Chamber announces program

Published 5:54 am Friday, May 12, 2017

The Bogalusa Chamber of Commerce, located in the flood plain across from Cassidy Park, lost a lot in the March 2016 floods, when the building was overwhelmed with more than four feet of water and sand.

Executive director Marilyn Bateman said the chamber lost everything made of paper that was stored below the water line, including photographs, in its many files of historical data.

And although Bateman has been around to oversee the repairs and cleanup, the time has come when the Bogalusa Chamber is back open for business. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fridays.

“We have nothing to give out but the latest Washington Parish phone book,” she said. “Maps, postcards, books of information on Bogalusa, old newspapers and scrapbooks and much more is gone. But the Internet and phone and message recorder, that went through the water, are all working now.”

Bateman said the chamber plans to post a slide show of “before” and “after” photographs on Facebook.

“Getting back in service has been an ordeal, and if you’ve not been through a flood it’s hard to imagine the process,” she said. “We really appreciate the businesses that stuck with us, and we will have an ‘Open House’ sometime in the future.”

But when Bateman realized that “so much is now on Facebook or online” it gave her the idea to start a photograph/video “Virtual Business Expo” of chamber members. The plan is to go alphabetically by category — such as “A” for attorneys, “B” for banks and so on.

“We’ll begin with the ‘A’ category and work our way through the alphabet, extolling the self-preservation of our city’s businesses, non-profits and organizations by inviting you to view them on our website and on Facebook so you can visit ‘local first’ for your needs,” she said. “Our very talented intern will be asking if you prefer photo or video when we visit your place, so be thinking and planning your virtual chamber member presence.”