Cajundome director remains hopeful for future after major coronavirus losses

Posted at 9:43 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 23:22:04-04

LAFAYETTE — The entertainment industry essentially shut down right now due to COVID-19, and that means cancellations here in Lafayette at the Cajundome. The venue's directors are predicting a loss of $2,000,000 by 2021 if cancellations continue.

"We are not giving up. We are not giving up," Cajundome Director Pam Deville said.

Deville explained 95% of the Cajundome's revenue comes from events and concerts, which started being canceled in March, resulting in an expected two million dollar loss by the end of their fiscal year in October. The venue has already furloughed all of its employees and lost more than a million dollars.

"The thing that sustains us, live events, are not out on tour right now. They're all at home doing the same thing we are, hoping the government will release from captivity," Deville said. "The pandemic changed everything. When people become afraid of a facility, not because the facility, but the person sitting next them, that's a hard nut to crack."

Deville is now asking UL and state Senate President Page Cortez of Lafayette for help. In addition, Deville requested a loan from the Lafayette City Council at Tuesday's City Council meeting. In total, she says they need $575,000, hoping for a new HVAC system and thermal cameras that would take everyone's temperature in an effort to make the Cajundome safer.

"I have to admit, it was very frustrating knowing the city is in the same shape we are in, knowing that the mayor does not have the opportunity to write a check. That they are raffling with a lot more important issues in the community," Deville said.

The Guillory administrations says they want to help the Cajundome any way they can, but the pandemic means nothing is predictable.

"We don't know where we will be when we go into phase two, and what's going to happen as long as the state's concerned. But we're looking at all of the options," LCG Chief Communications Officer Jamie Angelle said.

Every year, the Cajundome receives $320,000 from the city, but Deville hopes they can loan the venue the additional money this year. She says that money would be paid back to the city immediately.

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