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Motels of Highway 61 Revisited

Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"

God says, "Out on Highway 61."

Bellmont - early 50s

Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, also known as the storied Highway 61, is famous for its sketchy motels. Sketchy motels are an essential part of our cultural heritage: that's where nearly all the murdering and philandering and all sorts of untoward business goes down. Just look at every movie from No Country For Old Men to...well, almost every other movie ever.

It was at one of these Airline motels a little further south, Sugar Bowl Courts, where Jimmy Swaggart met with disgrace in 1987, along with his ladyfriend the prostitute. They don't still exist in the numbers they used to, but kind of shockingly, these mom & pop motels do still exist in this era of chain hotels and motels. 

A few such establishments have already appeared here on Abandoned Baton Rouge: Ten Flags Inn and The Bellemont, the latter which you can see in happier days above. All of the historic "before" postcards in this post were found online or otherwise by Ken Freeman and posted on his website dedicated to remembering his hometown, Alexandria Retrospective. After he contacted me recently, the historic postcard section about Baton Rouge on his website gave me a new idea for finding sites for this blog: work backwards from historic photos and their addresses. Seeing those motel postcards prompted me to make a trip to Airline and see what was still standing. 

The exercise reinforced a lesson I've been learning: seek and you shall find.


Oak manor hotel court 

Oak Manor was apparently too Tudor for this world, for this is what holds its place today:

HomeDepotBatonRouge

Right across the street:

Shades motel pool 

ShadesMotelBatonRouge

Still going, although that pool has been filled in with gravel. 

Next, Wood Acres.

Wood acres court 

WoodAcres

WoodAcres2

Yes, Wood Acres is still open, in fact, here is an online review of the motel:

Cheap and Best to stay for night during drive
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Hiren - Oct 30, 2009
Wood Acres Motel is the good for long distance traveler, Good Bed, warm water, Color Cabel TV with lot's of variety channels, Direct dial phones and Cheap. This is the best compare to price you get every things here.

maps.google.com

I called Wood Acres, and the phone was answered by someone I strongly suspected to be online reviewer Hiren.

Vel Rose here was also still in effect.

Vel rose motel

VelRose

But now I want you to look closely, because the Hollywood Motel has changed quite a bit.

Hollywood motel - airline highway

The sign in this next postcard is still mostly there, as you'll see in the second modern-day photo.

Hollywood motel c1950s

It appears the Hollywood Motel has gone from West Wing and South Wing, to Wing Nut.

HollywoodMotel

AdmiralMotel

AdmiralBatonRouge 

Selections from the signs out front of the former Hollywood and former Admiral Motel: One Bad Ass Mistake, America. No You Can Not ( x 5), an endorsement for Fox News, a Wake Up, America. Also:

WARNING: DRUG DEALERS AND PROSTITUTES ARE NOT WELCOME ON THIS PROPERTY. 

You just know this is the kind of place where the guy (certainly a guy) inside is armed and waiting for the shit to go down. Seeing that the warning sign included illustrations of crossed weapons, I was very conscious of being mowed down on suspicion of being a drug dealer and/or prostitute and/or general harlot/ jezebel/ fornicator/ abortionist/ godless commie lib'ral. Hence, it was a very quick visit to this self-proclaimed Cajun Safe Haven.


WarnedYou

Dishonorable mentions: The Alamo, not technically on Airline/61, but just as shady: Read about it here.

Alamo plaza

AlamoMotel

I took the road further, across the Mississippi River, over the Huey Long Bridge, and found some more abandoned/ questionably occupied seediness, followed by a patch of the way I imagine Airline/ 61 used to look. 

Layboy

Candlelightdancinggirls

And below, the second establishment featuring askew cocktail glasses in the immediate vicinity:

Nicks

Don't miss the murderous barking hounds. I didn't! It's hard to miss multiple beasts yelling at you that they want to tear your throat out. But most curious of all is the hound facing the door despite the din, as if listening to its master's voice. What, exactly, is going on inside Nick's? In the interest of my getting out of this town alive, pretend I didn't ask. 

And finally, here's what Airline may have once looked like (the parts that weren't seedy motels, restaurants, etc.).

AirlineHighway

Comments

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otter34993

(applause) :)

jason

sooooooooo cool!

But I'm so relieved to see that "Hollywood" isn't overrun by commie hippies anymore.

Randall Griffith

Fantastic! Your "Abandoned" series is incomparable, Colleen. I love it!

Kendal Harper

Where in baton rouge by the river like by earl k. long hospital or by pepboys and applebees by hammond aire

twitter.com/theoriginalecs

The loveliness of those old postcards is briefly destroyed by that crazy at the Romira!

