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Miss USA takes orders at local restaurant!

When you aren’t sure what to order when you visit Marty J’s Restaurant, located at 4001 Nicholson Drive, just order what Miss USA Nia Sanchez ordered.

Yesterday #MissUSA had lunch and helped owner Marty Chabert place orders and carry out food to customers. Imagine walking in for lunch and the beautiful Nia Sanchez was at the register to take your order? No biggie!

Marty’s young grandson ordered crawfish and a diet soda from Miss USA!

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Customers in the restaurant will be part of some of the production for the Miss USA pageant, scheduled for July 12, as the production crew followed Nia around the restaurant while she greeted customers and took photos, including a #selfie with one young man.

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Congressman Garret Graves, Louisiana Sixth Congressional District, also ate lunch at Marty J’s yesterday and took time to grab a photo with Miss USA and Marty.

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Marty J’s is one place you must try in Baton Rouge for all types of Louisiana cuisines. They even have meat pies (the best things ever). Ethan, employee at Marty J’s, said you have to try the roast beef poboy, “especially if you like roast beef because it is nice and sloppy and has the real New Orleans poboy feel.” Ethan also said he loved that Nia came into the restaurant today for lunch because of the crowd and media that came along with her. Not to mention how nice she was.

Before heading out the door I asked Nia what was her favorite food here in Louisiana. This being her second time in Baton Rouge, last year when she was crowned Miss USA and now, she said “I really like the gator! I have to get some more when we go out to our dinner events.”

Photo Courtesy of Visit Baton Rouge!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Baton Rouge!

Marty J’s was just one stop on Nia’s scheduled visits through Baton Rouge yesterday, she also went to visit the kids at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.

Marty J’s Restaurant, owned by former State Sen. Marty Chabert, replaced Leroy’s Restaurant after it closed its doors in March. Chabert has another location, Marty J’s, Specialty Meats, Seafood & PoBoys on Perkins Road.

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We Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts | Miss USA Contestants Visit The Myrtles

Louisiana has a lot of history. As locals, we know this. But it sure has been fun sharing some of our history with so many new visitors here for Miss USA. On Thursday, July 2,  many Miss USA contestants visited the Myrtles Plantation in Saint Francisville.

Originally called Laurel Grove, the Myrtles Plantation was built in 1796 by General David Bradford. Legend has it that the ghost of the house is named Chloe. The 1950s, owner, Marjorie Munson, noticed strange things happening in the house. When she started asking around trying to figure out what was going on, she heard of a ghost named Chloe that lurked about the plantation. In 1992, the Myrtles was photographed and appearing in the photo was a young girl standing between two of the buildings on the plantation.

We didn’t spot Chloe during our visit, but contestants did enjoy a tour of the house, took a photo in the haunted mirror and enjoyed Southern hospitality at its finest.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day.

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Meet your Miss Louisiana USA, Candice Bennatt

Since her crowning, Miss Louisiana USA 2015 Candice Bennatt has represented the boot exquisitely.

Photo via Miss LA USA Facebook

Photo via Miss LA USA Facebook

Although she’s not originally from Louisiana, Candice moved here to pursue a scholarship to the Loyola New Orleans College of Law. She truly is a combination of beauty and brains, having held previous titles in the Miss America Pageant division and as a former NFL Cheerleader.

Photo via Miss LA USA Instagram

Photo via Miss LA USA Instagram

Her outgoing personality and warm smile makes her a gracious host while the pageant is produced in her state for the second year in a row, and the fellow contestants had nothing but the nicest of things to say about her.

Earlier this week I was able to snag an interview with the very busy host queen.

 

KDK: Hosting the pageant in our capitol city has done great things for tourism and our economy. What is it like to host the pageant in your state? Any additional pressure or expectations?

MISS LA: Being the “hometown girl” in Baton Rouge for the 2015 Miss USA pageant has been such an incredible experience. Louisiana in general does a remarkable job of supporting anyone and anything they believe in; I am so honored to be Louisiana’s girl this year. I do not feel any additional pressure simply because everyone has gone above and beyond to support me on this journey. I am calm and enjoying my time here in Baton Rouge for this one in a life time opportunity!

