Shell station
LoBianco's Gro. & Beer, Unknown car joint, Winn Dixie

A-Ace Insurance/ Able Insurance

One of the exciting aspects of urban exploration is that often, places that initially looked dull can hold a surprise or two. Take this boring old insurance agency. They took the lame Yellow Pages alphabetical tactic of starting the business name with a bunch of A's. Like, way to have confidence in your services, Ace.


Only they couldn't decide which "A" name they wanted. This one doesn't exactly instill more confidence in their services.



Eh, they're just able. No wonder they went out of business. But I soon learned this place hasn't been completely abandoned...

It seems to be a popular drinking spot.


And Red Dog seems to be the preferred alcoholic beverage of those who hang around Baton Rouge's abandoned buildings (other than myself), although malt liquor is also a hit with this set.


The price is right, and it does get the job crunk. Let's take a peek inside:


Well, color me lavender-and-lattice delighted. Did I just walk onto the set of the 1980-1982 country variety television program, "Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters"? Is everyone wearing off-the-shoulder flouncy gowns and big feathered hairdos? In my imagination, yes.

Now let's take a walk around back.


Oh my! I believe that empty purse should be called "evidence." (Note to any law enforcement reading this: I didn't touch the evidence.)


Well, look at the time! Suddenly I feel like finishing up here. But first: that apparently abandoned RV out in the front lot.


Where I'm from, someone would have long since taken up residence in that RV, so I was scared to look in. Then I realized no mortal would survive inside that thing in this heat. So I took a peek.


Inside was the ghost of Hoz past:


Oh, Hoz Gone Wild!, where are you now?


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A good chunk of my field work involves sites that have abandoned or not so abandoned buildings. Just remember not everything is truly abandoned. I learned it the hard way when someone pulled up and went inside a dump of a house. Let's just say a tree was growing inside the garage.


I was wondering myself why no one was living in this place.


I wonder if the Barbara Mandrell Show is on DVD???


Oh it is...and I have it. We can watch it when you visit! Dolly Parton performs a sadly uninspired version of "9 to 5."


'Abandoned Places' are the new 'Bars'.

Meryl Sheep

You know how when something's there all the time that eventually you fail to see it anymore? Thanks for the perspective with new eyes.

Ah yeah, and we'd gather in front of the TV every weekend to watch the Barbara Mandrell show, all six of us chitlins. Irlene was my favorite.


I moved to Baton Rouge in 1989, and I needed car insurance. Prior to that in grad school, I stopped driving and cancelled my insurance to make ends meet, but now I needed it. Unfortunately, I kept my car (parked, but I still owned it), so I fell into an insurance company category of DRIVER WITH NO PRIOR INSURANCE. None of the major insurance companies would cover me. They had rules.

So I looked around and found A-Able, not too far from where I lived. I called them, they could cover me, we did almost all the business over the phone, but I needed to come in to give them their check and get my insurance card. They repeatedly bragged that they could bill me monthly. That’s OK.

I got there and noticed that all the furniture was folding lawn furniture and card tables. I got a dot matrix printout on cardstock cut with scissors down to a wallet size proof of insurance.

In 1989-1990, the news was often about the Champion Insurance scandal. I’m foggy on the details, but allegedly they weren’t paying any claims, and I’m pretty sure the state Insurance Commissioner eventually went to jail. The important facts to me were that my new co-workers would tell me daily that they hoped I had insurance from a major company, don’t trust any minor, no name insurance company. My initial replies were to tell them that I had A-Able insurance, and then I would tell them why I had to get A-Able insurance. Yeahhhhhh. My peers and superiors would normally go cross-eyed, internally but very obviously re-evaluating whether they had made the right choice in their new hire. I eventually changed my story to vehemently agree that we should all have the best insurance money can buy.

Months later, I was chatting with a Marxist coworker of my then future wife, and discovered that she also had A-Able insurance, for near identical reasons. “Isn’t it AWESOME! They could fold up all their stuff and be GONE in 10 minutes!” She laughed riotously. I tried to explain that the joke was not going to be on The Man, but on her, if that was to happen, but I gave up early. The facts would have only made her a less happy person.

After 12 months of A-Able, I qualified for insurance at the major insurance companies and I ended my tenure with them, without event or any possible reason for complaint. I have no idea how long they stayed in business, or where A-Ace came from.

I’ve noticed in the last 2 months that a lot of work has gone on in that building, for all I know it might be disqualified to be a part of the Abandon Baton Rouge Pageant.

avid reader

Nearly a year later I just noticed this post about A-Ace. Very funny because I was actually here at work when I showed my boss your blog and she was just as fascinated by it as I was. We do business with A-Ace and they're very much in existance today (though a new location). Nothing crooked from these folks! They've been great. We've had our share of quite a bit of shady agencies we encounter on our job, but thankfully A-Ace is far from it. I should ask one of the owners on the phone about the old place. Though my guess is that they just wanted a newer space.

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