Camelot Club announces closing in downtown Baton Rouge: 'It is a sad day for all of us' _lowres

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Camelot Club in Baton Rouge in 2012.

The Camelot Club, a 49-year-old private club and downtown Baton Rouge institution, announced Friday it is closing.

In a message posted on the club’s Facebook page, Tom Tanner, president, said “declining membership and a dramatic increase in rent” forced the club to close at 5 p.m. Friday.

For nearly a half century, the club held a prime downtown location, on the 21st floor of Chase Bank’s South Tower at the corner of Fourth and Florida streets. The club’s website says the location offered diners what was “arguably the very best view in the city” with “near-perfect panoramas” of the Mississippi River, the State Capitol, downtown, LSU and Tiger Stadium.

In a letter to members, Tanner said the club had explored all of its options, and closing was the only course of action. The club will try to help those who scheduled events there to find another location.

“It is a sad day for all of us,” he said.

Tanner could not be reached for further comment Friday.

Michele Casi, the leasing agent for the South Tower, said she could not comment until she checked with the building’s owner.

Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District, said he was sorry to see a great contributor to downtown close.

Taylor Porter Managing Partner Harry J. “Skip” Phillips said the law firm moved into the building in 1967, the same year the Camelot Club and the building opened.

“A number of our lawyers have had memberships there for a long, long time. So we frequented it and used the Camelot Club for our firm functions for several years,” Phillips said.

The club was convenient for Taylor Porter and other occupants of the tower, Phillips said. Taylor Porter had a social event there last Thursday.

“It’s really sad to see it close,” Phillips said.

Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.