Baton Rouge launches inaugural New Year’s celebration

Red Stick Revelry

New York City drops a crystal ball; in New Orleans, it’s a fleur-de-lis. For the first time, Baton Rouge will mark the start of 2014 with, what else, a red stick.

The official celebration, Red Stick Revelry, will culminate at midnight at North Boulevard Town Square when the slightly-more-than nine-foot stick descends 30 feet down the square’s media beacon. A fireworks show will accompany the ceremony.

Event organizer Rannah Gray said a group got the idea for Red Stick Revelry when Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden took the oath of office in the then-recently-opened North Boulvard Town Square just a few minutes into 2013.

“About 100 people were down there, and we thought that, with all the other people downtown on New Year’s Eve now, we could use an official celebration,” Gray said.

“We proposed to the mayor what we could do this year and then expand to down the road,” she said. “This could turn into some great traditions.”

The group raised private funds to have the red stick specially designed for the drop, with the sponsors agreeing to donate the art piece to city. Sarah Powell, of Compose Digital Design, took on the job, incorporating the words “Baton Rouge” into the piece.

“We wanted it to be something that would become identifiable with our city,” Gray said. “It’s really a clean, kind of iconic design.”

Gibko Signs, Bunkie, used Powell’s design to construct the red stick.

“We wanted a really bright, LED light that would stand out.” Gibkko used engineering drawings in order to build the stick to fit onto the existing beacon, Gray said.

The raising of the red stick will be part of Red Stick Revelry’s midday activities on Tuesday.

“We’ll have some family-friendly activities during the day for just about an hour,” Gray said.

Friday night, six judges will choose an official cocktail for the celebration during a contest at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel Atrium.

The winning recipe, along with the other entries, will be make available through social media and Gray said she expects a lot of downtown establishments will be serving it that night.

In addition, “Red Stick Revelry” is also an official song written by Wendell Woods and performed by the band Phat Hat, who will be playing at the New Year’s Eve event as well. The song, with an accompanying video, is available on iTunes and will air on the beacon in Town Square throughout the holidays. Other commemorative items include T-shirts and a custom designed pewter pendant and lapel pin.

Those staying in on New Year’s can catch a broadcast of the Red Stick Drop at Town Square 11:35 p.m.-12:05 a.m. on WAFB, Channel 9 (cable Channel 7).

Red Stick Revelry Events

Cocktail Contest: 7 p.m. Friday, Belle of Baton Rouge Casino Atrium. Baton Rouge mixologists will compete for a panel of celebrity judges to choose the winning cocktail for the 2013 celebration. The Rockin’ Dopsie concert follows at 8 p.m.

Tuesday, New Year’s Eve (North Boulevard Town Square)

11 a.m.-noon:

Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and local artists offer hands-on activities for kids on the Town Square lawn.

Robby Wilson, assistant director of the Louisiana Book Festival, will perform the “Legend of the Red Stick,”a story for all ages that tells how the city of Baton Rouge got its name.

Steve Hood with Geaux Body Fitness Studio will provide free lessons to learn the “Red Stick Revelry” line dance and a warm-up routine to the official song.

Noon, Mayor Holden and others will lead participants in singing “Auld Lang Syne” for “Red Stick Rising,” the raising of the Red Stick 30 feet above the beacon in preparation for its midnight drop.

9 p.m.-midnight:

Phat Hat, The Crest Stage, Galvez Plaza

Red Stick Drop, midnight, signaling 2014

Fireworks show

Founding Sponsors: Raising Cane’s, Coca-Cola, Visit Baton Rouge, the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino, Mockler Beverage, Last In Concepts, Cox Communications, Hollingsworth Richards Ford, Richards Honda and Entergy.



