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February 11, 2008

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Alistair

I see troups of middle-school-age kids going in and out of this building in the summertime. Some kind of arts and crafts day camp, perhaps?

Alex V. Cook

This was the site of EBRATS - a charter school for "troubled" kids that shuttered its doors about a year ago

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/2580066.html

Brad Watkins

Yep. It was E-BRATS. It was purchased by Bob Dean last summer. The last thing I remember was an attempt by lawmakers to get special funding to renovate it via a TIF. Maybe for a budget hotel?

Alexis

EBRATS stands for East Baton Rouge Arts and Technology School. It wasn't just troubled kids that went there. I had family members transfer there from the gifted programs when they became fed-up with the system. I always got the impression it was for kids who learned better in "non-traditional" environments. Here's an article about the closing: http://www.redorbit.com/news/education/518623/closing_of_troubled_ebrats_emotional_for_students_staff/index.html

cokane

Oh man--sad! Thanks for the info, guys.

any nominous

My drug dealer graduated from there. She was the valedictorian.

ecs

I would NOT get in that elevator. Why would you intentionally make the doors look misaligned and therefore unstable?

kartek

That's too bad about ebrats. Probably not a good sign the elevator is misaligned and I'm guessing the outside clock doesn't show the correct time.

Jules

You must get so creeped out! I know I would. Really cool pics though. It's so sad how everything is so deserted there. Depressing!

cokane

any, haha! and now she's a successful entrepreneur.

ecs, good point.

kartek, yeah, the clock is stopped.

and jules, i do. but to be fair, not everything is so deserted. just a way higher percentage than what we're used to.

cokane

any, haha! and now she's a successful entrepreneur.

ecs, good point.

kartek, yeah, the clock is stopped.

and jules, i do. but to be fair, not everything is so deserted. just a way higher percentage than what we're used to.

pauls

I think this used to be the location of the Baton Rouge Water Company or Gulf States Utilities office many years ago.

Michael

If it was one, it was probably the Water Company. Gulf States is still next door; they're called Entergy now.

I vaguely remember the building itself from some 25 years ago when I first moved to BR. The clock had already stopped; across the street, the City Bank building was under construction.

Thanks for posting all the pictures, by the way. I was doing some internet searches and was directed to the site. Urban renewal is one of my interests, which means I'm also kind of drawn, in a weird way, to urban decay.

Lynn

Been a long, long time since that clock worked. As mentioned, it was the Gulf State Utilities building.

san francisco modern

You've got to love that clock! Now the question is, did Nelson take inspiration from something like this or did he invent the modern ball clock on his own?

great find!

Lamar

This building was originally a savings and loan; Pelican State S&L as I recall but I sure could be wrong about that. There used to be a plaque imbedded in an outside wall giving the specifics. They closed or were bought out and the building remained unused for a number of years. Then in 1992 it was purchased by an entrepreneur who rehabbed it then tried to sell it. He couldn't sell it so he leased it for the use of the Louisiana Office of Receivership of which I am an employee. That building was beautiful inside in many places with all-tile restrooms, marble and granite wall trim, and walnut panelled library and board room. We moved out in 1997 and to my knowledge it has remained vacant with just occasional occupants on the ground floor. One of the highlights of this building is the clock. It is electric and has a beautiful electro-magnetic carillon attached to it. Last I knew it still worked, too!

John Ozier

What a shame to have this fiasco in a downtown we are trying to resurrect!
If correct that Bob Dean owns this, he should be ashamed of himself. He should do something positive or find someone who will.

John

poseidun

You're all wrong...the clock shows the correct time, but only at 10:05

Bill B

This was originally Baton Rouge Savings and Loan which went under in the S&L bust of the early to mid 70's. It was a crazy world. About that same time I remember buying a 3 yr CD from another to be defunct S&L at a 20% per yr interest rate.

Joseph Robertson

That Building was the site of EBRATS, The East Baton Rouge Arts and Technology School. it was THE best high school in this city. the education offered there was non-traditional, but worked, and was exemplery, in addition, the student body had a major in role in the early revitalization of downtown, pouring money into the resturaunts and business downtown every day, working on fridays on volunteer projects to clean, or improve the streets, hold art shows, gave food to poor and homeless, and gave gifts to needy kids, and contributed greatly to the popularity of events such as Earth Day, Fest for All, and Live after Five.
the school shut because the state removed funding from the school and placed in it new orleans to build a new charter school (shutting down a functional one in the process)while the Landlord raised the Rent. many students who went there couldn't cope with the inferior education at public schools in baton rouge and dropped out as a result of the schools closing, and where the building once was a vibrant work of art in progress,a composite of the 150+ student bodies, hard work and creativity, it is now an abandoned, vandalized eyesore and a blight on our beautiful downtown area. this is damned shame, see what greed gets you? the owner wanted to get a business in the building to make some real money and so kicked out the school because the couldn't get funding, and now the building, (which was clearly rising in value due to the constant repairs and renovations done by the school) is nothing more than an ugly sad reminder of times past, and how downtown seems to have forgotten the place that gave the young a reason to spend time there.

