason that Baton Rouge is the state capital. At the end of the day, we just need to make sure that everything is equal in terms of what other communities offer,” added Hodes.

Wednesday’s Metro Council meeting starts at 4 p.m.

CLICK HERE to view upcoming events at the River Center.

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