Beauty School Dropout
The Bellemont, Part Two

The Bellemont

The Bellemont was an Antebellum, Colonial, plantation-style hotel and convention center built in 1946, according to a Yahoo travel listing that doesn't yet know it's closed.


This enormous complex is empty now...kind of. (See that car? Not ours. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.) Thankfully I had a new abandoned co-explorer to help me braven up for this mission.


At the far end of the front of the complex is the only building still officially in use: The Great Hall, which has several ballrooms and other rooms available for events. Note the table set for no one. DSC02592

But in-use buildings= boring, so let's move on and look inside at the main lobby. (To clarify, these photos were taken through windows, as are almost all the inside-view photos on this blog. The place is locked.)


And here we have the best piece of tragically abandoned furniture ever.


The lobby appears to be in decent shape, until you notice the green and gray living carpet.



What do you think these chairs in the next photo were set up for? "Attention staff: we are closing, if you couldn't tell."


The sign on the window of The Orleans Room says, TEMPORARILY CLOSED. That's not the first such inaccurate sign I've seen in my abandoned travels.

Between the lobby and the Great Hall there was a bit of trouble visible though a curtain opening. A roof collapsed, chandelier on the floor and all, exposing this lovely LSU Tigers mural to the open air.


Here's the view in the other direction from the collapse.


The Bellemont's bar/club, Brella's Spirits & Spins, is not doing much better. Here's what remains of it.


That's all you get for now, kids. Part Two of The Bellemont, including the interior campus areas, the hotel rooms, and more, is here.


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I didn't realize that place was abandoned. Ron Paul spoke there only a few months ago.


Very cool.


Our HS prom was in the Great Hall. I think there was some Katrina relief efforts based there also. That carpet is the most telling though.


There have been a lot of businesses in Baton Rouge that just couldn't bring themselves to admit that they were being shuttered for good. The favorite phrase for this seems to be "closed for remodeling." I can't tell you how many signs have said that for years and years around here. Is this a pride thing? Why would a one-location store or restaurant care about its PR after the decision to shut down has already been made?


Wow- can you liberate that round couch/lounge/settee thing?


Love that photo of that shedding dogwood (?) in the hall.


Randy, The Great Hall is where RP spoke, that's the only building that's still open.

Alexis, interesting--am going to get to the Katrina factor in part two...

Alistair, I don't know, it's sad. I guess they don't want to give up the dream.

Therese, if I could, it would be in dominating my living room and I would be doing Pee-Wee Herman impressions while lying down on it. The lobby is locked, though.

Thanks Jason!

The Mighty Favog

The Port-au-Princification of my hometown continues apace. Once upon a time, the Bellemont Motor Hotel (as it was known when I was a kid) was among the nicer places in town.

John Wayne lived there when he was filming The Horse Soldiers in 1959, for example. And I remember when the studios of WLUX radio (before its Jimmy Swaggart and black gospel incarnations) were in the Bellemont.


If you haven't read it already, now is the time for you to pick up Walker Percy's "Love in the Ruins." The flora growing inside the lobby resonates.

Absotively metaphorical.

For that matter, in Red Stick, places don't even have to be abandoned to LOOK abandoned. Such is the case of my old high school, which I believe is in your neck of the woods.

Follow all the links in the story. You'll get an eyeful of why they're going to tear down the whole thing except for the historic main building, which will be renovated.

BTW, you know the abandoned New Developments building from September? New Developments was a commercial photo lab, and before that building housed the photo lab, it was the early home of Baton Rouge's late, lamented alternative paper, Gris Gris.

Local political columnist John Maginnis was the founding editor.

Among my favorite cover stories from back in the day:


Too bad about that awesome chair. Although I think if you can rescue it now, you may not want it. The floor is alive after all. Who knows what's living in the chair!


Too bad about that awesome chair. Although I think if you can rescue it now, you may not want it. The floor is alive after all. Who knows what's living in the chair!


damn, a billy cannon picture....

