midcentury modern

Abandoned New Orleans: General Laundry Cleaners and Dyers

As many of you know, I recently returned for a quick visit to Louisiana. I spent one day in Baton Rouge, and most of that day was spent at the Bellemont.

That mission was great, and I wanted to also stock up on photos for future ABR posts while I had the chance. But after a long day at the Bellemont, the prospect of searching for new sites in BR was not inviting, now that I had a rental apartment waiting for me down in NOLA. Before leaving, I swung by a few of my old haunts to check in.

Superstore

The Real Superstore, which is remembered fondly in many comments on this post, is no longer offering low prices every day and is no longer even super. It's now just "store." (Probably because a movie shot there in February, according to the most recent comment on the post. YOU ARE WELCOME, FILM SCOUTS.)

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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.

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Lee High School

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For the past half a century until May 21 of this year, Robert E. Lee High School was in the teaching business. But now, to quote a man named Alice, school's out forever. This expedition into abandoned Baton Rouge didn't exemplify as much decay and natural reclamation that so many vacant buildings do, but we may not have the luxury of time. The school may have a date with a wrecking ball, although that doesn't seem to happen often here. If not, I'll follow up at the end of my tenure in Baton Rouge, since it doesn't take long here for nature to take hold.  But even now, it hasn't been well maintained, so it's not lacking in decay.

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Downtown Hodgepodge

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I spent a late afternoon wandering around downtown last week because I decided to go through with my proposed idea, Main Street, Exiled: Disappearing Downtowns, on a new blog Disappearing Downtowns. I will only be here in Louisiana about one more year, so this new blog is a way to keep up the ABR-style photography wherever I roam.

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Endless Buffet of Leftovers


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And now, a bunch of sites I've been meaning to post from two recent excursions, but they were trumped by the showing and telling of the time I saw coffins and the time I could have ended up in a coffin.

First, yet another car repair joint, this one on Florida and more colorful than most. Note the sinkhole in the repair floor, below. 

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Planty


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Roller rink, Barq's plant, and more

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I originally spotted Leo's Roller Rink on North a few months ago to my delight, but then found this website for a Leo's rink, called it to hear a human answer, and mistakenly thought the one pictured here was still open despite all appearances. Turns out that website was for a different Leo's location, duh.

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