Friday, November 11, 2011

Northgate Mall October 2011 Lafayette Louisiana

I always enjoy discovering or re-discovering malls that have no current information online and bringing the malls to you on this blog. Northgate Mall in Lafayette Louisiana is alive and still open for business. Northgate has survived even with the development of a large big box center around two miles away from the mall. Northgate Mall is located south of I-10 off of exit 103A at the corner of NE Evangeline Throughway and Willow Street. Northgate Mall was the first major indoor mall built in Lafayette in the early 1970's. Northgate Mall coexisted with the Acadiana Mall for years until all large anchor stores closed and were replaced by non-traditional mall stores without mall access. This is my third visit to this mall and I was fortunate to have seen this mall in the mid 1990's when the mall was bustling with all of the anchors operating. I also visited the mall in 2007 and the mall was not much different than this visit in October 2011. I was actually surprised to see the mall operating since there is no information and their website was closed several years ago. I found this thread from 2009 with names of stores that gives a little insight into the past of the mall. There is also a funny facebook page with several hundred friends that is worth checking out. This mall is a nice change from the boring malls of the current generation and serves almost as a time capsule of a mall from the 1980's. All three of the main department store anchors closed; JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, and Service Merchandise were there at the mall for the best years. Now Home Depot, Albertsons, Stage, and Anna's Linens are the main draws to the mall. Transcom a call center took the former Service Merchandise anchor for their operations. The mall has survived by being at a great location and bringing in many different stores to keep people coming to the property. 
Check out the old school computer in the picture; I bet the child in the picture is a teenager by now.
I took shots of two different mall directories. Take a good look at the anchor stores for a nice surprise. Yes a 2011 mall directory still listing a department store that has been out of business for over a decade.

Surprisingly the tenant list is mostly up-to-date. Although Beeper Boutique, Aladdin's Castle, and Sam Goody are gone. Does anyone besides doctors use a beeper anymore; they were such a hassle. Try finding a payphone these days to make a call when your beeper goes off.
There are a variety of signs around the mall with different styles of mall logos.

These signs advertising Stage stores are all around the mall. Mall management must be really trying to make sure that Stage does not start locking their entrance to the mall up.
The main entrance to the mall next to Albertsons.
Albertsons is located on the former JCPenney site.
Stage looks out of place with the modernized entrance.
Stage and the back of the former Service Merchandise (just past Stage)

This former junior anchor is in bad shape. I can't tell what it used to be; maybe a grocery store. This junior anchor is located directly next to Anna's Linens in the mall taking up a significant amount of space in the nearly empty mall corridor.
This view shows how popular the mall is on a Saturday afternoon.
Service Merchandise is now Transcom a call center; and has a secured mall entrance.
The Home Depot is detached from the mall and is located mostly on the former Montgomery Wards site.
The ceilings have mirrored glass square designs in several spots throughout the mall.
Stage is the only true department store anchor left at the mall. The anchor choices of this mall helped to facilitate the demise of this mall as the retail destination of Lafayette. You can still get in and out through the mall, but it appears to be a matter of time that Stage will eventually lock up this entrance.
The former entrance to Service Merchandise has been completely changed.
The lights are on; maybe this former store is an extension of the Transcom anchor.
Eight stores including Stage are in this half of the mall.
Hi Style, Style America, and GNC are a cluster that has stayed together. On the right two closed food outlets and the Maison De Hallmark.
Gordons or Zales store?

This is the entance to the dilapidated junior anchor/ (grocer?) from one of the above photos.
Hibbett has this location in the mall and one a little over a mile away at the new development with Target and JCPenney. How long will this store last?
The old Foot Locker; someone took the hoop away that was in between the two numbers above the register stand.
The new Footlocker; well the 1990's version. I like the 1990's version of Foot Locker stores better than the boring vanilla stores of the 2000's. Check out the + designed skylights.

There is a small working fountain in the middle of the center court.
These four stores sell mostly men's clothing and they are all connected together inside of the stores to easily hop from one to another. This is the first mall that I have been to that has more men's clothing stores than women's clothing stores.
Three kiosks remain in the mall these two by the main entrance. There are 12 stores and 3 kiosks open in this half of the mall including Anna's Linens.
Store after store here is closed; the blue and red looks to have possibly been the Aladdins Castle.

The former entrance to Montgomery Wards; which has been demolished.
More mirrored glass designs.
The former entrance to JCPenney was walled off when the store closed. Albertsons is on the other side of this wall.

Footaction USA sports an updated look, but the inventory of the store was very low compared to the store space.
Another former junior anchor possibly at one time a Woolworths.
Walking towards the Stage store.
Maison de Hallmark is actually a jewelry store not a Hallmark card store.
Wood panel storefronts should have never gone out of style.
Saturday afternoon at Northgate; once a great mall. What will it take to bring this mall back?
The Service Merchandise/ Stage court. There is a small food outlet that was closed today, but probably only  opens for the Transcom crowd.
Anna's Linens looks to have once been a K and B Drugstore.


