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May 27, 2008

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Randy

I didn't realize that place was abandoned. Ron Paul spoke there only a few months ago.

Jules

Very cool.

Alexis

Our HS prom was in the Great Hall. I think there was some Katrina relief efforts based there also. That carpet is the most telling though.

Alistair

There have been a lot of businesses in Baton Rouge that just couldn't bring themselves to admit that they were being shuttered for good. The favorite phrase for this seems to be "closed for remodeling." I can't tell you how many signs have said that for years and years around here. Is this a pride thing? Why would a one-location store or restaurant care about its PR after the decision to shut down has already been made?

therese

Wow- can you liberate that round couch/lounge/settee thing?

jason

Love that photo of that shedding dogwood (?) in the hall.
Beautiful!

cokane

Randy, The Great Hall is where RP spoke, that's the only building that's still open.

Alexis, interesting--am going to get to the Katrina factor in part two...

Alistair, I don't know, it's sad. I guess they don't want to give up the dream.

Therese, if I could, it would be in dominating my living room and I would be doing Pee-Wee Herman impressions while lying down on it. The lobby is locked, though.

Thanks Jason!

The Mighty Favog

The Port-au-Princification of my hometown continues apace. Once upon a time, the Bellemont Motor Hotel (as it was known when I was a kid) was among the nicer places in town.

John Wayne lived there when he was filming The Horse Soldiers in 1959, for example. And I remember when the studios of WLUX radio (before its Jimmy Swaggart and black gospel incarnations) were in the Bellemont.

Sigh.

If you haven't read it already, now is the time for you to pick up Walker Percy's "Love in the Ruins." The flora growing inside the lobby resonates.

Absotively metaphorical.

For that matter, in Red Stick, places don't even have to be abandoned to LOOK abandoned. Such is the case of my old high school, which I believe is in your neck of the woods.

http://revolution-21.blogspot.com/2007/11/unfit-for-bums-just-fine-for-your-kids.html

Follow all the links in the story. You'll get an eyeful of why they're going to tear down the whole thing except for the historic main building, which will be renovated.

BTW, you know the abandoned New Developments building from September? New Developments was a commercial photo lab, and before that building housed the photo lab, it was the early home of Baton Rouge's late, lamented alternative paper, Gris Gris.

Local political columnist John Maginnis was the founding editor.

Among my favorite cover stories from back in the day:

http://revolution-21.blogspot.com/2007/11/favogs-dont-come-from-nowhere-or-people.html

Kartek

Too bad about that awesome chair. Although I think if you can rescue it now, you may not want it. The floor is alive after all. Who knows what's living in the chair!

Kartek

Too bad about that awesome chair. Although I think if you can rescue it now, you may not want it. The floor is alive after all. Who knows what's living in the chair!

vl100butch

damn, a billy cannon picture....

Pat Travasos

The Bellemont back in the 70's was the home for the Louisiana Band Directors Convention. We had great times there and if I can remember there was a lounge that was the "place" to be in Baton Rouge.
So sad to see the building in such bad condition.

James

The Bellemont had a really wild lounge back in the mid 1960s! The telephone operators got off work at midnight and there would be a stampede of guys headed toward them at the first note of a slow dance...

We had conferences there in the 70s and 80s and it was still pretty nice.

James

The Bellemont had a really wild lounge back in the mid 1960s! The telephone operators got off work at midnight and there would be a stampede of guys headed toward them at the first note of a slow dance...

We had conferences there in the 70s and 80s and it was still pretty nice.

TODD

THE OWNERS OF DJ BEAUTY SUPPLY WERE TWO OLD LADYS WHO RECENTLY PASSED AWAY, WITH NO ONE TO LEAVE THERE MONEY TOO. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ALL THIS? THESE PICTURES COULD BE ANY TOWN IN THE US.

camille

The Bellmont WAS the place to be in the 50's & 60's. My father & uncle were bellboys there for years. During the filming of the movie "Long Hot Summer" Paul Newman & JoAnn Woodward stayed there. My dad took me to see them lounging around the pool & I got autographed pictures of them which I sold in adulthood for some nice change. Clark Gable & Yvonne DeCarlo also stayed there during the filming of "Band of Angels" in 1959. It was a grand old place in it's day. So sad to see it go.

Brad

I remember the belmont form high school. In the 90's the state FFA convention was held there. It was a most beautiful hotel. The lobby was so quaint and historic looking. The grand ballrooms were amazing. I ate in the restaurant where u see the roof collapsed. I cannot believe noone has bought and renovated the place, but i did hear was just a bad neighborhood. I cant express the fond memories of the times we had there, not so long ago, (1990 - 1994).

Vanessa

I went to an event there about two months ago, and we're planning on having our wedding there Oct. 2010. They have a little hotel/apartments that they don't rent to public anymore.

Denise

I was hoping to attend a talent showcase at the Bellemont Hotel Center. I didnot know it was that torn up on the inside.

