A-Ace Insurance/ Able Insurance
The bleakest day (hopefully) of abandoned exploration

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

Last Friday was an epic photo-gathering expedition for me. I was out nearly three hours in the midday sun, covering five abandoned sites, also stopping for excellent Lebanese food at Arzi's and narrowly avoiding heat stroke. Problem is, this is a photo blog and my g-damn digital camera won't stop washing everything in blue. So I've decided to post the remaining three sites I shot that day all in one post, before switching over to use my bf's fancier camera. After this post, say goodbye to the blues!

Here we have LoBianco's Gro. & Beer at Government Street and Steele, in the classic Old South style that I have actually never seen outside of movies and TV.


Could this sun-faded promotional Stroh's poster be sadder right now? Not really.



Despite the festive beer-tab-garland and Mardi-Gras and beer promo decor, I can't really think of a time that has felt less appropriate for letting it Stroh, and less like Miller Time. Nevertheless, I still nerd out over people leaving so much behind for me to discover when they abandon ship.


It's only a Gro. and Beer, but even a Gro. and Beer has probably taken its part in changing at least one person's life, I'm thinking most likely in the drunken impregnation category. 


Here is some folk art.


And this just looks so Southern. Also, it stunk to hell of sun-cooking garbage.


Off to a car place of some sort!



I'm guessing this site at Government and Glenmore Avenue was a service station on the site of a former gas station.The garages are currently being used to store mattresses and bags of mulch.

This mysteriously-labeled door leads to the office.


And lookey what's stowed in the office!


We've already got an old Lite-Brite in a different original box, but not an old Samsonite card table like this.



Finally, after multiple unplanned sidetracks, I arrived at my destination: the Winn Dixie supermarket  on Government St. at Rebel that when driving by, I wasn't sure whether it was open and pathetic-looking or permanently closed.


But it looks like Dixie didn't win this one.


You really don't see too many abandoned supermarkets. Pretty post-apocalayptic, huh?


These guys mostly cleaned up after themselves, though. I once heard about this discount supermarket in the town of Warren near my hometown in Jersey that closed down and left all the food where it was. By the time the health department got in there two weeks later, there were maggots all over the meat. Of course that could have been urban legend, but my young metal horror-loving self wanted to believe. 


Speaking of horror, I think I found a clue as to the downfall of this Winn Dixie. I think these clowns brought forth some sort of evil clown holocaust, as depicted in this horrifying poster.


Is that bullshit really supposed to make you want to attend this event? No, thank you. I don't like stuff that murders me. Speaking of which, there was some sort of security-looking dude off to the edge of the parking lot, peering into car windows. I decided to get a closer look.


"Oh yeah? Why's that?" Was he saying I should get back in the kitchen?!

"Oh yeah. Heh heh..."

I also found this off-brand of soda, Chek, which marks another entry into my off-brands of Dr. Pepper super-nerd-out collection. Dr. Chek!


At this point I'd exhausted all of my camera's memory. Maybe next time, D-Jay's School of Beauty, Inc. (possibly still occupied?).



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Hey-steve has this record with dick clark doing an ad for Dr. Pepper-pushing the "HOT Dr. Pepper-even more delish with lemon"


Hey-steve has this record with dick clark doing an ad for Dr. Pepper-pushing the "HOT Dr. Pepper-even more delish with lemon"



I also love that the clowns have not only brought about the downfall of the Winn Dixie (and humanity), but folded the paper to dispay their own message: "Top us." You can't!


I really love these posts at work. I love discovering shit too, it makes me feel like a spy.


Beth, hot Dr. Pepp sounds horrendous. But maybe it's Dick Clark's secret for eternal-teenagerism.

Amanda, good observation. I do not want to try topping them.

Jew, Yay! I've always wanted to be a spy. Except what with my blogging everything, I'd suck at it.

Big Daddy

Actually hot Dr. Pepper isn't as gross as it sounds.

