Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center to Reopen Historic “Tunnel”
Premier downtown private dining venue to revitalize legendary tunnel used by Huey P. Long

The Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center will be reopening its legendary dining venue, The Tunnel. The Tunnel, once an escape route used by Governor Huey P. Long, will be a luxury private event and dining space. The venue will include the 1928 Stage, an intimate stage area perfect for singers, small bands and quartets. An elegant cocktail area, called the Standing Room, will be decorated with historic photos from the Long estate and a 10’ x 12’ portrait of Long. The Tunnel’s private dining area will be both stylish and comfortable. The room will be warm with exposed brick, rich fabric accents and warm wood floors. This exclusive venue will seat 30 people and feature a signature gourmet menu fit for The Kingfish himself.

“It has long been our goal to bring The Tunnel back to life, and life back to The Tunnel” said Mark Van Amerongen, Chief Operating Officer for Prism Hotels & Resorts. “The heritage of this hotel is tied to its extraordinary legacy. Since the property reopened in 2006, Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center has embraced its unique place in Louisiana history. Having The Tunnel open and operating brings an important part of that history to life. It will be a great asset to the hotel and a welcomed addition to the Baton Rouge community.”

In 1928 Huey P. Long, one of the state’s most colorful characters, was elected governor of Louisiana. In the 1930's, he oversaw construction of the new State Capitol building. The Heidelberg Hotel, located just four blocks from the capitol, served as the Louisiana State Capitol during a dispute between Long and Lt. Governor Paul Cyr. When Long was elected as senator, he refused to relinquish his duties as governor and Cyr set up operations in the hotel.

In the 1930’s, Long created one of the unique unknown features of the hotel – he discovered a secret underground passageway from the Heidelberg Hotel (now the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center) to the former King Hotel across the street. Long used the tunnel to dodge the press when they stood outside the hotel.

One of the truly unique parts of The Tunnel is the Railcar Room, an exact replica of a 1930’s railcar similar to one Long would have traveled on. The Railcar coach’s windows will feature a light sequence simulating the train in motion. The visuals at the back of the railcar will rotate between the moving track and Long giving his famous “Share Our Wealth Speech.” The Railcar Room will shed additional historic light on the venue, paying tribute to Huey P. Long’s election to the Louisiana Railroad Commission in 1918. As Governor, he used this position to fight monopolies and utility rates, winning favor with the working people.

“With the history of Huey P. Long combined with the unique and luxe design elements in The Tunnel, we have a great opportunity to once again make the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center the home of history in Baton Rouge” said Russell Lear, General Manager of Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. “We deliver best-in-class service, and our place in history gives us an edge in the marketplace. The 1928 Stage pays tribute to the year Long was elected as governor of Louisiana. That combined with the replica of the interior of a 1930’s Railcar, allows us to register The Tunnel and its interactive display with the Louisiana Tourism Board. This will become a must-see destination in downtown Baton Rouge and bring great joy to our guests.”

BJW Construction is the design and construction team behind the project. Their challenge was to integrate the many elements from the era and design this space as a historical site that tourists from around the world will visit and admire.

The Tunnel will launch with a soft opening in mid-November and will begin accepting reservations for private events by the beginning of the 2019 Holiday season.


For more information contact Jamie Turnage at jturnage@hiltonbr.com or 225-906-5751.