matt

I graduated from EBRATS during its last year as a school, and I hate to say it but it gets much more credit than it deserves. While some of the teachers were great, the administration really gave the teachers absolute control over what these impressionable students learned on a daily basis. This was done to eliminate the need for text books and other "structured" learning devices in an attempt to teach outside the box. Sadly it resulted in very juvenile class work bordering on the asinine. Some examples include applying Paper Mache to balloons as an end of the year project, coloring in a map (I did that in fourth grade), and gluing mardi gras beads to card board. Sadly most of the students couldn't even accomplish these goals.
But for all its shortcomings it still had great things going for it that were poorly executed. Students would gather once a month for a town-hall like meeting in which each student was given an opportunity to stand and speak in front of the entire school. Issues were brought up and everyone discussed them as equals- teachers and students. Teachers were very receptive to the needs of students and everyone's voice was heard. Children who would probably be ignored at other schools were treated as individuals, boosting their self esteem. The arts were greatly emphasized, as was technology.
So realistically, EBRATS was catered a bit more towards troubled students, at least they comprised most of the student body. But at the same time many classes under nourished the needs of non troubled students. Either way I had a hell of a great time there.

Infuriated and Anonymous

SHAME ON YOU. None of those kids were "Troubled." Just because people think differently and learn differently doesn't make them troubled. Now some of those kids didn't make the best of choices, some of the dressed differently, some of them battled depression and psychological disorders, some of them had drug problems, some of them were perfectly normal. The mix of kids there was just like any other high school. Oh and you would not believe the talent of those kids, they were all brilliant, young minds just screaming to be fed information, art, technology, oh the things they created. No one even bothered to pay attention to the good things. It was the downtown area who was incredibly inhospitable holding a magnifying glass over teenagers waiting for them to mess up so they could point a a hypocritical finger. Perhaps if they hadn't all tucked tail and ran scared to get involved that school would have never closed and would be thriving. I know for a fact that that there were and still are more "Troubled" adults in Downtown baton rouge than those kids. I know which Lawyers and Businessmen do drugs and put coke up their noses and still operate their businesses down there. I know about the Dirty cops and the scandals of those who attend the city club. None of those people are perfect. Who are they to point a finger, to ruin a young child's chance at education, to be so ignorant of the next generation who will be running this world when those hypocrites are all food for worms? Fools! The whole lot of them were fools to close that school down.
They crushed so many dreams. SHAME ON THEM.

Kimberly Daniel

I This was once the home of EBRATS, East Baton Rouge Arts and Technology School. I went to school here. Some of my art is still in that building. Murals and artwork and journals are hidden in rooms and on walls. It was the most amazing school. I had the best times of my life there and I learned not only what is taught in the average school but I was taught to think for myself. I was allowed my individuality, my skills in art flourished and were nurtured. It made me grow up and showed me how the real world works. I learned valuable life lessons, I learned about other cultures and their society and much about the sick sad world we live in today. It has made me the person I am today. It made me want to be a better person. It made me want to better the world. I hope one day to open a Charter School of my own. I'll never forget it. That school was my home. Those people were my family. It broke my heart to see it go. Rest In Peace.

Dave

It was sad when EBRATS closed. I know a woman who worked there. They tried so hard to make it work, but could never get support to repair the aging building.

Forrest Taylor

this was ebrats East Baton Rouge Arts and Technology School. To me it was the best school in Louisiana!! EBRATS was a school were kids didnt want to skip school it was a home away from home and everyday i was excited to get up and go. The teachers were the best teachers iv ever had "Mr.Dunaway" & "Ms. Knowls" the coolest smartest teachers iv ever had. This school didnt sugar coat anything they told you how the world really was and what we would have to do to survive. They had great internship programs that actually landed me a good job for 2 years. I miss this school so damn much and all the people that went to it ! The back door is still open last i checked if you want to go in it. The clock was set to 4:20 for a while :) and if anybody from ebrats is reading this WASSUP MY LONG LOST HOMIE !!

