LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Ravi Daggula, with the investment group Sterling hospitality, and Clare Cook with Basin Arts, are renovating a World War II-era chapel on the Northside of Lafayette. It will be the new home of Basin Arts, where Clare hopes to bring more creativity to the area, and Ravi hopes more people will invest.
“People come to Lafayette for the culture. Music, food, and culture. The historic houses are a part of our culture, it talks about things that happened back in the day — good or bad,” Daggula said.
For the past four years, Daggula and his team have worked to restore some of the oldest buildings in the area, creating a national historic district called Sterling Grove. Now he wants others to invest in the Northside of town.
“Historically the railroad, even though it brought a lot of financial advantage to the town, it also divided the towns into rich and poor, and even sometimes racially. So this project I think will make people cross the barriers, cross the railroad tracks, and come this way and integrate,” Daggula explained.
Governor Edwards visited the new Basin Arts site on Jefferson Boulevard, and Daggula took the opportunity to press the Governor for more resources for the Northside. Since the Walmart and Piggly Wiggly in the area have closed, the only grocery store is a Super One Foods.
“We don’t have a place where we can get good food in a 3-mile radius. So you’re leaving people who don’t have a car without a grocery store. Now you’re forcing them to go into the gas stations and eat food from there, Daggula said.
“I think the reason for this interview should be to create awareness among people of Lafayette that the Northside exists, there are beautiful properties here,” Daggula explained. “It needs development, it needs public help, it needs infrastructure improvements, and money has to be put into Northside.”