Farewell, Lady Bellemont: Former 5 Star Baton Rouge Hotel Demolished

6a00e54ee90d2488340128766c165f970cThe Bellemont Hotel on Airline Highway weathered a great deal of evolution and change in Baton Rouge in the intervening years between its 1946 opening and the gradual decommissioning of its various internal spaces in the middle of the 21st Century’s first decade.

In that gloriously nostalgic era in which Florida Boulevard was Baton Rouge’s main drag, the Bellemont was a place where magical things happened: longtime rivals to LSU, Alabama’s Crimson Tide, celebrated their narrow football victory over the Tigers by attempting to abscond from the hotel with 85 different items from the Bellemont’s linen collection, including towels, pillowcases, and bed sheets; Orson Welles lodged there during the filming of The Long Hot Summer in 1957, and his poolside photo was published in The Advocate; throughout the 1960s, “Catfish Bill” Carrigan hosted his radio broadcasts from behind a large window in the hotel so that guests and other curious individuals could watch him operate his turntables. And, one magical morning in 1996, yours truly—age 9—met the wonderful George Takei at my first and only Star Trek convention in the hotel’s Great Hall Convention Center.

The days when movie stars could be seen wandering the halls and musical celebrities could be found lounging around the Bellemont’s pool are long gone now, and, with the hotel’s recent demolition, those halcyon days are gone forever.

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