Even if I was on that dude's side politically, I'm not sure I'd feel very invited to stay at that motel. Trigger happy!

Alicia

Awesome entry!

Joey.

Excellent work, as always, Ms. Kane. Bravo!

Kevin

Very, very well done!

P Buckman

More KUDOS to Ms. Kane! Thank you!

Alan Jennings

Missed seeing the Continental Motor Hotel (Baton Rouge's Welcome to the World). Once the first major hotel on US 61/190 in BR coming in from the north, and constructed of poured-in-place concrete walls and floors/ceilings, it was abandoned in 1986 when the owners could not give it away.

Richard

At one time the Bellemont Motor Hotel was considered a very high quality place to stay.

Rachel

I love it - thank you! The Bellemont was actually the sight of the Baton Rouge Assembly Debutante Ball into the mid '90's. You've got to love tradition in this town....

john rees

Colleen,
I was looking for info on the Vel Rose, as my foster children had the misfortune of suffering there recently. I came across your site.
So, a few comments:
I think you might enjoy reading Walker Percy's "Love In the Ruins". Perhaps you've read it already. Although a disturbing book, it does shine the light of humanity on all the people that we currently reduce to a summary (i.e. wing nut).
"You just know this is the kind of place where the guy (certainly a guy) inside is armed and waiting for the shit to go down." For the guy working that motel--and tens of thousands of others--maybe it's already gone down.

See you at HoJo's!
John

motels in tampa

The motel itself was very very clean, which is what I look for. The bathroom's were immaculate. The outside property was cleaned several times a day, there were staff outside sweeping the sidewalks and parking lot all day.


Ray Ban Aviator

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Ray Ban Uk

I am wondering How did you get so nice post?Hope you can keep writing more for us in the future.Thanks very much.

Ray Ban Wayfarer

What amazing post,I have been looking for several days.I will recommend it to my friends.Thanks.

Motel Management

I've heard a lot of good stuff about this place. Good thing they revisited it. I wish I can go there as well.

DOUG ALFORD

ANOTHER GREAT JOB!!!! YOU SAVED ME LOTS OF GAS AND FILM. I HAVE ALL OF THOSE POSTCARDS AND WAS PLANNING TO GO TAKE PHOTOS OF THE SAME PLACES AS THEY ARE TODAY. YOU MIGHT ADD THE TEN FLAGS INN, THE OLD HOWARD JOHNSON'S AND THE NOW DEMOLISHED CONTINENTAL MOTEL. THANKS FOR REMINDING US OF WHAT BATON ROUGE USED TO BE

Dave

in your travel on highway 61 going from east to west baton rouge you DO NOT cross the Huey Long Bridge. The Huey Long Bridge crosses Mississippi River just north of New Orleans. Jefferson Parish.

The bridge you cross on highway 61 is the O. K. Allen Bridge - I think. Not the Huey Long.

David

Sorry Dave, the old Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge is also the Huey P Long Bridge. (If you don't believe me, use Google) The "new" Mississippi in Baton Rouge is the Horace Wilkinson Bridge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huey_P._Long_Bridge_(Baton_Rouge)

Chad Williams

Love the verse by Bob Dylan. Great story. I was actually looking to see if the Oak Manor was believed to be haunted. I had a strange experience there once when I was around 6 or 7 years of age.

DAVID

MY GRAND PARENTS HAD A MOTEL ON AIRLINE HWY.
NOT MENTIONED IN YOUR HISTORY ON OLD MOTELS IN BATON ROUGE. I SPENT A LOT OF TIME THERE AND AFTER READING YOUR ARTICLE IT INSPIRED ME TO TRY TO FIND SOME PICTURES.NOT MUCH LUCK!PLEASE IF YOU WILL, GIVE ME IDEAS HOW TO FIND SOME. I DID TRY SEARCH ON OLD MOTEL POSTCARDS. MOTEL NAME: BRIDGEVIEW MOTEL
(JUST BEFORE THE RR TRACKS BEFORE THE HUEY P. LONG BRIDGE-OLD MISS BRIDGE. IT HAD APPROX 28ROOMS 4-ROOMS TO A BUILDING WITH COVERED PARKING. BUILT IN 1930'S. THE MOTEL WRAPPED AROUND THE GULF SERVICE STATION THEY BUILT AND MY FATHER STARTED-UP HAD A CAFE,FISHING AND HUNTING SUPPLIES, LITE SNACKS, LIVE BAIT (MY DAD RAN THE STATION AND SAID HE WAS THE FIRST BUSINESS TO SELL LIVE BAIT IN BATON ROUGE. DAVID FORBES
I did find a movie clip titled: "sex,lies and.." shows the old gulf station and pc of motel still standing in the background around the early 1980's

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