Hi everybody, amd Merry Christmas! We're not allowed to say that up here in New York City, where there is a War On Christmas! Just kidding! It's been far too long since I last posted, so here is a long-planned update on your favorite ABR sites, a la at the end of movies when it's like,
The following post sat idling in draft form probably a year ago or more, as I added a note here and a photo there. I never got to take all the hoped-for photos before moving, but here we are. If anyone wants to supply missing shots and/or more information, I'll be happy to credit you.
But don't think of it as an epilogue for a dead blog; only one that is mostly dead. Consider this also a call for suggestions: I need more curious abandoned sites to feature on ABR. I'll be back in town briefly in April and would love to shoot photos for future posts.
PLACES THAT WENT KAPUT
Comparatively few of the structures covered in this blog have been demolished. Only the most historic one was: The Turkish Baths! Just kidding, it's probably not the most historic site, but the former gym and spa is mourned, though not as bitterly as the geodesic dome, demolished before my arrival to town.
Here's two views from the last days of old Romano's Pack & Save, after that, err, accidental fire caused extensive damage.
... and just after it got leveled (note the sign still stands):
PLACES THAT CHANGED
Mitiellos, subject of the first Abandoned Baton Rouge post, got more boarded up, as did the adjacent supermarket. When I needed to have heel tips put on my vintage wedding shoes, I patronized the business' new location, which may be the first time a company got business from someone because they were a fan of its abandoned previous location. As I recall, the new place looked like they retained some of the original shoe cubbies and signage.
Atlas Optical never was abandoned, though it still looks it. But they changed the fonts and replaced the giant old Diana Prince-esque model eyeglass frames.
The new frames (above) don't look any more modern, just less cool. I wonder what they did with the former ones (below):
AAA Cleaners, however, became a bit more cool:
You can see more wheat paste poster art on two other abandoned sites nearby on Government Street: LoBianco's Gro and the Shell station (sorry to not have photos-- anyone?). According to the lively comment thread in the post about the pink grocery, old Joe LoBianco still lived on the premises until his death in April 2009.
Over on Florida, the former Louisiana Office Supply moved elsewhere and something else moved in, at the car repair shop that was very much in disrepair post-Gustav has been totally refurbished with a new auto-repair occupant, and UPT Restaurant/ club now appears to be in use as a garage or storage.
At the Book Exchange bookstore/ head shop / waterbed lifestyle supply shoppe, they cleared out brush and rubble at the front & a Dumpster appeared, and then stayed.
A school is right across the way (which I shot when bieng refurb'd, but am too lazy to dig on an external hard drive for the pics) so hopefully this structure will not lurk so sketchily nearby for much longer. Has anything new happened here in the half-year I've been gone?
A downtown building revealed by commenters to be a former school called EBRATS has been fondly and regretfully lamented by those who knew it.
A former tiny Government Street gas station is now a Little Caesars—you know, because there wasn't enough fake pizza in the area, with a Dominos two minutes away in one direction and a Pizza Hut two minutes in the other direction.
Winn Dixie is now a Piggly Wiggly. (Now it just has to change over to a Publix to achieve the Southern supermarket trifecta.)
The Cortana Mall store formerly occupied by Steve and Barry's is back as a local campus for Virginia College, according to one recent commenter.
The houses from the controversial State Street post, as of the time of my departure, were completely overhauled and lookin' good. Residents will still have to step around a pile of crusties asking for spare change on the way out to their cars, though.
I followed up with Everett, who told me the shows being shot there are Dragon Eyes and Flypaper.
Here's a building at 501 Government Street that I think got it right. It used to be a weird antique store that had kind of a loose definition of antiques (like, I remember a modern-era used unfinished wooden bookcase among the merchandise). Now it's the local HQ for Teach for America. I wish there were more like this example, creative repurposings of older structures that retain some of the original flavor.
With that, allow me to wish y'all a happy new year.