Uninhabited River Road
Post-Gustav update

Uninhabited River Road, part 2

See part one of this excursion here.

It's only after our River Road trip happened that I'm becoming more aware of how rich it is in historic sites and plantations. Without that previous knowledge, this next stop, J.N. Barthel General Merchandise store, was so perfectly Olde Tyme America, I kind of doubted its authenticity.


Why is the lettering on the sign such a crisp, bright white? Has this been restored, and/or is this part of a movie set? If this is a real site, you'll see below that we can date it to 1880. (But then why is that lettering in such fresh black paint?)



Here's one benefit of having a tall fiance: he was able to reach up and take this shot through a high window.


See the brand-new wood in the right foreground--? Movie set?

Clearly, this Jersey girl by-way-of Brooklyn is not accustomed to having such quaint antique buildings just casually hanging out unattended at the side of the road.

This commissary is to the right of the general store.




A section of River Road is unpaved, and if you're in a large truck, impassable. Further along is a pastoral area of free-roaming cattle, where the ladies seem rather put out by the presence of interlopers.


This unpaved area is also home to the below molestation station trailer of shady doings.


 Also speaking of ladies, when we arrived at Houma House, we popped in to the gift shoppe, which catered to an unfamiliar demographic I'm going to call "Southern Belles who live in plantation homes and like big shiny ornaments and big murderous dolls."


And furthermore, speaking of ladies:


Our final stop of the day was a rusted-out wharf on the Mississippi, just south of the bridge. I was tipped off about this place by the winner of the ABR birthday contest.



It's rather treacherous; the iron walkway above is rotten through in parts, and you have to cross these beams below to get to that walkway. (For my east coast readers, they smelled like the boardwalk.)


The place instantly struck both of us as a place for high-school kids to hang out to practice their juvenile-delinquent skills. It just as quickly struck me as a really dangerous place, especially in the dark, especially when impaired. For the love of God, kids, don't party here anymore.

Here's the view back the way we came in.


While entering, fiance turned to me, muttering, "We're not alone," which to my dismay, set the Michael Jackson song "You Are Not Alone" on repeat in my head. A pile of humanity was napping in the heat on the south wing of the structure. Here's a picture of myself with the occupant visible, just before a mishap. 


After this shot was taken, I approached that left edge behind me with no railing to peer over the edge, while steadying myself on a vertical I-beam, which turned out to have an active wasp nest attached.

Of course I had to take a photo of the nest, and in a flash a wasp stung me on the arm. I screamed and flailed around, waving my arm like a spaz, but very luckily did not flail myself over either of the nearby open edges, which would've meant an easy 50-foot drop.


While mid-flail I was peripherally aware of the wharf occupant half-sitting up to look over. I had disturbed his slumber. Discussing this poor soul later, we realized people don't really say "homeless" down here, instead if we have the parlance right, he is a transient. 



Here are some tracks for sliding around cargo. 


We were ready to be slid around on tracks ourselves after such a full day of exploration.



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Dude. Occam's razor. Is it that bizarre of an idea that somebody kept their family store open for several years? There's a clutch of them here in Mississippi, dating back decades. Of course you repaint the sign; it's still open and you want it to look nice.

It's also not completely unheard of for somebody to make up a date for the sake of a joke or to create faux-longevity.

The (somewhat-recent) Community Coffee sign inside would lend credence to the idea that this was a recently-functioning store.

I dig "I'm a Bad Dude."

The Mighty Favog


You always could call the store and ask about it. There's a phone number listed:



If you call, ask 'em how much they want for that Community Coffee store sign.

The Mighty Favog

Oh, unless it was made recently to be faux antique or as some sort of movie prop, that Community sign dates at least to the 1960s. Community stopped using that style logo -- generally -- in the early '70s.

Specifically, that particular logo probably went out in the early '60s.


i can confirm that this is indeed "a place for high-school kids to hang out to practice their juvenile-delinquent skills."
we called it the "the pier." very spooky at night. great pictures, thanks for taking me back.


Great post! Love the pictures. And that one cow is ....gray? Weird.


The Barthel Store reminds me of my grandfather's store outside of New Iberia, which he closed in 1970. I have vague memories of it being open, and more memories of it as a glorified storage shed before it was torn down when Highway 14 was widened.

No Community Coffee sign, but in the barn there might be a Jax Beer one, and an old Coke Machine/cooler. To be honest, I wouldn't want to go into the barn...lord knows what sort of vermin call it home these days.

My parents did manage to rescue a large sugar kettle and Gulf Oil kerosene dispenser...

Maxwell Mouse

funny, I was exploring BR today, looking for anything amazing.. (on a scale of 1-10 it's about a 1.5 compared to the abandoned buildings of new orleans.. at least from what I've found so far).. anyway.. i found this warf.. and was check'n it out.. didn't get to far before i noticed said "transient" (which as a Boston native, I call homelss guy)..

so it's october 1st and it looks like he's not quite homeless after all..

we just keep invading his home thinking it's abandoned! go figure..


Ryan Waldron

The Barthel Store was originally the store for a plantation (I forget which one), but is now primarily used as a set piece for TV shows. It is maintained in a state of slight deterioration.


I happened to visit the wharf on Wed., 1/17/10, as part of a physical exercise hike. I took some photos of the river side to stitch into a panorama, but I didn't realize that my camera was still set for the moon pics I took the night before, so the panorama came out over exposed. I did take some video, though, one of the whole river side of the building and one of the inside, with a creepy "transient" in the opening at the southern far end. How can I upload these vids?

Colleen Kane

Thanks all!

Ryan, so I'm not crazy! I knew it! Thanks.

Harvey, You can upload them to Abandoned Baton Rouge's fan page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Abandoned-Baton-Rouge/272959967183?ref=mf

Once you become a fan (if you're not already), go to where it says "What's on your mind?" and there's a little video camera icon. Click that, and you can upload the files from your computer. Hope that helps, it would be cool to have that on the page. Thanks!

Cheap Escorts

somehow found your blog while looking for a post for a class, but I have to say I'm glad I found it ...will definately come back sometime.

Cheap Escorts

somehow found your blog while searching for a article for a class, but I have to say I'm happy I found it ...will definately come back sometime.

Oralee GolubRubye HeeterPeter LochridgeTiara Norcross

somehow came across your blog while looking for a post for a class, but I have to say I'm glad I found it ...will definately read some more post sometime.

M. Schmidt

Possible plans for afore mentioned dock.

Colleen Kane

M. Schmidt, thanks! I hadn't seen that before.


I love old buildings. I took some of my bridal pics on the porch of the Barthel store.

Lewis Barthel Hannaman

In responce to the very first post the store was started by Mike Barthel (my Great Great Grandfather)

It was in operation until the 1990s under a non-family owner. not sure of the transition date.

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