  1. From what I can remember, the wing leading out to the Montgomery Ward was chopped off when the Home Depot was built, That wing once had a Gordon's Jewelers, Regis Hairstylists, an optician, and—way back in the day—the radio studio for 94.5 KSMB.

    The junior anchor was actually two stores: a TG&Y and a Weingartens/Safeway supermarket. In the early 80s, shortly after Safeway bought the Lafayette Weingartens stores, this location moved across Evangeline Thruway to occupy the former Kmart Foods location. The TG&Y became McCrory's in the early '90s and closed by 2001.

    The Hi-Style store was originally a Piccadilly Cafeteria, then a Luby's for a short while.

    The Anna's Linens was originally a K&B Drugs store. It switched over to Rite Aid when that chain bought K&B in 1998, but I don't think it was kept open for very long after that. K&B, by the way, had a few mall locations in Louisiana: Northgate (Lafayette), Alexandria, Hammond Square, Lakeside (Metairie), and Southland (Houma) are the ones that immediately come to mind.

    The wood panel storefront next to the Maison de Hallmark was a Radio Shack, with a separate Tandy computer store attached. To the right of that was a Cookie Co, and to the right of that was a Kay-Bee Toys.

    I also remember a B. Dalton bookstore next to the Wilson's/Service Merchandise (it was to the right of the entrance) and an A&W Hot Dogs & More next to the B. Dalton.

    1. hi ther, yes,and yes again, i sure wish that mall would BE A really Happening Place again.this morning on the news,it said to get that type of mall back,YOU had to Have,advertisements,for BAND to play in the center stage area,where youd also bring in people just to listen,but to Finally find out that there are stores in there that are OPEN. IT Would really be a starting point for that mall.
      but,i have even tried to get some of my friend/ssss,that who there own businesss/ beauty salons/jewerly/and What ever happen to a womans only shoe store.,i remember K&B,Drugs at that side entrance,and there was the neatest shoe store right next door to the hall.
      but back to my LETS get the word out,
      even A drummer/guitar solo/or anything musical for only HALF Hour or get people back in there.
      some told me its DANGEROUS

      Boy did i get a big laugh out of that.
      the people in there WERE SO HAPPY TO See someone with inthuesiam to HELP the NORTHGATE MALL.

      Theres a bigger picture,thou

      someone in texas owns it.and well

      they dont care at all about it

      LAFAYETTE,Alone should care.


    2. albertsons closed down because there prices were way too high. if they wanted to stay in business,all they had to do was downsize to what people buy, the nessaities, and also they could have had the Local people who have oranges/satsumas/lemon trees HAVE a special area just for them too. w
      what is wrong,THEY Closed because they did NOT Want competition.period. very childish thinking.
      if you cant compete,with everyone else.or have something that everyone really NEEDS.then

      you should close.
      they were greedy

    3. Albertsons also does not seem to invest in their stores after they open up. Their prices are high and you could just drive a few streets down to Walmart and pay much less.

    4. The mall can be successful again if they put some money into the property. The big box center on I-10 that has the Target and JCPenney is an example of what the mall could be if they put some effort into the redevelopment. Many of the store spaces can be used for junior anchors and still keep the mall corridor open for smaller stores. The Planet Fitness is an example of a small investment by a company to renovate a space to make it productive again. They just have to reach out to companies and even try to lure stores away from nearby shopping centers. Getting the Albertsons space filled would be a good first step to making this happen, but the space should connect to the mall. I would even demolish part of the Albertsons so the rest of the mall can be seen better from the main road which will attract businesses to locate there. The Northline, Meierland, and Gulfgate Mall redevelopments in the Houston area are perfect examples of what can be done to improve Northgate, but they are not cheap.
      I don't get the perception that the mall is dangerous, I have never had that feeling there or any other of the malls that I have covered on this blog. Crime happens anywhere, and more often at some of the nicest, busiest malls out there.

  2. Wow thanks for the information, there is so little information about this mall even though it is still open.

    1. The cafeteria was called Osborne's (or Osbourne's). I think it closed sometime in the late 80's or early 90's. It was never a Piccadilly or Luby's. The mall originally ended where that orange ramp is now. They added a Beall's (now Stage) and a Wilson's (then Service Merchandise, now Transcom). The store with the red columns near the old Montgomery Ward's location was a jewelry store. I forget the name. I worked at the mall at Orange Julius for a brief period in the late 80's. Orange Julius was right by Montgomery Ward's and across from a record store. The red mall sign is one of the original mall signs. Back in the 70's there was an arcade called the Land of Oz with pictures of the tin woodsman and the lion painted on either side of the door. There was also a BAR called the driftwood lounge right next door to the arcade. The Fair was a department store across from Weingarten's and TG&Y.

    2. Thanks for the info, this mall really had some great memories for many people. I suggest to check out the Facebook page with around 1,000 friends.

    3. There definitely was a Luby's because I remember eating there on several occasions!

  3. I forgot about another junior anchor...The Fair department store was a couple of stores down from the Piccadilly/Luby's until the late 80s, when a 50Off Store moved in. After that, it was a Tuesday Morning.

