The Louisiana cities of Baton Rouge and Shreveport are poised to accommodate a variety of group events, as each destination boasts a strong lineup of spaces that host everything from conventions and tradeshows to receptions and banquets.

While Baton Rouge’s Raising Cane’s River Center, the city’s convention center, and the Shreveport Convention Center serve as each community’s main meetings facility, there are also many hotels with ample function space to handle group business.

Among them are the recently renovated Baton Rouge Marriott, featuring 299 rooms and nearly 30,000 square feet of event space; Cook Hotel and Conference Center at LSU, also in Baton Rouge; Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel; Hilton Shreveport; and Wyndham Garden Shreveport.

Beyond these traditional options to take care of your next event, there are unique off-site venues to choose from as well, including the following six standout options that welcome groups for special and memorable occasions.

Marlene Yu Museum, Shreveport

It follows that the circa-1950s building that was originally a YWCA eventually became the home of the works of a female artist.

Shreveport’s first contemporary art museum showcases the creations of Marlene Yu, who celebrated her 80th birthday this year. 

Her renowned large-scale murals are inspired by glaciers, avalanches, geysers, black holes and other natural wonders, and in recent years she has considered the effects of climate change in her paintings. 

According to Stephanie Lusk, the museum’s director, the museum has hosted corporate events, business meetings, cocktail receptions, fundraisers, galas and more. 

“The main exhibition hall is a large space with 20-foot ceilings that can accommodate large groups,” she said. “The walls are draped from ceiling to floor with large-scale abstract paintings of nature by the artist.”

Lusk noted a grand staircase with green rails was designed as an abstract interpretation of a rainforest and leads into the exhibition hall.

Other spaces include the Emerald Center, which has a small stage for meetings and overlooks the courtyard, and the Rainforest Art Foundation Gallery, which has 12-foot ceilings and seats up to 200 people.

“We will be renovating the courtyard and pool areas for use as future event space options,” Lusk added. “And any event could include a guided tour of the exhibitions.”

Capitol Park Museum, Baton Rouge

Situated amid history and culture in the shadows of the Louisiana State Capitol, Capitol Park Museum welcomes groups.

 The museum has hosted many successful cocktail parties, networking functions, presentations and seated dinners, according to Ashley Pierce, events coordinator. 

“Our facility is a bare-bones structure, and all vendors including catering must be brought in,” she said. “With the help of our friendly staff, museum events are memorable and easy to plan.”  

The museum is a modern space with glass, marble, granite and corrugated metal, and the outdoor covered plaza offers a spectacular ground-level view of the Louisiana State Capitol. 

Upon entering the lobby, groups will note a permanent art structure, River of Memories, which symbolizes the Mississippi River, and the multipurpose ballroom features a recently refurbished tile mosaic by acclaimed artist Conrad Albrizio. 

“With over 69,000 square feet of museum and event space, our museum is truly one of a kind,” Pierce said. 

Total ground floor event space, she added, can host up to 500 people seated, split between two spaces, and 1,000 people cocktail-style. Group tours can be arranged to coincide with an event.

Great Raft Brewing, Shreveport 

Shreveport went dry nine years before Prohibition, and in 2013 Great Raft Brewing sold the first locally produced beer in over 100 years. 

The brewery has hosted everything from private corporate functions to football-watching parties to seated dinners. The brewery itself is available for group rentals and features a private event space. 

“Any group using the space is free to hire the caterer of their choosing,” said Founder/Vice President Lindsay Nations. “Additionally, if looking for something a little more full-service, we can partner with one of the local caterers or food trucks to offer a comprehensive package.”