OUT TO LUNCH finds Baton Rouge Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel combining her hard news journalist skills and food background: conducting business over lunch. Baton Rouge has long had a storied history of politics being conducted over meals, now the Capital Region has an equivalent culinary home for business: Mansur’s. Each week Stephanie holds court over lunch at Mansur’s and invites members of the Baton Rouge business community to join her. You can also hear the show on WRKF 89.3FM.
Being a mid-sized city in the deep south, you don’t think of Baton Rouge as necessarily being a center for the performing arts. But there is a lot of hidden talent in this town, doing really impressive things on the stage – and at local birthday parties!
Jenny Ballard is the managing artistic director of Theater Baton Rouge. Jenny began her career in Tennessee and came to Baton Rouge after several years in local theater there to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts. After completing the program, she joined Theater Baton Rouge in 2014, and in the three years since has helped lead the company through many successful productions, a huge capital campaign and efforts to grow the company’s volunteer base and its education programs.
Venessa Lewis is also in the performing arts arena, though she’s more likely to show up at a kiddie birthday party or a swimming pool. Venessa is the Louisiana Mermaid, complete with a fully functional mermaid costume that she wears for public appearances. Venessa also owns the Petite Princess Company, which rents out princesses for birthdays and other events.
This Out to Lunch conversation is more bubbly than champagne but the women behind these two theatrical companies are all substance.