March 08, 2017
Above, a photo of the leaders of the 1923 YMCA fundraising building campaign that helped raise enough money to construct the first Baton Rouge YMCA on Fourth Street in 1925. Below, Taylor Porter's co-founder B.B. Taylor sent out the first building campaign letter to businesses in 1917. (Photos courtesy of YMCA)
On Jan. 10, 1917, Taylor Porter co-founder Benjamin B. Taylor, who served as the first President of the Baton Rouge YMCA, sent a letter to businesses asking for their help in raising $50,000 in six days to provide for Baton Rouge a Modern Young Men’s Christian Association Building.
In a letter titled, “A Civic Movement to Meet a Civic Need,” Taylor wrote: “No city today is complete without a modern Young Men’s Christian Association – an every man’s every day club; comfortable, but not costly; good, not goody-good, and intensely practical. At a largely attended Citizen’s Dinner Conference last night the proposition of raising a fund with which to provide an up-to-date building was thoroughly discussed, and it was unanimously voted to enter at once into a campaign to secure $50,000, with which to accomplish this purpose. … What Other Cities Have Done, Baton Rouge Can Do.”
Taylor's appeal to the local business community gave life to the YMCA in Baton Rouge, and 100 years later, the YMCA of the Capital Area will celebrate its centennial anniversary with a special Celebration Gala on Friday, March 10, at the Raising Cane’s River Center. The event includes dinner, cocktails and entertainment. Taylor Porter is a sponsor of this celebratory achievement.
Today, the YMCA of the Capital Area serves 12,000 members with nine facilities in the Baton Rouge region, from the Dow Westside YMCA in Addis to its newest location, the Americana YMCA in Zachary.
The Y, as it is affectionately called, received its charter on Jan. 30, 1917, but the building campaign that Taylor and the Y’s first board member committee launched, only raised $9,000, as a result of a pervasive fear of war and failing economy. Three months later, on April 6, 1917, the United States formally entered World War I.
Continuing under Taylor’s leadership as Board Chairman (1917-1940), the Y tried to fundraise again in 1923, and this time, was successful – raising $106,000 from 2,270 donators, and building the Y’s first facility on Fourth Street in the downtown area. The building opened in 1925, and cost $125,000. Joining Taylor on the Building Campaign Leaders committee in 1923 was his business partner and Taylor Porter’s other co-founder, Charles Vernon Porter.
The law firm of Taylor Porter opened in 1912 when Benjamin B. Taylor and Charles V. Porter formed a law partnership with offices in the Reymond Building located on Third Street. The partnership of Taylor and Porter continued in active practice until 1917, when both members enlisted in the army to serve in World War I. After the war, the firm reopened to continue the commitment to excellence in the practice of law.
In 2012, Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, celebrated its 100th year anniversary in downtown Baton Rouge.
Today, Taylor Porter has more than 75 attorneys and an equally-large professional staff serving the interests of its clients. In the tradition of its founders, the firm is committed to excellence and quality representation, and Taylor Porter is one of the oldest, largest and most respected law firms in Louisiana, representing a diverse range of local, regional, national and international clients in the most complex transactions and litigation across a variety of industries.
Over the years, Taylor Porter has continued its relationship with the YMCA of the Capital Area with several of its attorneys volunteering their time on the board of directors.