Pat Travasos

The Bellemont back in the 70's was the home for the Louisiana Band Directors Convention. We had great times there and if I can remember there was a lounge that was the "place" to be in Baton Rouge.
So sad to see the building in such bad condition.


The Bellemont had a really wild lounge back in the mid 1960s! The telephone operators got off work at midnight and there would be a stampede of guys headed toward them at the first note of a slow dance...

We had conferences there in the 70s and 80s and it was still pretty nice.


The Bellemont had a really wild lounge back in the mid 1960s! The telephone operators got off work at midnight and there would be a stampede of guys headed toward them at the first note of a slow dance...

We had conferences there in the 70s and 80s and it was still pretty nice.




The Bellmont WAS the place to be in the 50's & 60's. My father & uncle were bellboys there for years. During the filming of the movie "Long Hot Summer" Paul Newman & JoAnn Woodward stayed there. My dad took me to see them lounging around the pool & I got autographed pictures of them which I sold in adulthood for some nice change. Clark Gable & Yvonne DeCarlo also stayed there during the filming of "Band of Angels" in 1959. It was a grand old place in it's day. So sad to see it go.


I remember the belmont form high school. In the 90's the state FFA convention was held there. It was a most beautiful hotel. The lobby was so quaint and historic looking. The grand ballrooms were amazing. I ate in the restaurant where u see the roof collapsed. I cannot believe noone has bought and renovated the place, but i did hear was just a bad neighborhood. I cant express the fond memories of the times we had there, not so long ago, (1990 - 1994).


I went to an event there about two months ago, and we're planning on having our wedding there Oct. 2010. They have a little hotel/apartments that they don't rent to public anymore.


I was hoping to attend a talent showcase at the Bellemont Hotel Center. I didnot know it was that torn up on the inside.


I attended a library convention there while in middle school in the early 80's and had great memories of a beautiful place. Imagine my horror having recently relocated to Baton Rouge from TN to drive past it on my way to the airport and see it in such disarray. I wish someone could renovate it. It was a lovely lady in her heyday.


This blog has flooded me with so many memories of the Bellmont:
When I was a wee little girl, my mom and grandmother used to take my sister and I swimming in their pool.
Later, just before starting at LSU, I worked as a hostess in the Orleans Room. It was here that I was first introduced to wine. Robert Mondavi, I believe. And the Brella Lounge-it was small but cozy with a lady tending bar (her name escapes me) that had probably been there since I went swimming in their pool as a kid. I remember that time fondly. I was working there the winter that Exxon blew up-it shook the place like an earthquake. Very frightening stuff.
That same winter, BR experienced a severe freeze. The hotel offered all of its employees a hotel room, should they need it, if their pipes froze/burst. My mother and I stay 2 nights one their gracious dime.
In college, I accompanied a friend to a dance at the Great Hall. That was probably in 1990/1991-that was the last time a step through their doors.


Ha, I went to a rave there in the late 90s

sharron courville

has anyone purchased the famous Bellmont Hotel of Baton Rouge, Louisiana?

Kenneh Berryhill

I heard that the old Bellmount was an Shelter for ex cons, is that true ?


So is anything going to be done with this property, or are they (whoever they are) going to let it continue to waste away?

Jamie Brookover David

My family stayed here in 1996. I am so sad that this place is closed. Its a damn shame thats for sure. I wish i had the money to restore it to when it was a place for presidents to stay. Makes me sick to my stomach to know its just wasting away.

Kathy Carbone

I have to agree with the comment about the furniture. They are truly exquisite for their condition. It's kind of sad that a thing of beauty like this hotel was abandoned. It still has some potential left in it, I hope someone who revive it.

Eugene Head

Kind of sad that a structure this majestic is closed. The furniture, although old and worn-out, still seems life-like and vivid, to the point of being considered as works of art.

van thomas

My grandfather used to manage it back in the 50's and 60'. My dad worked there as a teenager. Then later my grandfather went on to manage the Oak Manor otel in the late 60's and early 70's. Both hotels where owned by A. C. Lewis

I think this is where Bette Davis and Joan Crawford stayed during the making of the movie Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte? Crawford eventually walked off the film and was replaced by Olivia de Havilland.


