LAPLACE – Friends, relatives and associates of the Baloney family celebrated the grand opening of the new multipurpose building with a double ribbon cutting ceremony and banquet on Monday in LaPlace. The 32,000 square-foot building, La Belle Place, is the new location for the Baloney Funeral Home, Broussard Law Firm, reception hall and conference center. The building is the first of its kind in the community.
Geri Broussard Baloney, a Garyville attorney, and her husband, Carl Baloney Sr., owner of the Baloney Funeral Home, saw a unique opportunity to bring new life to the space that formerly housed the Good Housekeeping furniture store. It was not an easy road, however. The couple experienced major set backs because of Hurricane Isaac. Geri Baloney said she is relieved the project, which spanned 18 months, is finally complete.
“I feel quite a bit of relief that we were able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and move from one phase to the next. I slept last night, and I haven’t been sleeping very well,” she said. “We had construction delays, which I now know is par for the course. Then we had Hurricane Isaac, in which we lost about two-thirds of the roof. It was rough. When I walked in after Isaac it looked like a waterfall in some of the rooms. But we got in here, and we kept on going. Now we can get out and market the business and service the community.”
Both the Broussard Baloney Law Firm and the Baloney Funeral Home relocated from Garyville. Baloney feels the businesses will benefit from the new centralized location.
The center’s banquet hall can accommodate up to 990 people for weddings, business meeting, parties and special events. The grand banquet room features crystal chandeliers, a triple-arched entryway, wood dance floor and state-of-the-art sound system.
As a wedding location, La Belle Place provides an intimate setting for rehearsal dinners, space for a bride’s boudoir and an elegant chapel that is designed to flow seamlessly into the main reception area. In addition to the location, La Belle Place will also offer floral services, on-site catering, wedding planning and honeymoon packages.
Baloney said she is surprised and grateful for the turnout at the building’s grand opening. The banquet garnered the attention of community figures such as Sheriff Mike Tregre and Parish President Natalie Robottom. Several parish council members and state representatives also made an appearance.
“I’m astonished. I knew that there was a lot of interest, but I didn’t expect to have such diverse interest,” she said.
The Baloneys feel La Belle Place fills a need in the community in addition to adding more jobs to the St. John Parish economy.
“Our location, halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is phenomenal. La Belle Place is going to provide a service that virtually does not exist. For an upscale reception hall or venue, typically you’d have to go to a high school gymnasium or a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall,” said Baloney. “We will have an opportunity to bring a lot to the parish that we’ve been missing.”