The Guru, a new meeting space venue that plans to host art shows, live music, private receptions and dinners, will open Wednesday at 1857 Government St. in Baton Rouge.
Sidney Coffee said she’s wanted to open something like The Guru for about 35 years. Coffee is a senior adviser for America’s Wetland Foundation who also worked for several governors, including Buddy Roemer, Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco.
“This is something that I thought about for a long, long time,” said Coffee, sitting back in the funky space, decorated with candles and religious icons she picked up on her travels. A Buddha head sat at one end of the space, while Virgin Mary figures from Mexico and Peru shared space on the walls with smaller Buddha figures, including some from Cambodia. With all of the religious figures, it’s appropriate the first event being held at The Guru in advance of the official opening is a bat mitzvah.
Coffee said she wanted a place where people could hold classes and meditate that was tied in with healthy eating and a holistic approach toward life. After years of thinking about the idea, she decided to find a location for the venue.
The Circa 1857 complex on Government Street was the first place Coffee went to when she was looking for space. “I believe in what is happening on Government Street,” she said. “The Circa 1857 complex is about the closest thing we have right now to something that could be in Austin, (Texas).”
The space The Guru is occupying had once been a mechanic’s garage. That’s where the paint-splattered brick walls, 15-foot ceilings and sliding industrial doors come from.
The main meeting space is about 1,375 square feet. Coffee said she hopes to host a variety of events there, including art shows and musical performances put on by students from LSU and Southern University, receptions, dinners, showers and “dinner conversations” featuring unusual and interesting speakers.
“We want this to be extremely inclusive for the community,” she said. “We want people to feel comfortable and safe so they can have public discourse.”
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.