Thanks to all those who continue to comment and add their memories and knowledge of this place. Regarding the last comment--Very cool, I didn't know that! If I'm remembering right, Bette & Joan reportedly had a physical fight where they were rolling around on the lawn in front of the plantation house where that was filmed.


Is there anyone that has any information pertaining to the History of the LSU Tigers Painting of the 1959 Game that hung in the Belmont Hotel Lobby. ie: Who the artist was and exactly when it was painted? Please contact me at [email protected]. Thanks!

Kerry Lynn Davis

I passes by the great hall today. It's gone too much work to be done there, it may be easier to just tear it down. Don't forget people was murder there also.


My husband and I went by there yesterday and today. Took pictures and bought a few things from the on site demo manager. Got 2 tables and a picture of Rosedown Plantation for $20 yesterday and went back today to get the mural in the lobby of the American Liberties (Mt. Rushmore, Statue of Liberty, Iwo Jima, etc) and got some dishes and trash cans with The Bellemont logo and Oak Manor logo on them. I'm trying to find out who the artist is. It's signed L.Saurant or something like that. If anybody knows, please email me at [email protected]. I'm not sure if it's the same artist as the one that painted the Billy Cannon mural. The demo co. owner (Patrick) said he donated that mural to LSU which I was happy to hear about. Also FYI, the place that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford stayed was Houmas House. And yes, they did have a physical fight there! Thanks, Colleen, for continuing to post as you can on this site. I hope you post your new pics of The Bellemont's demolition from your recent trip here. ~Rosie Politz~


I used to work there
surronding area was all of drugies and prostitues its was scary but i was new in this contry and i needed job so i worked there for 2and half yrs at some point i was svcared little more everyday
but the lobby and office and convention hall beautiful
big place sad no1 had enough to take care of that place
so many homeless and drug user around at some point i think hotel even gave up

Jude Wyble

And's gone.

Joe Messina

It's a shame that this facility is lost to history. I had worked for an engineer who's office was located in the Bellemont in the 60's. I assisted in the design of most of the front of the building the two story guest rooms in the rear of the complex,the Great Hall and many of the owner's other facilities. I knew the owner A. C. Lewis real well and also assisted in designing his 32,000 square foot home. He was a very interesting person and business man. One day I had an opportunity to meet with him and John Wayne at the coffee shop. John Wayne was in a union uniform and he was so tall that he had to duck going through the brick arches in the coffee shop. Mr Lewis brought a lot of named talent with the movie industry to this area. He also brought in good musical talent as well to the Plantation Lounge.


5 Star Pro Wrestling held many cards there in 1990 and 1991.Great Wrestling Promotion it was

Drake Adams

Best years of my life. 1972-1974. Dancing to Muscle Shouls Band!

Mindy Engelhorn

What a shame... My dad played music there for a long time when I was a child. Early 80's. He spoke of this place often in his stories as if it was the place to be. In fact I have some pictures of when he played there.

Kirk Lang

By Monique: "I was working there the winter that Exxon blew up-it shook the place like an earthquake. Very frightening stuff. That same winter, BR experienced a severe freeze."

I had just moved to BR from Ft. Polk the year Exxon blew up and yes it was bitter cold that year. I remember foraging a nearby field for firewood. A few years later I attended a company Christmas party at The Bellemont and remember what a grand old place it was even then. It was still the place to go.

Kirk Lang

Oh, I forgot to add that the Salvation Army across Airline from The Bellemont was the place that drug smuggler turned informant Barry Seal was gunned down while doing community service.

Richard Lewis

My father was in charge of travel for Ethyl corporation and booked a lot of people there. To show their appreciation, the hotel let my two older sisters have their wedding receptions to be held in the presidential suite. It has a huge sunken living room and a private pool. I believe it was the same room that John Wayne stayed in when he was in town.

Not From Baton Rotten

How come folks in Baton ROTTEN don't help the destitute homeless Vets camped on the bellemont property?

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