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“The Nicest People Ever…Anywhere.”

If there’s anything we #KrewedeCrown members have heard repeatedly and consistently throughout the Miss USA events in the past two weeks, it’s that Baton Rouge has “THE nicest people. Ever. Of anywhere.”

From contestants to hair stylists to pageant officials, the same words have come out of everyone’s mouths:

“Everyone is just SO kind. Friendly…welcoming…we’ve never experienced anything like this before.”

Now, as a human, I know that it’s not always easy to be kind. Or friendly. Or even welcoming. (Especially in traffic.) And I’m no expert in public policy or city development, but I’d venture to say as a human who encounters customer service regularly, when it comes to our bottom line, this Southern hospitality trait of ours simply can’t be bad for economics.

Red Stick, can pinky swear on something? Let’s not fight it — these genes that make us want to smile at strangers in our town and make sure they don’t need directions. Let’s just keep at it, ok?

This is good work we’re doing.

 

Kip Kip Hooray: BR Mayor/President Cheers On Miss USA Contestants

“Mr. USA” Kip Holden doesn’t miss out on the pageantry of Miss USA 2014 in Baton Rouge.

Never one to miss out on a good time, Baton Rouge Mayor/President Melvin “Kip” Holden has established a name for being the life, if not the mascot of, the party.

During the 51 Miss USA contestants’ time in the Red Stick, Mayor Holden and his staff actively cheered them on in person and through media outlets.

From May 28 till the pageant itself on June 8, daily Miss USA trivia appeared on the Mayor’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts, engaging Baton Rougeans in the fun:

  • Who was Louisiana’s FIRST Miss USA title winner? Eurlyne Howell of Bossier City won in 1958 at the age of only 18. By June 8th, you will know a lot more about the Miss USA competition being held in Baton Rouge.
  • The first live televised Miss USA competition was held in 1972 in Puerto Rico. The following year, it landed in New York and hasn’t left the continental United States since then. On Sunday, June 8th, Miss USA 2014 will be broadcast LIVE from Baton Rouge to more than 70 countries.
  • In the 42 years that the Miss USA competition has been a live televised event, how many cities other than Baton Rouge have hosted the event? Only 20! Looks like they like to revisit cities where they have a great time, so let’s all make sure they feel welcome this coming week!
  • Who owns the Miss USA pageant? The Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions are a joint venture of Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal.
  • Our third Miss USA from Louisiana is Sharon Brown of Minden. Can you guess the year she was crowned? 1961!

    1961missusa-misslouisiana

    The third Miss USA from Louisiana, Sharon Brown of Minden, was crowned in 1961.

  • Where was the first Miss USA competition held back in 1952? A) Atlantic City, NJ B) Long Beach, CA or C) Miami, FL? The answer is B — the first competition was held in Long Beach, California. Baton Rouge is proud to join the ranks of host cities!
  • Did you know this famous actress competed in the Miss USA Competition? That’s right — Halle Berry represented Ohio is the 1986 Miss USA Competition.
  • Did you know….the last time the Miss USA competition was held in the South was 2003 in San Antonio? Welcome to Baton Rouge!
  • How many times has Miss USA gone on to win the Miss Universe title? Answer: 8 times — more than any other country. The stage is set for Sunday night – I hope you’re planning to watch!
  • When was the last time Miss USA went on to be crowned Miss Universe? Answer: 2012 Miss USA Olivia Culpo brought the crown back after 15 years. No pressure girls, but it sure would be nice for a future Miss Universe to start her journey right here in Baton Rouge…

Fittingly, Mayor Holden’s team wrapped up the trivia after the pageant with a final post:

  • What is the best city ever to host the Miss USA competition? #GoBR
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Donald Trump, Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez, and Baton Rouge Mayor/President Kip Holden.

In addition to a local broadcast of Mayor Holden speaking about pageant events and sporting “The Donald” accessories, he also participated in the Miss USA dance video to Pharrell Williams’ summer smash “Happy.”

From the Miss USA events’ audiences’ responses to seeing Mayor Holden on the big screen, it’s clear we all know Kip loves to have a good time and is at the center of the fun, but also knows how to do business with Baton Rouge in mind.

Thanks for spreading the happy, Mayor!

 

 

63rd Miss USA, Nia Sanchez, Press Conference [Raw Footage]

Congrats to the 63rd Miss USA, Nia Sanchez, bringing the title back to Nevada for the first time! #KrewedeCrown members were sitting in on her first press conference and first time addressing the public with her new title.

After asking what she will miss most about Baton Rouge from her short stay with us, she admitted, “The hospitality!”

Everyone knows the South for its warm and friendly demeanor, but who wouldn’t be hospitable to a group of beautiful, young and ambitious ladies following their dreams right here in the Red Stick?