 

KDK: Louisiana has often been misrepresented and dramatized in the media, causing many to think we all live in a swamp, shoot gators for a living, that everything is still destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and we celebrate Mardi Gras is all year around. Do these stereotypes do us a disservice or are they an important part of our culture? What does Louisiana mean to you? 

MISS LA: I do feel like one thing that really makes Louisiana unique is its culture. I think once people come to Louisiana, meet our people, and eat the delectable food, they come to realize we are not all running around in gator boots and swamp clothes. Louisiana is rich in history and hospitality. I like to describe Louisiana as “Good people, good food, and good times.”

 

KDK: How have you been able to use your Miss Louisiana USA title to elevate awareness and prevention of domestic and dating violence?

MISS LA: I have partnered with the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence to provide awareness to this hidden epidemic. Recently I have advocated at a Senate committee meeting in Baton Rouge for various bills benefiting victims of domestic violence. Senate Bill 174 passed shortly after my testimony at the capitol!

I also spoke at an HBO film screening of “Private Violence”. I love to share my story because so many people have had experiences they can relate to or know someone who has been a victim. I feel like just by talking about it, it spreads awareness. Hopefully my story will inspire someone to leave the abusive relationship or at least seek resources to be able to help them walk away.

 

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KDK: What is your favorite memory during your reign as Miss Louisiana thus far? 

MISS LA: My favorite memory as Miss Louisiana USA thus far are the interactions I have had with children across the state of Louisiana. Children take to me… or the crown… with such bright eyes. It is important to me to be the best role model I can be for our youth because we are constantly surround by negativity. For example, when I visited The Emerge Center today, or an elementary school in New Orleans the children look up to me as a princess. Their reactions make me want to keep growing and striving for my dreams so they can have someone they really look up to.

 

Miss Louisiana USA Candice Bennatt makes her entrance at the Miss USA Welcome Event held at the Old State Capitol.

Miss Louisiana USA Candice Bennatt makes her entrance at the Miss USA Welcome Event held at the Old State Capitol.

 

KDK: The 2016 Miss Louisiana pageant is nearing. You’ve accomplished so much with your title but is there anything left you’d still like to do while holding the crown? 

MISS LA: I am a huge football fan! I would love to be introduced at a Saints or LSU football game as Miss Louisiana USA 2015! Additionally, I have always wanted to be in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

 

KDK: Last year, the 2014 Miss Louisiana Brittany Guidry, received a very difficult on-stage question regarding a controversial topic and was applauded for her answer. How do you plan to tackle an intense or highly- disputed question live should you make it to that point in the competition?

MISS LA: I have been very fortunate to train with several interview coaches across the United States. I plan on tackling those tough questions head on while showing the compassion I have for people in our country.

 

KDK: Many young women and girls around the world will be tuned into the pageant. They will look at themselves in the mirror and look at the contestants on stage and naturally compare themselves to you all. If you could say one thing to them, what would it be?

MISS LA: I would tell them that our country celebrates and prides ourself on freedom. With freedom comes a mutual understanding that we are all different. I hope they see themselves as different in a unique and positive way. Every young girl is glamorous, beautiful, and special!

 

 

 

If you have a question for Miss Louisiana or the other Miss USA contestants, don’t forget this year you can ask the final question!

Submit a video question on Instagram or post your question in the comments section of the official Miss USA post. Make sure you use #AskMissUSA and YOUR video may be selected for the 2015 #MissUSA Pageant. (Official Rules)

 

We can’t wait to see how our 2015 Miss Louisiana USA, Candice Bennatt, will do in the pageant, airing July 12 on Reelz Channel (available in Baton Rouge on DISH, DirectTV and AT&T U-verse). Until then follow Candice on Twitter and Instgram, @RealMissLAUSA.

Photo via Visit Baton Rouge

Photo via Visit Baton Rouge

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5 Miss USA Contestants – 4 Louisiana Words

We had some fun with a few of the Miss USA contestants yesterday, asking them to pronounce a couple of Louisiana words. The girls were such good sports about it. Enjoy!

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Miss USA Contestants get extreme at BREC

With a busy first day of official appearances Wednesday, the 2015 Miss USA contestants made a stop at BREC’s Extreme Sports Park.