  4. I read an article in today's Baton Rouge newspaper that the Albertsons was closing. The article mentioned Northgate Mall so I did a google search and your site was the only true information which showed up. Many Thanks! I have passed this location many times and never once did I have any idea that it was an enclosed mall or of the history of it. There is no promotion or publication of any kind and I'm surprised the few stores there have managed to hang on as long as they have. Incidentally the call center also has closed

    1. Transcom is also closing . The mall owner needs to do something or it'll. Shutdown

  5. Besides my article and a facebook page, very little information is available about the Northgate Mall. I hope this mall continues to survive but the call center and Albertsons loss will take away foot traffic to the mall. The only anchors attached to the mall are Anna's Linens and Bealls. The mall is a well preserved look back at a 1980's mall and worth a trip if you live in South Louisiana.

  6. Bad Management this mall will never make it to next year

  7. Albertson's has shut down.

  8. At some time in the late 90s, there was also an Old America ("rustic" flotsam and jetsum from the supply line between retailers and the 50% Off), a Rave (teen/tween clothing), a candied nuts place, and a airbrushed tee shirt shop near the Wards. I haven't looked lately, but there was an 8 screen cinema adjacent to the mall at one point, along with a Whitney bank, and at one time in the '00s part of the back of the mall (along Pine Street) was a pair of night clubs called "Back to Back".

  9. Thanks for the extra information. I have a more recent post from 2013 from Northgate that shows most of the mall as it is now.

  10. Me and my husband met at the Northgate Mall. We were 15 and 15 years old in the early 70s. We got married and are still together. 40 years. Good memories there.

  11. Replies
    1. Hello, welcome to the discussion.

  12. I worked at a booth in the middle of the mall called Spittin' Image (outside of what became 50 Off and McCrory's) for a couple of years in the early 90's, I remember most of the stores mentioned here, including Weingarten's/Safeway because that's where we shopped for groceries in the 80's, mom worked at Montgomery Wards for years. There was also a "Chess King" men's clothing store, the music store was originally "Musicland", and their was also a comic book store. I was a huge Guns N' Roses fan and I remember pre-ordering the Use Your Illusion cassette tapes from them. I also remember spending over half of each of my paychecks from Spittin' Image at a beauty supply shop that sold lottery tickets when the LA Lottery first came out...

  13. I worked at this mall for many years...who remembers Shoe Lodge, The Ranch and The Hanger...the places to shop in the late 70's and early 80's.

  14. Has anyone visited the mall in the past six months? I have not seen any news on the mall lately and I would like to see what is going on there.

    1. I live a couple miles west of the mall in Lafayette. I'll check it out again next week.

    2. I live a couple miles west of the mall in Lafayette. I'll check it out again next week.

  15. Hubby and I lived in Dallas for a couple of years and went to a large flu market there that we were told was once an old mall like this one. It was booming with lots of shops and only open on weekends like jockey lot

  16. My husband & I also met at the Northgate Mall 30 years ago March 4th. The Driftwood Lounge. We were sad to see it closed. If management doesn't do something soon the whole mall will be shut down.

    1. Thanks for the reply, Lafayette has one of the best economies in Louisiana right now and the mall could benefit from a remodel. The Acadiana Mall recently remodeled and nearly all store spaces are filled. Acadiana looks very bland though after the remodel, so it would be nice if they fixed Northgate up and gave it some enhancements.

  17. I used to work at the Northgate Cinema across the street. It was hugely busy well into the 2000s and I vividly remember Service Merchandise and KB Toys in the mall as well as a Karate teaching place across from the food place near the air brushed Tshirt shop. The Karate place was right next to one of the anchors I forget which.

    1. Thanks for the additional information.

  18. The problem with that place was both the location and people that frequented it.

  19. Transcom is gone from this mall. Half of that space is Planet Fitness, only open to the outside. The Albertsons became a Charter School in the fall of 2014.

    1. Lots of changes, but it is good they keep refilling the empty space. Did they ever fill the empty space that had the plants growing on the awning near the Anna's Linens? I passed by a little more than a year ago, but I did not stop.

    2. I worked at Lerner...which is now New York and Co. There was also Bakers shoes, Stuart's, I remember when this was the only mall in Lafayette. There also use to be a Guarantee Bank. My favorite memory of this mall was Osbornes cafeteria where my aunts and grandma would take me on weekends. Christmas with Santa in center court. School clothes shopping at Bealls. Navarros hair salon. The Fair was one of my favorite stores as I got older. Does anyone remember the empty lot across from the mall in the 70's they would bring in an amusement park type set up like a fair with rides and games? I looked out for that every time we passed there. Loved going to the movies at Northgate Cinema. It started getting over run with fights, and a lot of crack heads, theives, and being so close to I-10 drifters were a problem. We had cops as security and eventually no one felt safe. I took a job at the Acadiana Mall when Lerner closed. The other mall didn't seem that far anymore and worth the drive. I hate to see it like this sad.

    3. Thanks for your story.