Pictured above is my former neighbor, the Baton Rouge High School magnet school for arty kids, under renovation. From some accounts, BRHS was very much in need of this renovation.
There are many other ways that funds could be used in this state. For example, my favorite imaginary project is a train between BR and NOLA. So how did this particular project attract funds? Governor Jindal (not an arty kid, I would guess?) graduated from high school there in 1988, so one might perhaps have a little something to do with the other. UPDATE: It does not. I'm told these plans predate Jindy.
But the first thing I noticed upon return to town after nearly a year's absence, was that the midcentury-era supermarket shopping center that inspired the first-ever post on this blog has been razed.
Instead of just rubble, the footprint is dirt now. (Anyone care to farm this patch?)
On my extremely brief tour of the old stomping grounds, I passed by old subjects which had decomposed noticeably further in the months I'd been gone.
When you're not used to seeing it (anymore), it's kind of astounding that this kind of decay is right out for all to see in heavily trafficked parts of town.
Below was the closest I could bring myself to the windows without any warmup.
Though I was always kind of a scaredey cat, I soon realized I had lost the nerve I once did have when living in Baton Rouge--perhaps the effect of bored desperation.
And for Lo Biancos:
It's sinking ever more into the dirt.
Dirt for sale, y'all.
This was a Baton Rouge poster, not that you can really tell. I was anxious being so close, I worked too quickly to take good shots. Inside LoBianco's now looks like this:
Across the street was this darling Craftsman house, which I've only ever seen used for its mini-parking lot, where snowballs were sold.
It's ridiculous that no one is using that cute building.
During the whole quick mini-tour, I kept thinking someone would stop and ask what I was doing, then I remembered it was Baton Rouge. No one acts that fast or aggressively.
This former school, as previously seen in an older post I'm too lazy to dig up the link to, is supposed to open as apartments in spring 2011.
I'm all about adaptive reuse for neglected buildings, but this seems like a desolate location for apartments, with nothing in walking distance. Across the street, no sign of the onetime dog kennel/ dog pound that was being dismantled brick by brick when I was last there.
On nearby Scenic Road, here's where the Baton Rouge Spirit of '76 bus, as seen in this blog's banner, still peeks up, behind that fence. It says Patriots on the top of the bus...anyone remember such a team?
I also swung past another past subject, the former Book Exchange, which is across from the Dufrocq school and down the block from Circa 1858 compound. The building is under renovation.
It's being fixed up by Andrew Moran, who is converting it into a furniture studio. Andrew's brother Ben was kind enough to share photos of the interior.
Seeing these photos (there were a few dozen) was really inspiring. More artists and craftspeople should do what Andrew's doing!
Also, this photo confirmed the commenter claims that The Book Exchange used to sell adult-oriented products along with books and products that catered to "the waterbed lifestyle."
On the way back to picking up my husband from his friend's place before heading to NOLA, I passed Pace Salon. A commenter claimed after I first posted about it in 07 that the mysterious place was still occasionally open (but I didn't really believe it), and another commenter claimed in 2008 that Mr. Pace had died (more believable). Now it looks more unoccupied and overgrown than ever. However: on the Friday of my visit, I spotted a freshly coiffed older woman leaving the premesis, with a shiny new blonde bouffant hairdo. Perhaps she was a ghost.
And then, down to wonderful, florid NOLA! But on the way, we had an important stop to make.
The Tinseltown movie theater was just a quick stop the first time I went. But since it first ran in November 2009, that post accrued some interesting comments, many concerning the murder that occurred one night in the parking lot--and one happier comment about the marriage proposal that you should really go read for yourself. Another recent comment on the post, indicating that you could now enter the building, was enough to convince me to stop while I was back in the area.
As my husband and I approached the building that morning, we saw a pickup stationed near the front of the building and thought it might be a security guard. Inside was a guy, head back against the seat, mouth open, asleep (or dead), so we continued on with our mission.
The front of the building is now boarded up, so maybe there was no longer access to the inside. As we drove around the side, though, one door had a latch hanging open like it might be unlocked. I got out of our rental car, tried it, and my heart skipped: OPEN! Inside, total darkness, but I stuck my camera in, taking flash shots. Then I recruited the husband to guard me/ hold the door open as I ventured inside.
Inside it was clammy and scary. There was this little troll-sized door under where the screen would have been, but where now there was just a wall.
There was a door leading to the rest of the building at the back of this theater, but we had neither flashlight nor weapons, and I'd be surprised if there are no hobos living in there. I was terrified my husband would jokingly close me in the theater in total darkness, which he then pretended he was starting to do, so that cut that visit short. (The hobos of Tinseltown may still be wondering about those dog-whistle-esque high-pitched squeals that they heard that morning.)
In conclusion, I remain a scaredy cat who still gets a little exploring in when curiosity wins out over the fear.