Located at the Perkins Road Community Park, the Extreme Sports aspect is relatively new to The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge. With growing interest for more intense activities in the city, the park relaunched to include a rock climbing wall, BMX track, skate park, velodrome and other adventurous attractions.

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Miss Michigan, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and Illinois stepped up to “on belay” the park’s rock-climbing tower.

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Miss New Mexico USA- Alexis Duprey, (below in pink) was no stranger to the rock-climbing wall as she comfortably soared to the top in no time, despite the unfamiliar humidity affecting her grip. During a quick chat with Alexis she told me this was her favorite activity of the day and that rock-climbing and other outdoor activities is how she stays fit, avoiding the treadmill at all costs.

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The ladies also learned how to paddle skate, an extreme sport first seen on ABC’s Shark Tank! These long skateboards give the feel of surfing on land. Receiving instruction from BREC’s Brett Weinberger, Miss Missouri USA- Rebecca Dunn and others got the hang of it in no time.

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The contestants checked out the BMX Raceway, which hosts birthday parties and a BMX 101 classes and clinics, teaching biking techniques for various proficiencies.

Although the BMX track was too wet to ride, a few contestants took the bikes for a sunset spin around the fishing pond, stocked with Rainbow Trout for park visitors.

The Miss USA ladies loved their time at BREC’s Extreme Park as a fun way to stay active and get outdoors, and they learned that wasn’t all there was to do at the park.

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The Perkins Road Community Park also includes a community playground, hiking trails, and a recreation center that hosts a variety of fitness classes and even has rooms to rent. The Team Automotive Group Sportsplex on site boasts 30,000 square feet of recreational area, making it the largest basketball facility in Baton Rouge and largest indoor volleyball facility in the state. Here they also host summer camps, cheerleading competitions, senior activities and more.

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For more information about visiting BREC’s Extreme Sports Park, including available classes, summer activities for kids and monthly pass pricing, visit their website, here.

To keep up with the behind-the-scenes action of all of the 2015 Miss USA’s contestants’ adventures in Baton Rouge, follow Erica on Twitter: @ericakays.

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Let’s Talk Tech: Best Apps for the Miss USA Pageant

Last year's contestants had a blast in Baton Rouge.

Last year’s contestants had a blast in Baton Rouge.

Twitter: Follow the official hashtags.

Keep up with behind the scenes coverage that you won’t get anywhere else by following #KrewedeCrown, #GoBR, #MissUSA and #Fig8PR.  You can also follow the pageant in real-time on Sunday, July 12, 2015 while we report live from Baton Rouge.

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Miss Idaho and Miss District of Columbia show the camera a little love.

Miss Idaho and Miss District of Columbia show the camera a little love.

Instagram: Get your camera ready.

Seflies are an all time favorite of Miss USA contestants. Who wouldn’t want to capture one of the most magical moments of their lives? Of course in Baton Rouge, the locals can make any visitor feel like a superstar.

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Click to see the video message from this year’s contestants.

Facebook: Before fans and followers, we had friends! Of course, as you get all of the great news from the hashtags, you can share it with your mom, dad and all of your friends on Facebook.

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Lagniappe (a little something extra)

This year you can ask the contestants’ final question. Just submit a video question on Instagram or post your question in the comments section of the Miss USA post. Make sure you use #AskMissUSA hashtag and YOUR video may be selected for the 2015 Miss USA Pageant on Sunday July 12th.

What are your favorite apps? Follow us on Instagram (@Fig8PR) and comment below the post. We may use your suggestions on our updated blog submission.

Showcase Miss USA

Just today, it was announced that NBC is cutting business ties with Donald Trump over the recent immigration remarks made. This also means that NBC will no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that were part of a joint venture with Trump. There are several ways you can look at the situation, but for right now, I will look at it as a former contest in the USA system.

Trump&MissUSAThe 50 young ladies that arrived in Baton Rouge yesterday have worked extremely hard to get to where they are. I can imagine the sacrifices that have been made to this point and I can imagine the disappointment in hearing the news. I once heard that you are more likely to have a son play in the Super Bowl than a daughter compete at Miss USA. This “statistic” has never left my mind. Can you imagine the sense of accomplishment in representing your state and having the opportunity to represent your nation?

