Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot
Not Long Now

Red Stick Revisited

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So I came back to the Red Stick for a weekend.

Pictured above is my former neighbor, the Baton Rouge High School magnet school for arty kids, under renovation. From some accounts, BRHS was very much in need of this renovation.

There are many other ways that funds could be used in this state. For example, my favorite imaginary project is a train between BR and NOLA. So how did this particular project attract funds? Governor Jindal (not an arty kid, I would guess?) graduated from high school there in 1988, so one might perhaps have a little something to do with the other. UPDATE: It does not. I'm told these plans predate Jindy.

But the first thing I noticed upon return to town after nearly a year's absence, was that the midcentury-era supermarket shopping center that inspired the first-ever post on this blog has been razed.

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Instead of just rubble, the footprint is dirt now. (Anyone care to farm this patch?)

On my extremely brief tour of the old stomping grounds, I passed by old subjects which had decomposed noticeably further in the months I'd been gone.

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When you're not used to seeing it (anymore), it's kind of astounding that this kind of decay is right out for all to see in heavily trafficked parts of town.

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Below was the closest I could bring myself to the windows without any warmup.

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Though I was always kind of a scaredey cat, I soon realized I had lost the nerve I once did have when living in Baton Rouge--perhaps the effect of bored desperation.

 And for Lo Biancos:

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It's sinking ever more into the dirt. 

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Dirt for sale, y'all.

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This was a Baton Rouge poster, not that you can really tell. I was anxious being so close, I worked too quickly to take good shots. Inside LoBianco's now looks like this:

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Across the street was this darling Craftsman house, which I've only ever seen used for its mini-parking lot, where snowballs were sold. 

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It's ridiculous that no one is using that cute building.

During the whole quick mini-tour, I kept thinking someone would stop and ask what I was doing, then I remembered it was Baton Rouge. No one acts that fast or aggressively.

This former school, as previously seen in an older post I'm too lazy to dig up the link to, is supposed to open as apartments in spring 2011. 

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I'm all about adaptive reuse for neglected buildings, but this seems like a desolate location for apartments, with nothing in walking distance. Across the street, no sign of the onetime dog kennel/ dog pound that was being dismantled brick by brick when I was last there.

 On nearby Scenic Road, here's where the Baton Rouge Spirit of '76 bus, as seen in this blog's banner, still peeks up, behind that fence. It says Patriots on the top of the bus...anyone remember such a team?

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I also swung past another past subject, the former Book Exchange, which is across from the Dufrocq school and down the block from Circa 1858 compound. The building is under renovation.

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It's being fixed up by Andrew Moran, who is converting it into a furniture studio. Andrew's brother Ben was kind enough to share photos of the interior.

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Seeing these photos (there were a few dozen) was really inspiring. More artists and craftspeople should do what Andrew's doing!

Also, this photo confirmed the commenter claims that The Book Exchange used to sell adult-oriented products along with books and products that catered to "the waterbed lifestyle."

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On the way back to picking up my husband from his friend's place before heading to NOLA, I passed Pace Salon. A commenter claimed after I first posted about it in 07 that the mysterious place was still occasionally open (but I didn't really believe it), and another commenter claimed in 2008 that Mr. Pace had died (more believable). Now it looks more unoccupied and overgrown than ever. However: on the Friday of my visit, I spotted a freshly coiffed older woman leaving the premesis, with a shiny new blonde bouffant hairdo. Perhaps she was a ghost.

And then, down to wonderful, florid NOLA! But on the way, we had an important stop to make.

The Tinseltown movie theater was just a quick stop the first time I went. But since it first ran in November 2009, that post accrued some interesting comments, many concerning the murder that occurred one night in the parking lot--and one happier comment about the marriage proposal that you should really go read for yourself. Another recent comment on the post, indicating that you could now enter the building, was enough to convince me to stop while I was back in the area.

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As my husband and I approached the building that morning, we saw a pickup stationed near the front of the building and thought it might be a security guard. Inside was a guy, head back against the seat, mouth open, asleep (or dead), so we continued on with our mission.

The front of the building is now boarded up, so maybe there was no longer access to the inside. As we drove around the side, though, one door had a latch hanging open like it might be unlocked. I got out of our rental car, tried it, and my heart skipped: OPEN! Inside, total darkness, but I stuck my camera in, taking flash shots. Then I recruited the husband to guard me/ hold the door open as I ventured inside.

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Inside it was clammy and scary. There was this little troll-sized door under where the screen would have been, but where now there was just a wall.