We were happy to be a part of this experience, and we wish you the best on your journey to Miss Universe!

Please enjoy the raw footage from her eloquent address right after the pageant’s live, global telecast.

 

Louisiana knows how to party!

Congrats to our 2014 Miss USA Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada!

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Photo courtesy of MissUnivers.com

Last night’s Miss USA pageant was great from start to finish! To have  had the chance to be a part of a live telecast of a pageant like that was a great experience!

There was a pre-party for those attending the pageant in part to help people arrive on time for the show. Everyone needed to pretty much be in the building and in their seats by 6:30 p.m. for the show to start right on time at 7 p.m. central.

After 8

After 8, a Baton Rouge band

After 8 performed for guest who showed up for the 7 p.m. show at 4:30 p.m. There was food, drinks and music to get people in the mood for the show. After 8 sounds great too!

The decorations and backdrop were gorgeous for this pageant. The graphics were amazing! And the opening to the show was outstanding. I felt like I was in the quarters, in a ballroom and even in the bayou! It also felt like it was Mardi Gras all over again. And who doesn’t mind Mardi Gras!

final miss usa3

final miss usa2

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Marc Broussard who opened the show with some great music. The ladies came out on a float accompanied by Mardi Gras Indians with their beautiful costumes.

Hosts Giuliana Rancic and Thomas Roberts did their thing by keeping everyone in suspense as we waited for the top 20 to turn into top 10 to top 5 and final to Miss USA! That is nerve racking especially when we feel we got to know some of these ladies over the last two weeks.

miss usa5

 

And when Georgia Florida Line and Nelly hit the stage for the swimsuit competition of the night, it was nothing short of a party going on in the River Center!

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Georgia Florida Line and Nelly. Excuse the fuzziness of the iPhone camera!

The night ended with an after party in the Gallery of the River Center. I only stopped in for a glance and it looked great. My fellow #KreweDeCrown members were there so stay tuned from some great stuff from them.

I would like to thank Visit Baton Rouge for allowing us to participate in this wonderful event and to share with the world a little about Baton Rouge. #GoBR …  Also to Baton Rouge Social Media Association for coming up with the idea of being Social Media Ambassadors! And finally to The Advocate for allowing the eight of us to share our stories through their site and on this blog!

I had a blast!

Smooches~ Erin, @PR_creoledame and on Instagram @creoledame

 

The Red Stick Shines for a Global Audience

Last night viewers from around the world caught a glimpse of Baton Rouge during the Miss USA 2014 telecast.  For many it was the first time they saw  our familiar landmarks; the old State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, the grounds of LSU and Southern, the glowing streets of downtown.  Mayor Kip Holden. There were even highly romanticized shots of that which is the bane of our daily collective existence – the (new) Mississippi River Bridge.

The video montage featured tantalizing shots (with pictures and artist’s renderings) of the Water Institute and the under-construction IBM Service Center; the happenings in 2014 interestingly juxtaposed with shots from the moss-draped grounds of Nottoway Plantation.

Cosmopolitan Magazine had a hilarious running twitter commentary during the show; at one point they asked:

Cosmo #missUSA

If these people only understood how much fun we have here, those RT numbers would be much higher. Am I right?

I had a conversation last night with a member of the video production crew; he’s been in town for close to two weeks filming, editing and producing the content for the broadcast event and various online channels.   A native, and current resident of the other LA (Los Angeles, not Louisiana), he told me what most of us are quite accustomed to hearing all the time “I’ve really enjoyed it here; everyone is so welcoming and friendly.”

Yes we are.

And THAT, my friends, is truly what makes the Red Stick shine.
#goBR 

2014 Miss USA Red Carpet

Famous people … beautiful people … powerful people … They were all there on the 2014 Miss USA red carpet.

(l to r) Gabriela Isler, MIss Universe 2013; Erin Brady, Miss USA 2013; Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA 2013.

(l to r) Gabriela Isler, MIss Universe 2013; Erin Brady, Miss USA 2013; Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA 2013. 

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Guiuliana Rancic

Guiuliana Rancic (pageant host)

Kip Holden

Kip Holden, Mayor of Baton Rouge, La.

Mindy Robinson, Randy Couture

Mindy Robinson, Randy Couture (pageant judge)

Lance Bass

Lance Bass (pageant judge)

Karl Malone, Kay Malone

Karl (pageant judge) and Kay Malone

Jeannie Mai

Jeannie Mai (pageant host)

Ian Ziering

Ian Ziering (pageant judge)

Melissa Peterman

Melissa Peterman (pageant judge) 

Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley

Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley – Florida Georgia Line

Dolvette Quince

Dolvette Quince (pageant judge)

 

Free Pre-party for Miss USA Pageant Ticket Holders

2014 Miss USA Preliminary CompetitionIn an effort to encourage early arrival of attendees to the Baton Rouge River Center, Abita Brewing Company will host a Pre-Party with FREE admission for Miss USA ticket-buyers from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Ballroom portion of the River Center.