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Think about the parents, grandparents, family, and friends that were not able to travel but had a sense of comfort knowing they had a front row seat on their couch. Think about the time, money, and effort the people of Baton Rouge have spent in setting up events for the contestants to attend to showcase the great city of Baton Rouge on the national telecast.

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I could go on and on. But one thing I truly believe is that the contestants and the capital city deserve to be showcased. Now who has connections to a network?

 

Get ready to dance the night away with the 2015 Miss USA musical line up!

Awards shows and live contests like the Miss USA pageant are some of my favorite nights of the year. I can almost feel the excitement and anticipation through my TV as I watch the announcers, performers and contestants. One aspect I look forward to the most is the musical performances. This year, the Miss USA musical line up, like last year’s, is guaranteed to get viewers up off the couch and dancing to some of their favorite songs.

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Fans of rap, R&B and country music rejoice, because this year’s pageant will highlight artists from all three genres. According to Miss USA’s official site, viewers can look forward to performances by Grammy Award-winning artist Flo Rida, break out R&B artist Natalie La Rose and country artist Craig Wayne Boyd.

Boyd will help hosts Thomas Roberts and Cheryl Burke introduce the 51 contestants with a country medley including his new hit single “Baby Doll” to get the night rolling. Flo Rida, the lucky artist chosen to serenade the ladies during the evening gown competition, will be the next artist to grace the River Center stage. Last, but definitely not least, La Rose will join Flo Rida on stage to perform her hit single “Somebody.”

While we wait patiently for the big night, maybe not so patiently after hearing the musical line up, here are a few fun facts about the artists:

Flo Rida has produced countless hits including “Wild Ones,” “Right Round” and “Whistle.” What some of you may not know is that Flo Rida learned early on from one of hip-hop’s greatest groups, 2 Live Crew. According to Billboard, Flo Rida toured with 2 Live Crew as a teenager before releasing his break out hit “Low” in 2008. Working with such an iconic group like 2 Live Crew gave hip-hop veteran Flow Rida the ability to soar into stardom.

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Natalie La Rose is one of many female international vocalists to land a Top 10 single this year. What some of you may not know is that La Rose is signed to fellow Miss USA performer Flo Rida’s label. According to Fashion and Style, La Rose approached Flo Rida at the ESPY’s after party about working together. The introduction lead to that infectious hit “Somebody,” that we all can’t seem to get out of our heads.

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Craig Wayne Boyd received his big break after winning the seventh season of The Voice. According to The Washington Post, Boyd was considered the underdog of the finalists. Boyd was the only finalist not on Team Adam, but never underestimate a country singer whose life dream is to belt out a tune or two to the masses. Boyd will join an ever-growing list of talented country artists who have performed in Louisiana, including his coach Blake Shelton who joined the list of Bayou Country Superfest veterans after his May 24 performance in Tiger Stadium.

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We sometimes forget how much work and practice goes into live performances and what the artists hope to be a historical moment. Maybe your favorite music performance will be from this year’s Miss USA pageant! Tune in on July 12 to find out.

Here are your contestants!

ESPN’s College GameDay, aired Saturdays during the fall, is my favorite way to start out a day of football. I love the touching stories on the teams, coaches and players, making me feel connected. This makes it more interesting to watch the games.

Well the same goes for the Miss USA Pageant and the 51 contestants that will be arriving in Baton Rouge in four days to compete for the chance to be Miss USA. Once I was told I would be a part of Krewe De Crown for the second consecutive year, I headed straight to MissUniverse.com to get some facts on the ladies.

2014 Miss USA Pageant at the Baton Rouge Rivercenter.

2014 Miss USA Pageant at the Baton Rouge Rivercenter.

It is interesting reading their brief bios to learn fun facts about them and help preselect my favorites. I thought I would let you in on some interesting facts I found so that you could feel a little more connected to the crew headed to Baton Rouge. 

Photo courtesy of Visit Baton Rouge

Photo courtesy of Visit Baton Rouge

Communication is key

It’s funny that most if not all of the ladies majored or minored in communications. Must be some kind of requirement! Speaking of ESPN, Miss Georgia Brooke Fletcher is an Associate Director for ESPN. She looks to eventually move to sideline reporting.

