Best Comment Ever, Miss Havisham's Repair Shop Edition
Abandoned Baton Rouge in Oxford American

Cinclare Plantation Sugar Mill


Cinclare Plantation Sugar Mill was built in 1897 and was active until about five years ago, when it became the last sugar mill in West Baton Rouge to shut down. (More historical information here.)

I first attempted to explore this site in April 2008, but a security guard appeared and I quite literally ran away. Two years later, that same security guard led Kara and I around on a tour of the entire premises. I posted about the first visit anyway back then, because what did I care? The blog was pretty loosey-goosey in those early days.

Looking at those old photos, I see I was not overly concerned with such matters as lining up my subjects in the viewfinder and taking photos from inside cars with glare visible on the window. What I don't know about photography today could still fill the enormous sugar storage unit you'll soon see, but I'm pleased with my progression in many ways. I've learned to take my time and be more careful, but even the two hours spent on this visit was too rushed (because of that, I regret that many photos I took were unusable) and it felt like it was only a scouting mission.

To my surprise, the colors and the light inside the mill were amazing--a photographer's dream. I hope I did justice to the industrial beauty of this site.





Those big old gears are not just a jackpot for decorating a steampunk loft. They're being sold; the mill is being parted out. Some of the parts in there are extremely valuable, such as sections of brass piping valued at 80 grand. Hence the 24-hour security.  In the photo below are some gears waiting to be carted off to their new uses.




As we overlooked this vast open area (below), it seemed a perfect setting for a fight scene in some explosion movie I would never watch.


At least one movie has already been shot here. The security guard told us it was called Mutant and ran on the SyFy channel (had something to do with zombies who were caused by sugar...?) though I couldn't find mention of it online. Sounds terrible! Now that I would watch.

Below, an agitation element inside a vat.


This tin roofing fell in during Katrina (our guide was sitting in his office in the mill at the time), and has since been replaced.




I couldn't get over how great the light was for shooting in this section.


The view out that side of the mill, looking North.


See that open-air roof part extending out to the far left (above)? Our guide led us out on a catwalk along a conveyor belt to the end of it. Rather, as the lightest I was nominated to lead the way, as he didn't know if it would hold us all. Terrifying. Here we are beating a hasty retreat.


Back in the, uh, safe inside, the tin roof had its own linear galaxy as the light came in through holes.


Below is the view from a fire escape on the other side of the mill, with molasses tanks in the middle ground, a conveyor belt for sugar cane behind them, and sugar cane fields beyond in the distance. 



Here's the time clock in the workers' break area, which still had signs (7 Days Since a Workplace Injury!), awards, and moldy safety manuals hanging on the walls (alas, my photos of those were fails).


Antique farm equipment silently rusts in a new back section of the mill.  


Our final stop inside the mill was this storage unit for sugar, which still sees use.


It may have been longer than a football field, though I'm not the best judge of such things. If we'd been there just two weeks earlier, the guard told us, we would've seen it full nearly to the apex with sugar. Now there was just a residual dusting to crunch under our feet. We scraped some sugar from the wall to sample. It tasted like light brown sugar. 

That's all for now--I don't know how many photos I can put in a post before it explodes. Part 2, featuring the exterior and outbuildings, coming very soon.

Thanks again to my fellow Brooklyn-to-Baton Rouge transplant and pal Katie for hooking up this visit.


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annette ranger

That first pic reminds me of some Pink Floyd album art. Love it!


Reminds me of the Twin Peaks intro. Beautiful!


beautiful photos. this place reminds me a whole lot of sloss furnances in birmingham, al.

Colleen Kane

Annette, I can see that.

Alicia, Wow, thanks! What a great thing to be reminded of!

Jess, Yep, same here! Different color scheme, though. A few photos I took at Sloss are in this post from my personal blog:

The photos are amazing! I would love to purchase some of the innards, too...


I for one, am jealous of your photographic talent ... and your ability to get access to a great place like this!

I have to agree with Annette on the PF cover! :)


your best yet, i think. marvelous.


Well worth the wait!


Your photos are incredible!! Definitely should be published (in my humble opinion). You do weddings? ;)


Damn, those are great shots. Are they the same as you showed me on the way to the rodeo?
I might have to say, though, that the story from the first visit is the best part of the post.

medieval dresses

Great pictures! The facilities were kinda classic. Great post!

Jerry Odom

Very interesting photographs. That place looks like it'd make a great video game level or setting. EA Sports should take a look. Is it the rust/patina that makes everything have a green haze?

Colleen Kane

Thanks everybody! Jerry, some of the equipment was painted that vibrant blue-green color, but a lot of the green tint is due to some green semi-transparent ceiling panels that let in light.

Katie Harvey

They turned out beautifully Colleen! I knew this place screamed your name before I even met you. I'm so glad that you were able to shoot this before's your BR swan song.

If you send me these shots, I'll post them on the BR Film location website.


Is that aqua color from second shot from paint or could it be copper deposits? Cool stuff! Too bad it's being shutdown.



Nursing top

this photo's are awesome and amazing! love it! i actually enjoyed watching this photos, so neat and clean


Off topic, but really abandoned....



