Tell us a little about your Baton Rouge Story. What brought you to Baton Rouge?
As many people, I first came to Baton Rouge for college at LSU. After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Colorado for graduate school. But Louisiana was calling me back, so I moved back to my hometown of Lake Charles to teach high school. During a professional development seminar here in Baton Rouge, I met my future husband and moved here five months later.
Tell us more about how you’re involved in Baton Rouge (job or organizations).
My husband, Garrett Kemp, and I own Circa 1857 and Brass by Circa 1857. Over the past three years, we transformed Circa from your typical flea market-style antique shop to the premier place to purchase high-quality antique furniture. In December 2021, we opened Brass in downtown Baton Rouge – the only independent retail shop in downtown at the time. I am also the founder of Work Downtown Play Downtown, an initiative to encourage downtown workers to frequent the many bars and restaurants in the area by offering special discounts just for them. I serve on the board of directors for the Downtown Business Association, which puts on Live After 5, and Baton Rouge Blues Fest Foundation.
What is your favorite thing about Baton Rouge?
My favorite thing about Baton Rouge is that it’s the crossroads of Louisiana. Baton Rouge is one of the few places in Louisiana where people from all parts of the state gather. It’s the blending of all of the best parts of the state into one city – the capital city. Baton Rouge thrives when good people want to do good things, and I believe we’re on the cusp of a thriving Baton Rouge.
What does “pride” mean to you?
Pride is not having to be scared or ashamed of who you are. It’s being able to walk down the street holding the hand of the person you love knowing that there’s a chance you will be called a slur but still doing it anyway. Pride is living your life fearlessly.
How are young professionals in the LGBTQIA+ community like yourself shaping Baton Rouge?
We’re shaping it just like everyone else–one step at a time with people who believe in a better Baton Rouge.
What recommendations would you give to business owners to create a more inclusive workplace?
The biggest thing I can recommend is actually quite small: don’t tolerate any forms of homophobia in the workplace. It’s a small policy that will let all of your employees know they are welcomed and will be defended.
What is your Baton Rouge favorite?
- Place to eat? Cocha
- Place to hang out? Pelican to Mars
- Place to capture the perfect Instagram pic? Old State Capitol
- Place to people watch? Bengal Tap Room’s patio
- Place to network? City Club
- Way to give back? 225 Gives
- Event? Live After 5