Abandoned Baton Rouge Roadshow
Quiz Time!

Lincoln Theatre complex

This compound is an abandoned and semi-abandoned downtown treasure. (I think it's in the downtown? Or near it? It's hard to tell where downtown starts or ends when nobody's around.)


Today's subject: The onetime sight of the Lincoln Theatre, Pharmacy, Barber Shop, and Wash-In (I think that's what the last phrase says? Is a "wash-in" a Laundromat?)


The coolest sight was the theatre. Evidence suggests it was operational until recently and might still be available for events. You know, like the Pace hair styling place that's apparently open by appointment only?


Here's the ticket booth, where you can still find the LED display and telephone.


Here's the snack bar.


Here's where they left a few snacks for the rodents.


And now the barber shop, which apparently you can still get a haircut by appointment if you call Floyd the Barber, a title he shares with a Nirvana song.


Floyd runs a tight ship: proper attire required, no soliciting, and no credit allowed.


However, sweeping up cut hair, throwing away Popeye's Chicken bags and drink containers, and landing garbage in the bin are apparently not part of his repetoire.



Oh, Floyd. That's just gross. 


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Big Daddy

That marquee sign is cool.

I just made it my new desktop.

The hair on the floor creeps me out.

Do you think the quick dash out on the place had to do with Katrina?


Oh, cool! Yeah, I wish this theater was still kicking.
The hair creeps me out, too. I don't think it has to do with Katrina, but I'm not basing that on any hard facts. Just that there is so much else around here like that place.

jade b

the site i work at with my lil middle school chirrens is riiiiight down the street from lincoln. i honestly do not know the story about that place but as i pass it everyday i just wonder... wtf happened here, ya know.

also, were you walking down myrtle (where lincoln is) alone? girl, that's the hood & anyone will tell you so. be careful... that is not downtown at all!


I have lived down the street from that theater for 4 years now and it has been closed the entire time (to the best of my knowledge). The barber shop is often kicking, however.

It is definitely not downtown. It is fairly safe in the day, but I wouldn't walk around there at night.


I have lived down the street from that theater for 4 years now and it has been closed the entire time (to the best of my knowledge). The barber shop is often kicking, however.

It is definitely not downtown. It is fairly safe in the day, but I wouldn't walk around there at night.


CA, I'll be careful!


The Lincoln Theater was closed sometime in the 80s after what my mother refers to as a "race riot". I'm kind of sketchy on the details, but apparently a local reporter was beaten so badly that he was left in a persistent vegetative state. Occasionally they have events (Al Sharpton spoke there in 2003) and I have even heard talk of it being turned into an art house theatre, but it mostly sits vacant.


The gentrified morons who run this town don't care about old locally owned businesses in this part of town. Just think how easy it would be to pave it all over and make a mall!


I love the movie Omega Man & bought it recently (ebay) to add to my camp collection!!!


I am part of a group looking into revamping this theatre. The original thought was definitely art house, with the spanish moon and garden district near. But then upon learning more about its history we would love it to see it restored back to the community there. It could really help bring up that neighborhoods image we hope. ( the image even displayed here in comments about your safety!) If anyone has anything to share about this place or ideas on getting it running again please share.


Floyd the Barber also lived in Mayberry, with Andy, Opie and Aynt Bee. (That Aynt isn't a typo, it's how they pronounce Aunt on The Andy Griffith Show.) You poor lil young'uns missed out on so much cultural treasure.


Floyd the Barber also lived in Mayberry, with Andy, Opie and Aynt Bee. (That Aynt isn't a typo, it's how they pronounce Aunt on The Andy Griffith Show.) You poor lil young'uns missed out on so much cultural treasure.


1972 for that race riot, which may or may not have involved the Black Muslims.

1986 for the theatre closing, just lack of business.

I'm not trying to be a know-it-all. Just a mixture of boredom, access to the vertical files, and awe that people would have an eye for these places.


margee, Did you see the new version of Omega Man, aka I Am Legend?

P, It would be amazing if that place reopened.

Dingosmom, Oops, I never made it too far past the opening theme of that show (which I love).

bpr, It's great to have someone on the inside! Much appreciated.

skipper mcinnis

The race roit also killed 3 police man and I think 3 black panters. The Black panthers took over part of down town baton rouge and said they were going to start a black nation starting with louisiana. Shooting lasted for several hours.


To any onterested, I represent the owner of this property. It is for sale. If Margee is still out there and wnats to talk about plans for redeveloping, I can be reached at 225-930-7424.


It's my understanding those businesses were part of the black business district in South BTR which thrived until segregation ended in the early 70's and the first mall (Bon Marche) opened. The Lincoln would have been a "blacks-only" movie house.


In 1971, Bob Johnson, a TV News reporter, was covering a Black Muslim riot at the Lincoln Theater. He was attacked and thrown to the ground, having his head bashed on a curb. He was in a coma for a long time and remained in a wheel chair for the remainder of his life. I was in 6th grade when this happened and can remember my Mom coming pick me up from school because they were expecting riots at all local schools. I'm not even sure if anyone was prosecuted for the attack.


My partner and I went by the Lincoln Theatre this afternoon. We are interesting in purchasing the property. We tried calling Chris of Latter and Blum today, but due to holiday vacation, will need to speak with him next week.

Glad so many people are interested in it being re-opened. Will keep everyone updated.


The race riot took place in 1972 and occurred on North Blvd. near the Temple Theater, not the Lincoln Theater.


In the theaters last years it was showing mostly porno films. The end of the "blaxpolitation" films and the opening of multi-plex theaters killed not just black owned theaters- but nearly all standalone theaters.
There used to be a large cutout of Abraham Lincoln (with an outstretched hand pointing toward the ticket booth) positioned above the roof on the west side corner of the building.
I wonder what happened to it.