*****R.I.P. E.B.R.A.T.S.*****


Fofo~Stilltippin

Lilly Manuel

I loved ebrats. It was the best time I ever had in school. I miss it, and wish that it was still open. Like Kim, some of my art is still in the building. Including two murals on the second floor. One outside Ms. Feliu's old room, in front of the closed off part of the second floor where we had the haunted house in 2005. And another at the end of the hallway outside an English classroom. I wish I could remember that teacher's name. She was a new teacher, I believe it was her first year of teaching. She was young, and very nice. She was my homeroom also. That school was a haven. Yes, some of the kids there were troubled, but that's the case with every high school. Unlike every high school, though, ebrats was not a place of cliques and bullying. Everyone knew everyone, because of the size, and most of us got along. We were taught tolerance and respect. Of everyone, regardless of the things that made them different. It was a lot like high school for hippies. I can remember sitting in the foyer in the art room, in a circle, listening to Trevor Jefferson play his guitar and sing, and just being so happy that I could go to a school like that. I am still friends with a lot of the people I met there. In fact, i met Summer, one of my best friends in the world, because of ebrats. I only went for one semester, in it's last year open, and that was over five years ago. I have many fond memories of the school, the teachers, and of being downtown. Having the freedom to explore downtown every day at school was an amazing thing. We had an hour for lunch of pure freedom. To go where we wanted, with who we wanted. A lot of us would eat our lunch on the levee. It was so much more peaceful than eating in a crowded cafeteria, surrounded by rules and teachers, and horrible kids. Ebrats was the highlight of my teenage years. Long live ebrats. Oh, and Forrest, congrats on moving to Hawaii. Kim, I miss your advice.

Makeda Joshua

i went here many many years ago. as many have stated it was most definitely a home away from home. i had a problem with my learning, and i could learn hands on and EBRATS gave me that. If I could turn back the hands of time I would go there and do it all over again. This is school that should have been kept around for many kids of the future. Most of my best work came out while attending this school. To sad ny work went down right a long with it. It would be nice if my work could could show up but i know it wont. saddens me to see such a great school get closed.

Former EBRATS Teacher

The last occupant was EBRATS. I taught there one year. I really liked the school's founder Dr. Ted Demuro and his vision of education.

Most of the students there were nonconformists who found it difficult to "fit into" most EBR public or private schools that were affordable. There were some very gifted and artistic students and teachers at EBRATS.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, like many visionaries, Dr. Demuro put his trust in some people who were not loyal to him.

I left once he "resigned" because I would not put up with working for some of the very people whom I believed betrayed him to further their personal ambitions (Yes I'm talking about Ms. Duke for one.) I was not the only teacher who felt that way and was not the only one to leave either.

later Ms. Duke and the rest of those involved in the coup ran the school into the ground, in my opinion. Their mismanagement caused its closure, not the students or the teachers.

laci

I was at ebrats its last year. And thay was the best year I ever had in education. Public school was too slow for me, I felt like I was being dragged down to the less intelligent level of other kids causing me to be bored. I loved how hippie-esque the school was. As lilly said we were like a big family. Everyone knew everyone. I loved having class outside. And just doing silly things that a public achool would have suspended me for whereas ebrats teachers k new I wasny hurting anyone I was just expressing myself. People think becausr we went there we were troubled teens... so not true. I dropped out when the school closed becausr I tried going back to normal public school and I just couldn't do it. I felt more like I was in prison and it was never individualized teaching the way ebrats did.

However I am doing very well in nursing school so the education definitely wasn't lacking. Its very sad that they pushrd all of us away and yet the school is still standing there abondened. I cry everytime I go past the school.

D Odom

I’m excited to announce this building has been totally renovated. The New Holiday Inn Express Downtown Baton Rouge opened yesterday on June 29th.

This unique historical hotel offers different experiences in each room with the various historical features which remain as part of the National Park Service standards.
Originally the Baton Rouge Savings and Loan Association, the building is one of the few examples of low-rise International Style buildings in Louisiana, what was often called “modern architecture”. It showcases the new ideas prevalent in the 1950’s of what a financial institution should look like.

The clock on the outside, which is a Baton Rouge landmark, will be working again. The Tyme Stryke Tone Machine from the 50’s is also working and on display in the lobby. Blue lights will showcase the original limestone exterior. These are just some of the historical features that have been preserved and incorporated into the new architecture.

The building now lights up North Blvd at night with blue up lighting.

Please stop by for a tour when you are in the area.

Donna Odom
Director of Sales
Holiday Inn Express Downtown
225-379-3884
hiexpress.com/batonrougedwtn


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