The pre-party will feature food/drink specials and live music from Baton Rouge’s own After 8. Attendees for the pre-party should enter the ballroom through St. Louis/Galvez Plaza.

River Center Arrival, Parking Advisories

Today is the day! The Baton Rouge River Center will host the 2014 Miss USA Pageant today (June 8th).  The event will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally by NBC.

Doors for the show will open at 5:30 p.m.

The  River Center advises all attendees to arrive early.  The TV producers and facility management would like everyone to occupy their seats prior to the 7:00 p.m. televised start time.

Parking options:

  • River Center East & West Garages - Located at the corner of St. Louis and Government Street
  • Belle of Baton Rouge Mayflower Street Garage - Located on Mayflower Street
  • Belle of Baton Rouge River Road Garage - Located on River Road
  • 3rd Street Garage - Located at the corner of 3rd Street and Convention
  • Lipsey Parking Lot - Located at the corner of St. Philip and South Boulevard
  • Street Parking – available throughout downtown Baton Rouge
2014 Miss USA Parking Map

Downtown Baton Rouge Parking Guide

Becoming a Miss USA Contestant

At every Miss USA event I attended this week, one thing has been a constant: the outstanding poise of the contestants. It didn’t matter what they were doing: holding live catfish, singing karaoke at a downtown night spot, or visiting patients at the Women’s Hospital. All the contestants handled each activity perfectly, even the ones they weren’t sure about, like eating raw oysters for the first time. :)

The contestants have been a joy to be around. Every local I saw that met a contestant walked away with a smile. This led me to wonder about how the Miss USA pageant assembled such a wonderful group. Was it by chance, or is there a system?

I’ve learned that it isn’t by chance. And, the pageant isn’t alone in the effort to identify the best and brightest contestants.

Miss Universe Organization and RPM Productions

Miss Universe logo - RPM Productions logo

Miss Universe, RPM Productions

The Miss USA pageant is part of the Miss Universe Organization, which is a joint venture between Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal. The MUO produces not only the Miss USA pageant, but also the Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe pageants.

MUO conducts pageants on the state level to determine the field for the Miss USA pageant. To help with the burden, MUO licenses other production companies to plan and execute the state pageants. The Miss Louisiana USA and Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageants are produced by RPM Productions. Contestant selection falls within RPM’s responsibilities.

 Applicants Welcome

miss la dress

Brittany Guidry, Miss Louisiana USA 2014

RPM utilizes an application process just like any business that seeks employees. Casting calls are also held periodically.

To be considered for entry into the Miss Louisiana USA pageant, applicants must be:

  • between the ages of 14 and 26.
  • single (never married).
  • never have given birth to a child.
  • a United States citizen, a resident or full-time college student in the state of Louisiana.

Previous pageant experience is not a requirement.

“We recruit girls all year long with the potential to become Miss USA or Miss Teen USA,” said Paula Miles, the President of RPM Productions. “In some cases, there will be recruiters on the ground who will be looking for young women who fit what Miss Louisiana USA or Miss Louisiana Teen USA should be.”

Preparation and Growth

Paula Miles - President of RPM Productions

Paula Miles – President of RPM Productions

After the Miss Louisiana USA and Miss Louisiana Teen USA are crowned, RPM personnel help the winners prepare for the national competitions.

“The directors work closely with them,” Miles said. “We teach them how to network and how to brand themselves.”

By committing to the preparation process, Miles said the contestants learn a lot about themselves while giving back to their communities.

“They’re very busy, traveling throughout the state to make appearances on behalf of charitable organizations,” Miles said. “It’s a fabulous experience.”

Miles and the directors know what they’re doing. The Miss USA contestants have been on top of their game during their time in Baton Rouge.

 

2014 MISS USA Preliminary Competition Video Recap

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Here’s a quick recap of all 51 Miss USA contestants competing during the preliminary round held June 4th at the Baton Rouge River Center. I’m not a pageant expert by any stretch of the imagination. To me, they are all poised, confident, and beautiful. The judges must have to split some seriously thin hairs to make any kind of a determination.

You can watch the entire preliminary competition at: http://www.nbc.com/miss-usa/video/miss-usa-2014-preliminary-competition/2789082

The final round of the 2014 Miss USA pageant will air LIVE from the River Center this Sunday, June 8, at 8/7c on NBC.