I remember this! I was only 10 years old and my parents took me out of school also. Does anyone know how long Bob Johnson was in the coma?

Adam Wilson

I was in a comedy show there in December 2002. The owner showed me pictures of people who had performed there in the past; James Brown and Chuck Berry stood out.


I am pretty sure that the race event took place in 1971...but that it occurred at the Temple theater is correct.

S Green

I spent most of my young years going to the Lincoln, Temple and Ann theaters. The Lincoln was always my favorite because there was an upstairs and downstairs. My big sister would always take the five young siblings and make us sit downstairs while she, her friends and boyfriends all sat upstairs. I always wondered why we couldn't sit with them. I remembered when you could save soft drink bottle tops and get in free! It was opened the year I was born and my mother told stories of how the "creoles" had a special day that they went to the theatre and the regular blacks couldn't go on that day with them. OH, there is lots of history! Some we may want to relive; some we may not! S......


There's a lot of history here, to be sure. As I understand it, the idea of doing separate shows for "creoles" and "regular Blacks" was squashed by the theatre manager.

Donna Plank

the "race" riot was in the early 1970's (1971 i think) when i was in high school. the black panthers, of whom jesse jackson was a member, came from pennsylvania and los angeles and bob johnson, a reporter, was savagely attacked. there was a 7:30 curfew and anyone caught out after that was arrested. it was a scary time and happened because of racist black people that came from other states.

susie thomas

The Linclon Theatre is going to be rehabilitated as part of a 'connectivity" effort by the downtown development district - yay!


those was fun days seeing sidney poiter movies and ben hur king kong and gozilla movies i love the lincoln we used to have popcorn boxes wars those was some good days


So what happened to Teddy Jr.? (Rev. Ted Jemison's son. We used to be friends, he used to manage the theater and hosted the Chillin' Circuit, a series of comedy shows. I enjoyed working with him back in the day. I live in Austin now, but I still remember the Lincoln theater.

Mike Crapanzano

By searching newspaper archives from the Times Picayune, I was able to get the initial story of what happened in regards to the riots. Basically, I summarized an article that was in the January 11th, 1972 issue of the Times Picayune. That was a Monday, though the incident happened on Friday, the 8th.

A group the city identified as "Black Muslims" blocked the streets of what was called a "negro neighborhood" shouting to residents "We're here to give you you're city back". By nightfall nearly all Baton Rouge streets were deserted and nearly all shops were closed. 100 members of the Louisiana National Guard were stationed in front of City Hall.

25 injuries were reported and 4 deaths. Including 2 white police officers and 2 black men. One was unidentified. One was from Chicago. The news man previously referenced, Bob Johnson, was taken to the hospital on what was described as "massive head injuries". 20 blacks were arrested on site and 8 charged with the murder of 2 sheriffs deputies.

Mayor Dumas said the event stemmed from arrests a week prior of "2 or 3 muslims, taken into custody for soliciting funds without a license". Dumas also said the people starting this were from Chicago. He then conferred with the governor and parish officials to impose a 5:30 PM to 6:00 AM curfew and the sale of gasoline and alcohol was banned.

The confrontation was at the Temple Theater, where those who attended demanded "a change in conditions, money, good homes, and peace". Witnesses say that the black muslims were there in an attempt to "take over the city". Witnesses also said it was not the Baton Rouge black community involved. A few "youngsters" might have joined in but it was definitely started by outsiders.

J. Hebert

Lots of repressed history in BRLA.

The "Muslim riots" for example.

This story has never been told through the eyes of anyone but the Police.

As I recall, the incident could have and should have been defused, presence of media agitated, did not help.

And when talking of repressed Baton Rouge history, let us not forget Milton Leon Scott, murdered on Alaska St. by the FBI for "talking back while black".


Very late on this, but it definitely took place in 1972...my former husband was born then & they had problems getting to the hospital due to the riots.


Man I remember this place. I really wish you'd kept this blog going. It's like a window to the past.


I don't know much about the theater but my uncle (Jeff Roberson) owned the barbershop for many years. After he died it all went downhill. The theater part was very rundown then. I think it has been cleaned up somewhat, but nothing has become of it. It brings back memories looking at this place.

Bev Varnado

That was in 1972. I was working at the Earl K. Long Charity Hospital. Some of the wounded " black Muslims " were brought there. They were put in the locked ward where they normally kept convicts from the various prisons when they needed medical attention. It was really a strange feeling as you got off the elevator to face an AK-47 or whatever the automatic weapon was that they were using at that time. I was just hoping they took their time to see who was in the elevator before shooting. Tense times for the city.


yes i remember the theater well my mother would take us on the week ends thats where i first saw DOLEMITE it was wonderful times. reading has taken me into the past. i also remember the riot with police and muslims people remember it wasnt about religon but race.

Donald L. Chatman, M.D.

I recognize the interior of the Lincoln Theater snack shop because I worked there shortly after it opened. My father, A.L. Chatman, M.D. would accuse me of eating up all of the profits. It brings back old memories. I also wanted to correct the observation that "Creoles" requested a special day for seating in the upstairs area of the theater from the manager. However, it was not the manager, it was my father, Dr. A.L. Chatman himself, the builder and owner of the theater, who denied that request. I know this for a fact because my father told me about the incident. There is no way in the world that my father would have approved such a request. The principles upon which the Lincoln Theater was based was just the opposite of a segregated section of the theater, for ANY group; there was a reason that the theater was named after Abraham Lincoln.

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