Baton Rouge area events to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A day to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK Day) falls on Monday, Jan. 20 in 2020. To honor the prominent leader of the civil rights movement, here are several events happening in the Baton Rouge community.

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A few volunteers gather to help paint during the MLK Fest by The Walls Project. Photo courtesy of The Walls Project.

MLK Fest by The Walls Project

This is more than just a one-day celebration. The MLK Fest honors Martin Luther King Jr. from Jan. 17 to Jan. 20 with actions of service and volunteerism. This event was created to revitalize and reactivate neighborhoods in Baton Rouge with the help of volunteers, according to their website. Some of the projects include painting, removing trash, and general beautification along Plank Road.

The City of Baton Rouge and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome encourage you to joint the weekend-long event. To volunteer, register here. Find the work zones and map here. Volunteers may check in each day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Plank Road.

Finally, the weekend of activities concludes with a block party on MLK Day from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Speakers, such as Governor John Bel Edwards, are scheduled to appear during the event. See the block party schedule here.

Blue Cross volunteers packing 80,000 meals for MLK day

More than 250 Blue Cross employee volunteers (“Team Blue”) are packing 80,000 meals for capital-area residents facing food insecurity. These events are part of the national MLK Day of Service, a “day on” for millions of Americans who spend this holiday making a difference for their communities.

The event will be held on Monday, Jan. 20 from 2:30 to 4 p.m at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, located at 10600 S. Choctaw Drive in Baton Rouge and on Tuesday, Jan. 21 from 10 until 3 p.m. at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Corporate Headquarters, 5525 Reitz Avenue.

City of Baker’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

The city of Baker hosts its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. This year’s theme for the event is “Fulfillment of the Dream.” City of Baker Youth is set to perform and lead this year’s program as well. See the event at the Baker Municipal Center, located at 3325 Groom Rd.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee of Lafayette Events

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee of Lafayette has set the following activities and programs for January 18 through 20.

Saturday, Jan. 18

  • Musical Extravaganza 1 p.m.
  • Martin Luther King Youth Pageant – 4 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 19

  • Martin Luther King Holiday Parade – 3 p.m., parade marshal: Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux (The parade will start at the Martin Luther King Center, 309 Cora St., and head down MLKing Memorial Parkway (Willow Street) and conclude at the Clifton Chenier Center/Church of Philadelphia)

Monday, Jan. 20

  • Flag Raising/Opening Activities 8:30 a.m.
  • Community Luncheon Program 11:30 a.m.
  • Recognition of Holiday Event Sponsors 12:30 p.m.
  • Medical/Health Screenings
  • Voter Registration
  • Display Booths/Exhibits
  • Evening Commemorative Program – 6 p.m. (featured speaker: Reverend Nelson B. Rivers III)
  • Pastor, Charity Missionary Baptist Church, North Charleston, South Carolina Vice-President, Religious Affairs and External Relations, National African Network

USS KIDD in Downtown Baton Rouge

The USS KIDD Veterans Museum is open on MLK Day. At that time, the Snoopy and the Red Baron exhibit will be on display until it comes down on Feb. 2. Stop by the museum on your day off between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  Buy your tickets for entry here.

See also: Literally racing into the new year at the Louisiana Marathon and Finish Festival, Jan. 17-19

Smiling students on LSU’s campus during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration. Photo courtesy of LSU, Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration at LSU

The LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs hosts the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration from Jan. 20 through Jan. 23. The celebration also kicks off the MLK Food Drive which runs Jan. 20 through Jan. 31.

On Monday, Jan. 20, volunteers may meet in the LSU Student Union Ballroom to engage in service projects through MLK Day of Service. The “a day on not a day off” starts at 8 a.m. and finishes up at 2 p.m. Registration for the day of service is currently at capacity.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Dr. King’s celebration continues with the MLK Commemorative Program in the LSU Student Union Theater. The event brings the foremost authors, scholars, and activists to the campus for critical discussion on diversity, education, and issues of social justice. This year’s keynote speaker will be Yusef Salaam. Doors open for at 4:30 p.m. and the program begins at 5 p.m.

Also happening at the LSU Student Union Theater is the Performing Arts Night & Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, Jan. 22. Through artistic expression, students honor both the dream and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Finally, the nearly week-long commemoration event ends with a Unity Celebration at the Club at Union Square.

Southeastern Louisiana University MLK Remembrance

Southeastern will close Jan. 20 in recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, but will celebrate the legacy of the late civil rights leader with a memorial march and remembrance program on Jan. 27. The event is open to the public and will feature remarks by Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs for the Greater New Orleans Foundation Tyronne Walker.

The event will begin with a candlelight processional at 6 p.m. outside of the REC (formerly known as the Pennington Student Activity Center) at the walkway underpass. The ceremony will conclude with a program in the Student Union Theatre, which will include Walker’s remarks and a reflection on King’s life and impact.

West Baton Rouge Parish Mass Choir’s annual MLK Jr Day Program

The West Baton Rouge Parish Mass Choir of Port Allen invites the public to its annual MLK Day program on Jan. 20. The program begins at 10 a.m. at Poplar Grover Baptist Church. The event will be held by pastor Dr. S.H. Freeman.

MLK Hearse Exhibit at Capitol Park Museum

The Capitol Park Museum exhibit, “Carrying on the Dream,” which features a rare display of the hearse that carried prominent civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s body, at the time of his death more than 50 years ago. The exhibit will close Sunday, Jan. 19.

The hearse exhibit includes counter stools from the Kress store that were used during the 1960 civil rights protest in downtown Baton Rouge. The stools are on loan from Preserve Louisiana.

Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s, loaned the hearse to the Capital Park Museum.

“We are grateful to Capitol Park Museum team and the Louisiana State Museum for giving us the opportunity to display the hearse. Thousands of visitors have seen the exhibit over the past year and we encourage anyone who hasn’t to stop by before Sunday.”

Capitol Park Museum is open Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Since Saturday and Sunday are the final days of the exhibit, there is a special discount ticket price of $5.

The hearse exhibit will move to New Orleans for an exhibit at the Morial Convention Center expected to open in February.