  • NEW YEAR’S AT L’AUBERGE: 9:30 p.m., The Rusty Yates Band, promenade; The Anteeks, Edge Bar; Champagne toast at midnight on the casino floor.
  • DANCE: 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., American Legion Hall, 151 S. Wooddale Blvd. With Kenny Cornett and Killin’ Time. (225) 927-8826.
  • KICKOFF AT THE COOK: 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m., The Cook Hotel and Conference Center, LSU. Music by After 8. Overnight packages available. (225) 383-2665.
  • NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION: 10 p.m.-2 a.m., The Blues Room, 244 Lafayette St. With Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor, along with guests and friends. (225) 334-7663.
  • THE BEDLAMVILLE TRIFLERS: Lock and Key Whiskey Bar (5110 Corporate Blvd.)
  • KENNY FIFE AND BACTRAC: Club Coozan (10920 Mead Road)
  • RING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH THE CHEE-WEEZ: 9 p.m., Ballroom, Paragon Casino and Resort, Marksville. (800) WIN-1-WIN.
  • BASH: 9 p.m., American Farmhouse Produce & Grill, 9550 Hooper Road. Music by Floyd Brown. (225) 571-8337.
  • PARTY: 6 p.m., Lava Cantina, Perkins Rowe. 6:30 p.m., Nick Abraham Xperience; 10 p.m., Magnolia. (225) 448-3920.
  • NEW YEAR’S NOON CARNIVAL AND COUNTDOWN: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Children’s Museum of Acadiana, Lafayette. Children’s activities, prizes.

    • NEW YEAR’S EVE 2013: 9 p.m., Jackson Square. Music by Eric Lindell and the Honey Island Swamp Band. Fleur-de-lis Drop from the roof of Jax Brewery at midnight, 10-minute fireworks display over the Mississippi River. The Riverview Room of the Brewery will also offer indoor and outdoor viewing of the festivities. (504) 525-3000.
    • NEW YEAR’S EVE AT SECOND LINE STAGES: 9 p.m.-1 a.m., 800 Richard St. Music by Andrew Duhon, DXXXY and Tatum Neill.
    • COLETTE NEW ORLEANS NEW YEARS EVE BALL 2014: 1 a.m., Colette New Orleans, 822 Gravier St. (504) 588-1517.
    • NEW YEAR’S EVE KIDS’ COUNTDOWN: 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Louisiana Children’s Museum, 420 Julia St. Countdown to noon culminates with a simultaneous confetti toss and a balloon release. Make a noisemaker and festive paper bag party hat to wear for the countdown. Live music by the Lagniappe Brass Band from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
    • NEW YEAR’S SWINGIN’ EVE: National World War II Museum, 945 Magazine St. Big Band music and the Victory Belles. (504) 528-1943 or
    • NEW ORLEANS OPERA CINDERELLA BALL AND BASH 2013: 8 p.m., Sheraton Hotel-Armstrong Ballroom, 500 Canal St. Music by Olga Wilhelmine, dancing to the Yat Pack. (504) 897-6285.
    • NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE HOTEL MONTELEONE: food, Champagne, dancing in the Riverview Room. (866) 338-4684.
    • NEW YEAR’S EVE BLOWOUT: 8 p.m., New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jass Band; 11 p.m., Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, Royal Sonesta Hotel. (504) 553-2299.
    • BIG NIGHT NEW ORLEANS NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA 2013-14: 9 p.m., Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Ave.
    • NOLA NEW YEAR’S EVE: 9 p.m., Mardi Gras World East Bank, 1380 Port of New Orleans Place. Geaux Entertainment’s 7th Annual NOLA New Year’s Eve Party.
    • NEW YEAR’S EVE EXTRAVAGANZA 2013: 9:30 p.m., Steamboat Natchez, Toulouse Street. Holiday buffet, entertainment by Bobby Cure and the Summertime Blues. (504) 569-1401.
    • NEW YEARS EVE 2014: 10 p.m., MASQUERADE, Harrah’s New Orleans 228 Poydras St. DJs, balloon money drop and champagne toast at midnight.
    • NEW YEAR’S EVE COUNTDOWN TO 2014 AT THE WESTIN CANAL PLACE: 8 p.m., The Westin New Orleans Canal Place, 100 Iberville St.
    • Emily Beck Cogburn contributed to this story.