We used to have to sell it in high school when we worked the football games.


are those clowns hurling dynamite? Either way they are scary. And that Winn-Dixie does look sad.

Hey do they have Piggly-Wiggly in LA? I don't know if it's that far west. And how about RC Cola? I think that's one unknown to you yankee types.


The abandoned supermarket in Warren is not an urban legend. I remember when it was still operational and it was pretty sketchy. It's wasn't a chain store so that probably didn't help the rotting food situation.


Look! Even clowns are afraid of each other. I knew it.


Friends of mine who, er, know these things say that LoBiancos spent its last years as a front for gambling. A former neighbor used to be a frequent visitor, allegedly.

One early morning I was in the street chatting with another neighbor, when we saw our alleged gambling neighbor walking home. He was wearing a suit, and walking in small steps, a la Tim Conway on the Carol Burnette show. My friendly neighbor saw him looking good in a suit and projecting her voice said, "Hey, you look great, where have you been?" He held up a hand to his ear to show he couldn't hear, so she waited until he got closer to repeat.

But as he got closer, we could see he has sticks and leaves in his hair, and stains and smudges and other potentially unspeakable filth all over him. My now shocked neighbor asked her question, but dropped the first part and asked a gaped mouth "Where have you been?" His reply? "Heaven only knows."

He walked on and my neighbor and I agreed that was a true statement, although I was much later told that it was probably LoBiancos.


Either you are more skilled than I at writing fiction, or you are the best ABR commenter ever, or both.
I read this out loud to the fiance, LOLing here and there--the Tim Conway reference? Awesome.


Either you are more skilled than I at writing fiction, or you are the best ABR commenter ever, or both.
I read this out loud to the fiance, LOLing here and there--the Tim Conway reference? Awesome.


Thank ya, thank ya very much.

There is at least one more abandon building you have photographed that I have a _TRUE_ story for. I haven't been through the whole site, I don't normally have time with my boy running around.

But the story will probably be boring, not sure I could take the pressure anyway.


I was sad when the Winn Dixie on Government closed, but I feel worse for the unfortunate people who can't shop there anymore. Albertson's is so much more expensive.

I wore a flag from the last Piggly Wiggly in Baton Rouge as a cape to school one day. Complete with a paper bag crown and pig scepter, I was King Pig for a day.


Actually - LoBianco Grocery is not abandoned. Uncle Joe still lives there. Of course, he doesn't sell anything anymore, but he loves to get visitors. I don't think he could have been the man on the street that was mentioned in the earlier post. If someone tried to talk to him on the street he would have invited them inside for a beer and would have talked their ear off about the good old days. The grocery store was opened and run by my Italian immigrant grandmother 80+ years ago. I grew up staying there every time we visited our Baton Rouge side of the family.


i remember meeting Uncle Joe as a kid at LoBianco's after snooping around the property much like you were. he was quite old when i met him 15 years ago and invited me and my father in and showed us some magic tricks. His store looked like he hadn't moved anything since it had closed (and I think it and another grocery store were competing with Calandro's down the road - which won out in the end). I'm surprised he (and his shop) are still around. Ahh Government Street. Is the vacuum shop still there?
thanks for putting up these pics by the way, they've made me very homesick, but in a good way.


Thanks for all the extra background info, everyone. Reese, glad to be of assistance--and the vacuum store is still here.


Thanks for all the extra background info, everyone. Reese, glad to be of assistance--and the vacuum store is still here.


I remember seeing an old man behind Lobianco's on that porch. Must have been Old Joe. The white building next door that is on stilts, 3846 Government, it used to be a d.i.y. punk house for shows and hanging out just last summer. I remember Dominque the guy who ran it, bassist for Justin Bailey, said Old Joe was cool with having shows there, but the rest of the neighborhood complained to much and it got closed down. My band played there for our last show and it was also the houses last show ever, with some folks from Olympia Washington. Great Times it was. It's been up for lease now for a while, might be completely abandoned soon.

