If you follow a gravel road to the left of Kalruah Street Grill under the Perkins Road Overpass, you will find Leslie Bratton’s paradise, Beauvoir Park. When he purchased his first shop – a small place to store his landscaping equipment – on the property, Leslie knew the whole area was something special, and it was something he wanted to be a part of.
Overtime, he would buy more pieces of the property, little by little, and renovate the dilapidated buildings that had sunken with age. As it expanded, it would become almost like a refuge for local artists who would come in and out as tenants.
“I always envisioned having a little artist colony here. I had TJ Black as an artist, a glass blower, a blacksmith, a furniture builder. It sort of took on it’s own vibe,” said Leslie. As artists moved on, their work remain at Beauvoir Park causing it to be drenched in vibe.
The whole place gives off a bohemian bayou feeling, and is truly a diamond in the rough. In its bar, TJ Black’s works covers the wall space, while an empty beer bottle collection sits neatly stacked on its shelves, as well as comfortable furniture that looked as if you could’ve grabbed them from a 1970s catalogue. Outside, a stage made from old charred beams and cypress overlooks the entire field, giving a feeling of being at an outdoor festival, or if you want to really feel nostalgic, brought back memories of Chelsea’s St. Patrick’s Day Festivities.
Acquaintances and friends of Leslie would ask if they could use the property to host events ranging from office parties, birthday celebrations, weddings, and more. Now, with the help and dedication of his friend, J. Hover, Leslie also wants to use Beauvoir Park to put on music events and concerts for Baton Rouge.
Feeling as though there has been a void for bands to play music in Baton Rouge, Hover believes the Park has potential to showcase local talent. So far, Beavoir Park has have kicked off its Spring Concert Series that will be held every Thursday – if the weather permits of course! The goal for this series is to start a grassroots movement for local artist and musicians to have an opportunity to showcase their talent, as well as be able to play and network with touring bands.
“We want local artists and musicians to reach out to us, give us a little sample of their music and say ‘hey I’d love to have our sound heard’,” said Hover. “We want to focus on the local talent but also want to put on big shows once a month or quarterly, if it can be permitted.”This past Thursday, the Austin band Los Coasts, started off the series by bringing their psychedelic soul sound that completely blew away the crowd. It was the perfect groove to the vibe Leslie and Hover are trying to create, and they are only just getting started.
At the end of the month, Atlanta’s psych-country outfit, Futurebirds, will take part in Beauvoir Park’s 4/20 celebration. For Leslie, this is exciting news. “Since we are small right now, it is way harder to get bigger bands to come and play at your venue. Last time Futurebirds played in Baton Rouge, they were at the Varsity, so already we are making head way with getting big names for Baton Rouge artists to see and play with,” said Leslie. Although this success is exciting and promising, for Leslie and Hover, this is more about them having a chance to give back to the community.
“If we can start rolling through some great music and art, it’ll get to a point that people will say we don’t want to miss out on this,” said Hover. In keeping with the tradition of Beauvoir Park’s vibe, Leslie stresses that those that come to the park should leave, “30 percent of the good vibes they felt behind, so that everyone can feel it when they stop by!”
Be sure to check out all the events that Beauvoir Park has in store in the coming weeks (we will also let you know in our events calendar as well as our weekly LOCAL LIVE series). If you are interested in checking out the amazing 4/20 show on Saturday, April 20th follow the link here! Bands and local talent that are interested in playing or participating in any future shows, please send your requests with links to your band’s music at firstname.lastname@example.org.