Cinclare Plantation Sugar Mill, Part 2

 

DSC00938 

Apologies for the delay between posts. I was settling back to Brooklyn, procrastinating, freelance writing and looking for a steady job. (I am still looking, and very much hoping for good news about a recent job interview. Wish me luck!)

So! Where were we? In the first real post about Cinclare, we just finished up touring the main mill. But that still leaves numerous intriguing outbuildings and structures, so let's take a look at those. 

DSC00952

The photo below was taken inside the first molasses tank, which has been cut open for storage.


DSC00947

Continue reading "Cinclare Plantation Sugar Mill, Part 2" »


Abandoned Baton Rouge in Oxford American

BOTSCover

Just a reminder, if you haven't already given in to my Twitter and Facebook requests, please pick up the current issue of Oxford American, the Southern magazine of good writing. In it appears my ode to ruin, along with a photo from Abandoned Baton Rouge. It's been a goal of mine to get into this prestigious magazine, so I'm proud to rank among the contributors. The issue is on finer newsstands now through the end of August. 

I made it back to Brooklyn and just got Internet set up, so there will be a new ABR post soon.


Cinclare Plantation Sugar Mill

Cinclarechimney

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.

DSC00798

Continue reading "Cinclare Plantation Sugar Mill" »


Best Comment Ever, Miss Havisham's Repair Shop Edition

Misshavisham

I chose this month's Best Comment Ever from a post about a mysterious TV repair shop because it shed some light on a site that might not be abandoned after all, while adding more layers of mystery.

FWIW, that "TV repair shop" looks totally abandoned, but I don't think it is. The buildings in your first two photographs were occupied by a mysterious...well, TV repair business as recently as 5 years ago. It's a loooong, story, but here's the short-short version: Against my better judgment, I purchased a cheap Akai TV from Sam's Club. The TV, of course, broke after a month. Akai actually had me drop it off at the buildings in your photo (which confused me because they looked much the same at that time). The inside of both buildings was creepy in a way that's hard to describe. The one on the left (top) seemed to be where they actually worked, and the other one seemed to be storage or something, but the contents of both seemed much the same to me--a combination of an old TV repair shop and Miss Havisham's dining room, frozen in time like something you'd find inside a pyramid. The three chain-smoking guys (all men a generation apart in age, probably from the same family) who seemed to own the shop were very odd, but affable enough. Still, I couldn't help but wonder what exactly was going on there that allowed them to make enough money to justify the place's continued existence. (And as for that speaker: They seem to have those wired up throughout the place, and connected to a radio to listen to while they...do whatever it is they do with their time in there. Perhaps the one outside is their way of signaling that someone is "home" because otherwise, it would be difficult to tell.

Thanks to David Pye for that back story. It's comments like this that keep me ever vigilant for more vacant buildings to feature on Abandoned Baton Rouge. 

And welcome newcomers! If you found Abandoned Baton Rouge via my presence at South by Southwest or you're otherwise new to this blog, read on for suggested points of entry.

Continue reading "Best Comment Ever, Miss Havisham's Repair Shop Edition" »


Best Comment Ever, Lincoln Theatre Edition

Lincolntheatre

One of the more historic buildings featured on Abandoned Baton Rouge is the 1950s-era Lincoln Theatre, at one time a "blacks only" movie house. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke there when planning the Montgomery bus boycott. According to commenters on the post, musicians such as James Brown and Chuck Berry performed there, it showed porn and blaxsploitation films toward the end, and it was possibly the site of a race riot in 1972, although that was probably at the Temple theater. (Such is the ephemeral nature of "oral" history passed on in blog comments.)

Continue reading "Best Comment Ever, Lincoln Theatre Edition" »


A Gothic Winter's Day in Civil War Territory

CW15

CW1

I recently headed north of Baton Rouge with two new pals I met through this blog to see some Civil War sites and other nearby points of interest.

With battlefield exploration, you have to fill in a lot of blanks with your imagination. My own brain supplied vague jumbles of mustachioed men in double-breasted coats fighting each other with bayonet guns and cannons. I'm not going to front--I have not retained a lot of information about the Civil War from high school history class, not that much of it ever sunk in. For me, any battle descriptions go in one ear and out the other, unless it's told with some compelling human element or perhaps if it is acted out in a movie starring Patrick Swayze. 

But for those interested and knowledgeable on such matters, I can tell you that we visited the site of the Siege of Port Hudson. Back then, it looked like this:

Siege_of_Port_Hudson 

See those mounds in the illustration? If my sources are correct (and I have no reason to believe they're not), I'll show you what some of those mounds look like now.

Continue reading "A Gothic Winter's Day in Civil War Territory" »


Best Comment Ever

Lobiancos
 

It's Friday, so you know what that means (no you don't, yet)-- It's time for ABR's new regular feature, Best Comment Ever!

For this week's month's Best Comment Ever, we're going all the way back to a post from 2007 when my old camera Old Blue Eye made everything look blue, and a storytelling comment which was left by commenter Jay in 2008. The post covered LoBianco's Grocery, among other Government Street buildings. 

Continue reading "Best Comment Ever" »


Big Fan?

Hi all,

First, thanks for joining me in this third year of Abandoned Baton Rouge. 

I finally made it into 2008 and created a Facebook page for ABR after I was alerted to a Baton Rouge memories page on Facebook running photos of places I've covered here, such as the Real Superstore and the Broadmoore Theater. Must say, I found that Facebook page to be suspiciously derivative of this blog. But at any rate, won't you be my fan

I want to thank everyone for the praise, insight, and memories you leave. I don't often respond to the comments, but I read every one with interest. And you are too kind--Lord knows a lot of the photos on here are not my best; in fact, I cringe to look back at many posts--never mind the fact that most of the time I don't even have interior access to the buildings I feature.

But! 

Thanks to the guy who brought me here to Louisiana in the first place, and to the birthday of Baby Jesus, I have a new camera--a much better one, without sand damage to the lens. And I have never been a trained photographer, but I've been slowly improving with practice. I have less than five months left living in BR, but I hope these will be productive months for the blog (and as always, I need your suggestions for sites to check out). So let's make these last few months count! 

GO TEAM!