Leslie @ the oko box

Just creepy. On the faux Dr Pepper note, I have a really close friend who went on a faux Dr pepper collecting spree all throughout the US... ten years ago he had found over 20 types, and i was amazed.


Joe owns that white house next to the grocery, friends of mine were going to rent it from him really cheap, but it was pretty nasty. they had nothing but nice things to say about Joe though, apparently he got shot in the head during the war, still has his old helmet with a dent

The anonymous anonymous

I just discovered this blog whilst under the influence of nostalgia, insomnia, and a Google search for a bookstore in Baton Rouge that may no longer exist. I must say, I adore this blog! I am terribly disappointed to see that urban blight has spread so far in the city, though (I remember when Florida Boulevard and Government Street were nice and Bluebonnet was home to a water treatment plant, Swaggertland, and fields!), and that the majority of downtown has apparently continued to be abandoned and is *still* stagnant after all these years, but then again, it's Louisiana.... But just looking at some of your pictures brings back such strong and overall good memories (more on that later) that I am compelled to temporarily ignore the decay and thank you for stimulating those memories :)

Was the above pictured Winn-Dixie in the same general area as a McDonald's, a Dairy Queen that was closed (and I think razed) years ago, and a prison? If so, it had at least one facelift before dying!
My parents and I used to shop at it for a while in the mid-to-late 80s. At that time I remember it having a brownish exterior and a rather late 70s/early 80s dark interior. Mainly, what I recall of the store is a patch of brick or bricklike flooring and some low shelving that had herbal teas up in front around where the produce/florist was, a lovely painted strip of mural adorning the wall above the meat cases in back that depicted happy brownish-red and white cows in a green field under blue skies with puffy white clouds (and I think some cheesy corporate slogan was incorporated into it), and tiny restrooms in the back, left part of the store right to the left of the meat depeartment that were accessed by going through a swinging set of doors, turning left, going through another door into a small hallway that had the doors to the bathrooms on the right, bathrooms that I am convinced were warped there from a middle level of hell, as they were dark, ill-kept, and REEKED of not-quite-natural wastes, sewage (a major sewage line runs right by there, and at the time it was UNCOVERED, for all I know it may still be!), and decomposing feces. (I still have nightmares about that particular ladies' bathroom and its dark orange walls and two black-walle stalls and its tiny sink that hardly ever had soap and just released a trickle of water.) I remember one evening we caught the father of one of my classmates there, and that was not the part of town in which that family lived... turns out he was most likely picking up something for dinner (or for forgiveness) on the way home from visiting his mistress (that we found out about later).
Also, if that is the Winn-Dixie I think I recall, there to the left of the "Deli Bakery" sign was at least one additional small storefront; I seem to remember the WD building had strip mall tendencies. The small storefront I'm thinking of was, in the mid 80s, an independent video store that used 2x4s as shelving and had a small walled-off section in the back and to the left that was for the adult videos. (Pretty much all independent video stores in BR had such a section at that time) I want to say the "walls" of the adult section were made of white picket stakes, but all I remember is that the adult section had white walls that enclosed it and a door with a latch.... I don't remember when the video store opened or when it closed, or any other details of that shopping center, as I was a kid and bookworm at the time and more interested in the horror section of the rental place, in reading whatever book I lugged along with me, and in the random assortment of products WD would have on one of the aisles in the back of the store that more-or-less fucntioned as a dollar discount aisle. (I completed a collection of Little Mermaid PVC figurines thanks to that discount aisle!)

That incredibly incoherent set of memories aside, you don't happen to live near Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church and school, do you? (I left my email address if you feel compelled to reply to that shockingly inappropriate question, just remove what's between the @ and gmail.com for it to be a valid addy) I grew up in a neighborhood close to said church+school but moved 16 years ago to an even more isolated part of the U.S. I'd recommend scouting around the church on both Government St. and Florida Blvd. for possible abandoned buildings(I can think of some small professional complexes on Florida Blvd, and one professional complex, a gas station, and at least one small strip mall near the high school on the Government Street side that might all be abandoned), but preferably in a group of at least three (it was starting to turn rough around there when I moved).