Nice idea! I never try to make a flower tissue before, Anyway, thanks for sharing this post. I've got an idea.


It's so great to see well-taken pictures of this place. I have personally explored those great cavernous sheds of Cinclare, even adopting a family of kittens from beneath a piece of machinery. It is a place I hold dear to my exploratory childhood and so it feels good to see it up here.

Workplace Injury Claims

If you are injured either at work or on your way to or from work you may be entitled to compensation under the relevant State Act. In order to claim, you must first advise your employer that the incident has occurred and you have sustained an injury. Even if you don't think your injury is severe at the time, tell your employer as the full extent of the injury may not be known. A workers compensation claim should then be lodged with your employer who will advise the relevant insurance company.


I love all these pictures, after seeing them it gave me the idea to take our engagement pictures at Cinclare. I grew up in Brusly so that place reminds me alot of my childhood and brings back great memories. Thanks for sharing!

Vibram Five Fingers

I love all these pictures, after seeing them it gave me the idea to take our engagement pictures at Cinclare.

ecco shoes

The security guard told us it was called Mutant and ran on the SyFy channel

Air Max 2010

I am glad it was appropriately punished. I don't work in a big agency, i am an independent, so I don't have any insight into how agencies bill, but I know how I do it, and there is no padding there, so for others to muddy that up is pretty irritating indee



Tory Burch Flats Clearance

Awesome blog,really supllied with it.I have been looking for it since I was 9 years old.Thanks for sharing.

Tory Burch Flats Clearance

Awesome blog,really supllied with it.I have been looking for it since I was 9 years old.Thanks for sharing.

Tory Burch Flats Clearance

Awesome blog,really supllied with it.I have been looking for it since I was 9 years old.Thanks for sharing.

Apostle Bishop Ann Parker Ambers

I am glad to see these pictures. It is my understanding that the Sugarmill may become active again. I was born on Cinclare Plantation, February, 1948. My uncle lived and worked there with one exception until he died. Even my husband had an opportunity to work at the sugarmill. Most people do not believe me when I tell them I was born on a Sugar Cane Plantation. I hope to be able to take a few pictures there to have in my Legacy Book that is being left for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Thank you for the pictures.


Carjacked also had the ending filmed at the mill.


This place was also featured in an episode of the now cancelled TV show "Sister Pickers" a year or so ago.

Steven ducote

These pictures remind me of my childhood. When i was about 6 or so, my dad worked as a time keeper at Oaklawn Sugar Mill in Franklin La, I use to have run of the place for hours on end. All the mill workers would keep an eye on me, I remember the big gears, the boilers, the steam pipes, the sounds, the smells and best of all the fresh sugar coming out of the mill, still warm and delicious. It is sad these old mills are closing and being torn down. A lot of history in the old places. Good honest hard working people, the backbone of America. Too bad the young kids of today will never get a chance to see, hear, smell and taste what came out of the old mills. That was a real treat looking back. Thanks for taking the time to photograph and post the pictures. God bless.

Debbie Allen

Just went past this place on vacation. Your commentary is very interesting And pictures are great. They should save it and have tours. ( except for the catwalk maybe). Thanks for sharing

Clint landry

I was born and raised in the same town that cinclare is in. I remember the smell of the sugar being processed and the sound of the trucks moving in and out. This place is the simble of my town (Brusly) and they make movies there all the time, there actually making a big movie there right now, i dont know what movie but its big. Thanks for sharing this onfo about my town.

Dana Lemoine Trewren

My parents moved to Cinclare in 1976. I was 2 yrs. old. My dad was a welder there for 32 yrs. I remember the horn would blow everyday at 6 am and 6 pm during the grinding season. They also used the whistle during grinding as a call to the techs, such as mechanics, welders, electrictions etc. Each had a different number of short whistles. For example, a welder was 3 short whistles, mechanics were 1 short whistle, electrictions were 4 short whistles and to stop the mill from grinding if a problem occurred it was 1 long whistle. And, at end of the grinding season when the last load of sugar cane was sent through the mill every employee who was in the mill had a chance to pull the whistle for 1 long continuous celebration!


Wonderful photos! Thanks for posting. Brought back memories from late 50's-early 60's when a classmates mother worked there. We'd roam all over, climb rickety stairs,lean over rickety rails, and watch the boiling vats in action. Of course we'd always end our night adventure at the boxcars getting a little sugar(brown). No one ever got hurt,What's that saying "God watches out for fools and drunks." Thanks for the memories.


Mutant World 2014 is available to watch.

Chris Alderman

What wonderful photos! I googled "Cinclare Sugar Mill" while working on some family genealogy. My mother grew up at Cinclare (she was born 1910), and her father ran the sugar refining factory from about 1904 to 1932 or so. It produced "plantation granulated", which was the brown sugar you saw, as opposed to the more refined white sugar. He later became a Professor at L.S.U., William Whipple by name. How interesting to read the other postings from people also connected to Cinclare!

Lori Pryor

My and my husband would love to take family photos at Cinclare Sugarmill.. We slow down every time we pass by and take in its rustic beauty! How can we make this possible?

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