Julie

I attended a library convention there while in middle school in the early 80's and had great memories of a beautiful place. Imagine my horror having recently relocated to Baton Rouge from TN to drive past it on my way to the airport and see it in such disarray. I wish someone could renovate it. It was a lovely lady in her heyday.

Monique

This blog has flooded me with so many memories of the Bellmont:
When I was a wee little girl, my mom and grandmother used to take my sister and I swimming in their pool.
Later, just before starting at LSU, I worked as a hostess in the Orleans Room. It was here that I was first introduced to wine. Robert Mondavi, I believe. And the Brella Lounge-it was small but cozy with a lady tending bar (her name escapes me) that had probably been there since I went swimming in their pool as a kid. I remember that time fondly. I was working there the winter that Exxon blew up-it shook the place like an earthquake. Very frightening stuff.
That same winter, BR experienced a severe freeze. The hotel offered all of its employees a hotel room, should they need it, if their pipes froze/burst. My mother and I stay 2 nights one their gracious dime.
In college, I accompanied a friend to a dance at the Great Hall. That was probably in 1990/1991-that was the last time a step through their doors.

Liz

Ha, I went to a rave there in the late 90s

sharron courville

has anyone purchased the famous Bellmont Hotel of Baton Rouge, Louisiana?

Kenneh Berryhill

I heard that the old Bellmount was an Shelter for ex cons, is that true ?

T

So is anything going to be done with this property, or are they (whoever they are) going to let it continue to waste away?

Jamie Brookover David

My family stayed here in 1996. I am so sad that this place is closed. Its a damn shame thats for sure. I wish i had the money to restore it to when it was a place for presidents to stay. Makes me sick to my stomach to know its just wasting away.

Kathy Carbone

I have to agree with the comment about the furniture. They are truly exquisite for their condition. It's kind of sad that a thing of beauty like this hotel was abandoned. It still has some potential left in it, I hope someone who revive it.

Eugene Head

Kind of sad that a structure this majestic is closed. The furniture, although old and worn-out, still seems life-like and vivid, to the point of being considered as works of art.

van thomas

My grandfather used to manage it back in the 50's and 60'. My dad worked there as a teenager. Then later my grandfather went on to manage the Oak Manor otel in the late 60's and early 70's. Both hotels where owned by A. C. Lewis

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1256443932

I think this is where Bette Davis and Joan Crawford stayed during the making of the movie Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte? Crawford eventually walked off the film and was replaced by Olivia de Havilland.

cokane

Thanks to all those who continue to comment and add their memories and knowledge of this place. Regarding the last comment--Very cool, I didn't know that! If I'm remembering right, Bette & Joan reportedly had a physical fight where they were rolling around on the lawn in front of the plantation house where that was filmed.

maninthemist

Is there anyone that has any information pertaining to the History of the LSU Tigers Painting of the 1959 Game that hung in the Belmont Hotel Lobby. ie: Who the artist was and exactly when it was painted? Please contact me at maninthemist1@cox.net. Thanks!

Kerry Lynn Davis

I passes by the great hall today. It's gone too much work to be done there, it may be easier to just tear it down. Don't forget people was murder there also.

RoPo

My husband and I went by there yesterday and today. Took pictures and bought a few things from the on site demo manager. Got 2 tables and a picture of Rosedown Plantation for $20 yesterday and went back today to get the mural in the lobby of the American Liberties (Mt. Rushmore, Statue of Liberty, Iwo Jima, etc) and got some dishes and trash cans with The Bellemont logo and Oak Manor logo on them. I'm trying to find out who the artist is. It's signed L.Saurant or something like that. If anybody knows, please email me at ropolitz@cox.net. I'm not sure if it's the same artist as the one that painted the Billy Cannon mural. The demo co. owner (Patrick) said he donated that mural to LSU which I was happy to hear about. Also FYI, the place that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford stayed was Houmas House. And yes, they did have a physical fight there! Thanks, Colleen, for continuing to post as you can on this site. I hope you post your new pics of The Bellemont's demolition from your recent trip here. ~Rosie Politz~

helen

I used to work there
surronding area was all of drugies and prostitues its was scary but i was new in this contry and i needed job so i worked there for 2and half yrs at some point i was svcared little more everyday
but the lobby and office and convention hall beautiful
big place sad no1 had enough to take care of that place
so many homeless and drug user around at some point i think hotel even gave up

Jude Wyble

And now...it's gone.

Joe Messina

It's a shame that this facility is lost to history. I had worked for an engineer who's office was located in the Bellemont in the 60's. I assisted in the design of most of the front of the building the two story guest rooms in the rear of the complex,the Great Hall and many of the owner's other facilities. I knew the owner A. C. Lewis real well and also assisted in designing his 32,000 square foot home. He was a very interesting person and business man. One day I had an opportunity to meet with him and John Wayne at the coffee shop. John Wayne was in a union uniform and he was so tall that he had to duck going through the brick arches in the coffee shop. Mr Lewis brought a lot of named talent with the movie industry to this area. He also brought in good musical talent as well to the Plantation Lounge.

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