I always wanted to know what happend to the original Godchaux's/Maison Blanche building (ask around for where it is, I can't remember where except that it was by some train tracks), it was HUGE and after the chain went bankrupt thanks to an incredibly ill-advised expansion into Florida, the chain's original building just sat there empty until at least 1992 (when I left). But man, that going out of business sale was incredible.... I'm also wondering whatever happened to Fun Fair Park and the El Chico's that was right next to it, the El Chico's closed sometime in the late 80s?, and by the time I moved FFP was starting to look like it was going to go the same way. Those two were located in the area of the Interstate overpass over Florida Boulevard. I'm sure if I sat down and thought (and asked my dad, who lived there much longer than I ever did) I can come up with lots more possibly abandoned buildings for you and your intrepid companions to preserve. Like the A&P that becam a Kroger's that went out of business in the mid 80s on Florida Boulevard (near the Polk car dealership -- the "Polk Plantation", it was nicknamed), the K-Mart that was near said defunct grocery store, Bon Marche mall (it was close to dead in the early 90s), Corporate Mall (renamed "Esplanade Mall" sometime in the late 80s, it's on Corporate Blvd), the infamous Catfish Town near the Centroplex downtown, the Laser Tag complex that was shut down because the owner was involved in drug trafficking, the Blue Dog restarant, the Childrens' Palace there where Cortana Mall is... I better stop now before I beg you to hunt down every single location I remember from my childhood.

One random question: When did not just BR, but Louisiana, become so replete with fundamentalist Protestants? I know when growing up there the nothern half of the state was the Protestant half and the Southern half was the Catholic part, but I don't remember the Protestants being so prominent or so fundamentalist, especially among the politicos. Then again, I was a kid, so religious denominations and degrees of fervency were somewhat meaningless to me. And I'm not trying to insult anyone's belief system, I'm just stating how things seemed to me as a child and how things appear to have changed based on the occasional news report I come across.

I apologize for my structureless rambling, and THANK YOU for your blog!


The fun fair park closed down years ago. However the chimp is at the Blue Bayou Water Park. They also have the old wild mouse roller coaster and a few other of the old rides.


I worked at El Chico's in my college days. They had the best chimichangas and their margaritas weren't half bad either. They closed in the mid 80's but I don't remember when exactly. FFP also closed down and as a previous poster indicated, some of the rides and the chimp were salvaged I guess.

The A&P that became a Kroger later became some sort of Pick -n- Save or Big Lots or some such crappy-merchandise-for-little-nickels if memory serves.

Just before that at the intersection of Little John and Florida Boulevard was the Pasquali's Pizza, Rexall Drugs, a barber shop, TG&Y and another Winn Dixie. Across the street from that was the Jiffy Jim convenience store.

Heading west towards the river there was the the New Generation at Red Oak (I think) and Florida. There was also a Chinese Restaurant there ... Lucky Chineses I think? Went to school with Jimmy whose sister owned the place. We ate there often - great food. Across the street from that was the 688 Auto Parts.

Heading west to Sharp Road and Florida was what I believe was one of the old Pitt Grill restaurants (the other was on Sherwood Forest at I-12). On the other side of the street was the old Blue Cross building.

Then there was the old Broadmoore Theater, already covered on this site. Yeah, sticky feet in later years but I the first movie I saw there was on a field trip from St. Thomas Moore school. I was in first grade and we saw The Magic Sword (scared the crap outta me). I think was circa 1968.

I've been gone from BR since 97 but spent the better part of my life there. It's sad to see the blight but wow, what a wonderful trip down memory lane and a perfect way to waste away an afternoon!


The old Maison Blanche building that youre talking about is now used as a office for FEMA and The Dept. of Homeland Security.

