Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God says, "Out on Highway 61."
Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, also known as the storied Highway 61, is famous for its sketchy motels. Sketchy motels are an essential part of our cultural heritage: that's where nearly all the murdering and philandering and all sorts of untoward business goes down. Just look at every movie from No Country For Old Men to...well, almost every other movie ever.
It was at one of these Airline motels a little further south, Sugar Bowl Courts, where Jimmy Swaggart met with disgrace in 1987, along with his ladyfriend the prostitute. They don't still exist in the numbers they used to, but kind of shockingly, these mom & pop motels do still exist in this era of chain hotels and motels.
A few such establishments have already appeared here on Abandoned Baton Rouge: Ten Flags Inn and The Bellemont, the latter which you can see in happier days above. All of the historic "before" postcards in this post were found online or otherwise by Ken Freeman and posted on his website dedicated to remembering his hometown, Alexandria Retrospective. After he contacted me recently, the historic postcard section about Baton Rouge on his website gave me a new idea for finding sites for this blog: work backwards from historic photos and their addresses. Seeing those motel postcards prompted me to make a trip to Airline and see what was still standing.
The exercise reinforced a lesson I've been learning: seek and you shall find.
Oak Manor was apparently too Tudor for this world, for this is what holds its place today:
Right across the street:
Still going, although that pool has been filled in with gravel.
Next, Wood Acres.
Yes, Wood Acres is still open, in fact, here is an online review of the motel:
|Wood Acres Motel is the good for long distance traveler, Good Bed, warm water, Color Cabel TV with lot's of variety channels, Direct dial phones and Cheap. This is the best compare to price you get every things here.|
I called Wood Acres, and the phone was answered by someone I strongly suspected to be online reviewer Hiren.Vel Rose here was also still in effect.
But now I want you to look closely, because the Hollywood Motel has changed quite a bit.
The sign in this next postcard is still mostly there, as you'll see in the second modern-day photo.
It appears the Hollywood Motel has gone from West Wing and South Wing, to Wing Nut.
Selections from the signs out front of the former Hollywood and former Admiral Motel: One Bad Ass Mistake, America. No You Can Not ( x 5), an endorsement for Fox News, a Wake Up, America. Also:
WARNING: DRUG DEALERS AND PROSTITUTES ARE NOT WELCOME ON THIS PROPERTY.
You just know this is the kind of place where the guy (certainly a guy) inside is armed and waiting for the shit to go down. Seeing that the warning sign included illustrations of crossed weapons, I was very conscious of being mowed down on suspicion of being a drug dealer and/or prostitute and/or general harlot/ jezebel/ fornicator/ abortionist/ godless commie lib'ral. Hence, it was a very quick visit to this self-proclaimed Cajun Safe Haven.
Dishonorable mentions: The Alamo, not technically on Airline/61, but just as shady: Read about it here.
I took the road further, across the Mississippi River, over the Huey Long Bridge, and found some more abandoned/ questionably occupied seediness, followed by a patch of the way I imagine Airline/ 61 used to look.
And below, the second establishment featuring askew cocktail glasses in the immediate vicinity:
Don't miss the murderous barking hounds. I didn't! It's hard to miss multiple beasts yelling at you that they want to tear your throat out. But most curious of all is the hound facing the door despite the din, as if listening to its master's voice. What, exactly, is going on inside Nick's? In the interest of my getting out of this town alive, pretend I didn't ask.
And finally, here's what Airline may have once looked like (the parts that weren't seedy motels, restaurants, etc.).