Luke Lognion lives out his Work Downtown, Play Downtown initiative by leading some of the city’s biggest events

Luke Lognion dreamed of being a magician when he was younger. Today, he’s not waving a wand, but he is making magic in downtown Baton Rouge through his retail concept and his community involvement.

Originally from Lake Charles, Lognion moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU and planted his roots here at the start of the pandemic. That’s when he moved to Spanish Town with his now-husband, Garrett Kemp. Together, the couple owns local arts and antiques shops Circa 1857 in Mid City and BRASS by Circa 1857 downtown.

“During the pandemic, I just saw the creative community of Baton Rouge,” he says. “Outdoor activities became the thing. Through J. Hover’s kind of renaissance of Beauvoir Park and Live After Five going on, Baton Rouge had a lot to offer that I didn’t want to leave.”

When Lognion, 30, isn’t behind the checkout counter, organizing displays or helping artists bring in items to consign at BRASS, he can now be found helping other downtown organizations put on some of the same events that attracted him to the Capital City years ago.

In January, Lognion was named managing director of Live After Five, one of the city’s largest outdoor music series produced by the Downtown Business Association. That same month, he was named director of the Baton Rouge Arts Market, held in conjunction with the Red Stick Farmers Market on the first Saturday morning of the month. He also serves on the board of directors for downtown’s Baton Rouge Blues Festival and Foundation. In these roles, he does everything from advertising for the events and attending meetings to approving artist and musician lineups and finding sponsors.

“Baton Rouge has historically been a very segregated city—in terms of race, in terms of socio-economic status and geography,” he notes. “Oftentimes, these areas of Baton Rouge never mingle together, but downtown is the place where all of Baton Rouge comes. Downtown is the heart of Baton Rouge. And the live music festivals and just every other festival are what keeps the heart healthy.”

Lognion also recognizes that downtown is a hub for workers. So much so that he founded an initiative titled Work Downtown, Play Downtown in 2022 to encourage downtown professionals to stay around after work hours and enjoy local businesses.

Though revitalizing downtown is one of his passions, Lognion knows it’s also one he shares with many in the community. He acknowledges there are other like-minded people striving for change and encourages more people to get out and love the neighborhood, too.

“Downtown has so much potential,” he says. “The thing that I love about Baton Rouge is that it is thriving from change. And, if you want to make a difference, people are so receptive to anybody jumping in.”

This article was originally published in the April 2024 issue of 225 magazine.