Karen Thevenet

Just wanted you to know that Old Joe Lobianco passed away yesterday. He was my fathers Uncle and a very funny man. As a little girl I always enjoyed visiting his store and listening to his stories. My sisters and I enjoyed ice cold bottled cokes, not canned, out of the machine. Thanks for posting the pictures of his store. I hate that it ended up in such bad shape, but I will always love my great-uncle Joe and the memories in his store.

robert stephens

the old Godchaux's building at Six Hundred Main is not a Fema Office but instead it is a huge nightclub..


Auto Detail Santa Barbara

I've being researching about Cars and reading your blog, I found your post very helpful :) . I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog!

Jim B.

I have lived in Baton Rouge all of my life (born 1965). I am very interested in such things as this site covers and am surprised others do as well. I live in Broadmoor and would be happy to catch you folks up on sites from your childhood; just ask!


Bookmarked.. thank you. You know your topic very well. I also found interesting info on http://www.rapidmediafire.com


When you shot the LoBianco story in 20007 he was still living there! Crazy huh. He just died a year ago and lived there till the very end. They have torn the house next door dwon, but the LoBianco house is still there but a lot more fadded then your pictures. The mans name was Joe. You should see the stuff left behind. I want to get my hands in that store.


Also, the abandoned car place ws Eagle tires back in the mid 90's. I hung out there a lot when they were open in 94 and 05. They have now turned the abandoned Winn-Dixie into a Piggly-Wiggly


I love that the chimp
From fun fair still smokes cigarettes.... They really need to do some kind of (humane of course) lung cancer screens on that guy. Esplanade turned into different shops on one side & Sullivan's steakhouse & fox & hound on the other. I used to work @ fox & you could go through the kitchen out the back into the old part of the mall that is like a hallway between all the buildings. That's where we took our smoke breaks... Or hid from management. I think the old godchauxs was on college. The broadmoor theater stuck around through the early 90s bc I, too, saw a movie there on a st Thomas more field trip. Floor was even stickier. I actually went there today, it has turned into a thrift store type place where I think the people sell things from auctioned off storage units & left over garage sales. Not too much but a lot of brand new books for .25 apiece. It was nuts walking into that lobby though... They have big posters up saying "you cannot see the theater so don't ask", the shopping area is just the lobby, out front & a bathroom.... My husband said that's bc the roof is caving in over the theater. & EL Chico's actually didnt close until around 1997.

Vanessa Flaherty

The old auto store at the top was Eagle tires, I used to hang out there sometimes, I had friends that worked there. unfortunatly Joe LoBianco died. My PaPa used to be friends with him before he died in '88. And yes he would invite you and show you magic card tricks, and this helmet with a hole in it, supposed to be from a war.


I know I'm a little late om this post but to rebecca who posted about florida at little john. The barbershop was called lil johns barbershop. My grandparents opened it in 1964 when my dad was 2 years old. 2 of their 3 children ended up becoming barbers as well (my other aunt is a social worker) myself and all my cousins grew up in that barbershop (I'm 23) we had a room in the back where my grandmaw did shampooing and we had a couch and tv with super nintendo. My family is italian so my grandmaw cooked breakfast and lunch every dwy for our customers. All our funiture was from the 50s. We closed it in 2004 when my dad died of a heart attack. My grandparents had retired but still worked a few days a week but my dad became the owner so when he died we sold it to someone who worked for us but we took all furniture and we owned the name.
Pretty cool to hear someone talk about my familys business

Scotty B

laci, I got the first haircut of my life at the barber shop and many haircuts thereafter.


That old Winn-Dixie has life again. I think it's a Piggly Wiggly nowadays.


Scotty we surprised my grandpaw with his own little barbershop station at our house so my grandmaw and grandpa still cut hair at our house. My grandpaw gave my son his first haircut, he's 2 now and has had to have lioe 12 haircuts and my grandpaw has given him every single one. He even gave us one of those certificates he used to give out

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