BATON ROUGE – With days left in the office, outgoing Mayor-President of Baton Rouge Kip Holden said that he is leaving behind a tough year.
"This year has been more trying matter of fact, so trying, I switched from Rogaine to Brogaine to get more hair," Holden joked.
Holden's first test in office was dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that impacted the Gulf Coast in 2005.
"We had some people who had vowed that they were going to run over Baton Rouge. When I heard that on the news the first year, I said for those thugs who are robbing, raping and looting, if you think you can come to Baton Rouge because we are a smaller city, I have news for you. We will give you shelter, and it's won't be the Red Cross, it will be jail," Holden said.
Holden said that the city became stronger following the storm, but then 2016 hit. From the shooting deaths of police officers and a sheriff's deputy to the flood, along with the shooting death of Alton Sterling, 2016 was a hard year.
Holden said that he is concerned about when a decision from the Department of Justice will be released on the case and advised citizens to remain calm when it is announced.
"We are supposed to be civilized. Don't act like animals and like you have no training," Holden said.
Holden's accomplishments were often overshadowed at times of controversy and he received criticism from the community about his visibility. He said that critics should not have assumed so quickly.
"I would say to them, don't be too quick to rush to judgment. Why don't you sit down and see what they're doing before making up your mind without facts," Holden said.
Holden credits his hard work with a booming downtown, wider roads, the Green Light Plan, festivals and a more unified community.
"I leave my record to say this. Look at where we are. Look where we come from. Look at how people are getting together. We don't have racial strife here," Holden said.
Holden said that he exits the office with fulfilled dreams as mayor.
"The people here blessed me with being mayor for three terms. I can tell you one of the greatest experiences in my life. If you have a dream keep pushing. If they knock you down, get back up," Holden said.
Holden said that he wishes incoming Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome luck and he will return to practicing law at a private practice following his departure.