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There was a door leading to the rest of the building at the back of this theater, but we had neither flashlight nor weapons, and I'd be surprised if there are no hobos living in there. I was terrified my husband would jokingly close me in the theater in total darkness, which he then pretended he was starting to do, so that cut that visit short. (The hobos of Tinseltown may still be wondering about those dog-whistle-esque high-pitched squeals that they heard that morning.)

In conclusion, I remain a scaredy cat who still gets a little exploring in when curiosity wins out over the fear.

 

 

 

 

Comments

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edr

What wonderful (if not sad and depressing!) pictures. I, too, have wandered around these spots wondering what the heck has happened to my town. I have SO many memories attached to several of these places. Things have changed so drastically since I was born here 49 years ago. Nostalgia is bittersweet. Thanks for this wonderful blog. Please keep it coming!

Becky

WOW! Thanks for posting! I went to Baton Rouge High School for a year before moving. Grew up in a house near St Joseph's Academy, shopped at that shopping center all the time with my mom... Still love your pictures and blog!! Thanks!

RoPo

So glad you made time for ABR on your visit! Thanks!! I've missed your frequent posts, but I know it's not easy since you're not here anymore.

Kevin

I would say BRHS was more for smarty farty kids than their artsy fartsy brethren--although I was pretty much a member of the farty-farty contigent when I was there. I'm very glad they're renovating--it was in desperate need, and it is a great school!

Dianne Wickes

I'm so glad to find your site! I lived in Baton Rouge from 1969 to 1971, then again from '76 through '80, and my dad was there until his death six years ago.

I came here looking for photos of the old Hart Theater, where I worked concessions while going to school in 1970-71. Anyone have any?

Re your shot of the team bus; I noticed in your photos of Robert E Lee High School (where I graduated in 1970) that the school sign said Patriots. When I was there they were the Lee High Rebels. Perhaps their bus?

I didn't recognize BR ... literally got lost there ... when I went back to deal with my dad's house. So much change.

I would love to see pics of the Hart, if anyone has any; particularly of the old mural in the lobby.

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I would say BRHS was more for smarty farty kids than their artsy fartsy brethren--although I was pretty much a member of the farty-farty contigent when I was there. I'm very glad they're renovating--it was in desperate need, and it is a great school!

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What a shame that this town is falling into shambles. Hopefully someone will come along soon to rejuvenate it.

You ask if anyone remembers The Saints? Well most definitely so. I was rooting for them a few years ago when they won the Superbowl. What a sweet victory.

Kate

I went to BRMHS! It's closed for renovation right now. Lee High was closed down and so the BRMHS kids temporarily use the old Lee High buildings. My grandmother graduated from BRHS in 1952! it was built back in the 20s. It was so beautiful but became really shabby. I remember in one classroom you could put your hand through a hole in the wall and touch the tree branch outside! And it was 3 floors but you weren't allowed to the top floor because of the asbestos. That's not all either... Lead paint etc. I'm so glad that they're finally doing something to save it.

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this is scary

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There are many other techniques that resources could be used in this condition. I preferred fabricated venture is a practice between BR and NOLA. This particular venture appeal to funds.

Proud property owner

Try making a trip back to East State Street and see the huge improvements. Maybe you will have a better opinion of the area.

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've missed your frequent posts, but I know it's not easy since you're not here anymore.

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J'ai vraiment trouvé votre message pour plus d'informations et j'ai été obligé de visiter votre blog,

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Greetings! Do you own any blogging or it is a completely natural gift of yours? Can't wait to see your answer.

Sari Hendricks

There are many other techniques that resources could be used in this condition. I preferred fabricated venture is a practice between BR and NOLA. This particular venture appeal to funds.

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Your pics tell a story by themselves as always. Really informative.

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Love your pics too!!

joshua

There's what has to be one of the largest/tallest tags/graffiti in the world on Tinseltown now.

Shana Tull

HI!!! Love this blog! I am a photographer looking for an old, creepy and abandoned place for an upcoming band shoot I have. Please, any info would be fantastic!!!

Mr Bingle

I remember going to that gas station as a kid. They had all these tanks of little chameleons for sale. The Craftsman house was the old location of Victoria's Toy Station and later became my drug dealer's house in high school.

David Miller

I grew up in and around Baton Rouge until I joined the Marine Corps in 88. I recently went back to see my Mom and took a tour of the old town. All of the places I remember from when I was a kid are run-down and forgotten. Quite a shame I think. I still love to drive around Choctaw, Florida, and Airline and reminisce though.

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