Miss California (my home state girl) Natasha Martinez is a TV host for California’s local station KDOC-TV. She has experience with red carpet coverage at the Emmy’s, Grammy’s and Oscars while an intern in college.

Miss Missouri Rebecca Dunn is a news anchor on Newsy.com.

Miss Nebraska Hoang-Kim Hung is a reporter and fill-in anchor for a local news channel in her hometown.

Spreading their wings

These ladies are not only hitting the big stage but a few of them are also preparing to hit the runway, at the airport!

Miss Florida, Ashleigh Lollie and Miss Alaska, Kimberly Agron are both in the process of getting their pilot licenses. Lollie is taking the journey with her father.

Sports Ladies

Many of the contestants are just as athletic as they are beautiful.

Miss Minnesota, Jessica Sheu is a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Watch out!

Miss Michigan Rashontae Wawrzyniak and Miss Colorado Talyah Polee both ran track and field.

Miss Kentucky Katie George is a former volleyball player who represented her country as a member in the USA Collegiate National Team.

Miss Ohio Sarah Newkirk is into target shooting and archery. She was in a shooting club for six years and now she teaches.

Miss Utah Nicol Powell was a “Child of Light” ice skater in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Overcoming any obstacle

A few of the ladies have overcome an illness or incidents that they currently deal with or have dealt with in the pass. This has only made them stronger.

Miss Idaho Claira Hollingsworth has scoliosis but has not let that stop her. She is a state and national rodeo qualifier.

Miss Illinois Renee Wronecki at a young age was diagnosed with skin cancer. At the same time her mother was also diagnosed.

Miss Tennessee Kiara Young was a victim of a drunk driving accident when she was 17.

Fun Facts

Miss Maine Heather Elwell can play seven instruments.

Miss Nebraska Hoang-Kim Cung built computers with her brother and is currently learning  how to code.

Miss Michigan Rashontae Wawrzyniak is afraid of escalators.

I don’t want to give everything away, head over to MissUniverse.com and glance at each bio. (Information gathered from the Miss Universe site.)

Photo courtesy of MissUniverse.com

Photo courtesy of MissUniverse.com

Who are some of your favorites? Besides Miss Louisiana Candice Bennatt of course! Leave your comment below.

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What Miss USA Means to Baton Rouge (for pageant lovers & haters alike)

You don’t have to love pageants to love what hosting Miss USA means to the Red Stick. More tourists, an increase in booked hotel rooms and concentrated media coverage are some of the many reasons why it’s a big freaking deal that Baton Rouge is hosting Miss USA for the second year in a row.

Krewe de Crown is a group of digitally savvy, Red Stick lovers covering Miss USA in partnership with Visit Baton Rouge, The Advocate and the Baton Rouge Social Media Association. Last year allowed me to see first hand how much this pageant means to our city.

Here are a few highlights:

We left the light on for ‘em…..a lot. 

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From June 5-8, 2014, Baton Rouge saw an obvious increase in hotel rooms booked. According to figures released by Smith Travel Research, hotel revenue for June 5-8, 2014 totaled more than $2.6 million. Actual hotel room nights booked during this time period totaled 5,150. This does not include any rooms booked outside of Miss USA hotel blocks.

We owned the remote. 

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According to Nielson ratings provided by the Miss Universe organization, Miss USA 2014 landed 5.548 million viewers during the telecast. This is an increase of 21 percent total viewers compared to 2013. That’s a lot of eyes on the Red Stick, y’all.

Str8 up humble brags happenin’ round here. 

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During the broadcast, Baton Rouge and the surrounding area received eight minutes of feature videos that highlighted the city and state. Contestants were shown enjoying local shops, restaurants, area plantations and south Louisiana’s unique culture. Attractions included the LSU Rural Life Museum, the Queen of the Mississippi Riverboat, Nottoway PlantationHoumas House Plantation and Gardens, the Old Governor’s Mansion, Capitol Park Museum, the Old State Capitol,  and so much more. A sampling of local cuisine was also highlighted.

These are just a few reasons to appreciate Miss USA contestants taking over the Red Stick.

Have a few reasons of your own to add? Leave a comment below!