Monday, March 26, 2012

New Orleans Centre/ Champions Square

This drawing from the opening ad of the mall shows the basic floor design of the mall.

New Orleans Centre opened in 1988 with Lord and Taylor and Macy's as the two anchors. A third anchor was planned but never arrived. The mall had space for 150 stores, opened with 50 stores, and had around 100 stores at the malls peak. The New Orleans Centre had three floors and a huge glass skylight over the main concourse of the mall. Three story malls built in the 1980's seem to be failing all over the United States. The mall had a large food court with several restaurants facing the Superdome. The New Orleans Centre never had a full occupancy and was struggling shortly after opening. A television station even moved their station into a large portion of the nearly empty third floor of the mall. Lord and Taylor closed in the early 2000's shutting off the Poydras street entrance to the mall. The mall was flooded out during Hurricane Katrina and did not reopen. The mall was used in the movie The Final Destination for the scene where the ladies were shopping and then when the escalators fell apart. One part of that scene from the movie shows the nearby Benson tower from the angle that was seen through the mall skylights. The mall and tower complex was purchased by the New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson in 2009. The mall was partially torn down and that area is now called Champions Square and has several Saints and Louisiana sports related murals. Champions Square is used for mostly sports related gatherings, and the Macy's has partially been turned into a VIP area for the events. Someone went and took photos of the Macy's before the store was transformed. Since the New Orleans Centre mall was not going to be reopened after Hurricane Katrina so this was the best option for the site. Hopefully this area of the city will still be popular despite the scandal surrounding the New Orleans Saints organization.

The small entrance near the bottom left corner of this photo goes into the former Macy's anchor.
Some portions of the mall are exposed to the elements just above Champions Square.

The newly renovated Superdome just across the street from the former mall.
Click on this link and go to the entertainment tab and then to Dome Square Phase 1B to see photos of the mall as it was being demolished and made into the Champions Square.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lakeside Shopping Center Mall 2012 Metairie LA

Lakeside Mall opened in the early 1960's in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie LA. This mall has been covered in greater detail in several articles from Labelscar and The Mall Hall of Fame. Lakeside is the busiest mall in New Orleans and features upscale, chain stores, and a few local stores. The mall site also has several big box retailers including Dick's sporting goods. The mall is located at the busiest intersection in the New Orleans area at the corner of Veterans and Causeway Blvd. The reason the mall has not grown larger is because of the lack of available land around the mall. Parking can be a hassle, but there are several parking garages that have helped to increase the parking capacity. Lakeside is well positioned to thrive for many more years to come.

These reflective mall directories are very difficult to get a good photo of. To get a better idea of the mall setup check out the mall website.

This parking garage makes it difficult to get a good photo of this portion of the mall. The former entrance to K and B was to the right of the food court sign.
JCPenney's was once in a much smaller location within the original mall. This store has two shopping levels and a third level for storage and offices.
Dillard's has been upgraded and does not look anything like the DH Holmes that was here for many years before Dillard's took over.
Macy's is a newcomer to the mall opening in 2008.
A view of the main mall concourse with the huge skylight.
This is the "PF Changs" wing facing towards Macy's. The stairs go to the small second level of the mall.
The second floor of the mall is very small and leads to the mall offices, and a few small businesses mostly offices.
An example of one of the small fountains that are located in several parts of the mall.
Macy's was a great addition to the mall. If Nordstrom were to build a store in the New Orleans area this would be the mall they would locate to.
The main mall concourse facing the Food Court and the mall. To the left is where the mall entrance to the K and B was located.
Cafe Du Monde to the left with an example of the mirrored ceilings found throughout the mall.
Dillard's was originally a DH Holmes store.

The center court skylight.
The food court has several restaurants and a Radio Shack.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oakwood Center Mall

Oakwood Center Mall opened in 1966 in the community of Terrytown just outside of the New Orleans city limits on the Westbank. Sears opened on April 13 and the mall on October 17. Sears had all of the usual departments and more including farm and garden, French Quarter coffeehouse, pet shop, and a fine fur department.

The original logo of the mall from the grand opening advertisement.

Stores at the grand opening of the mall in 1966 were
Allen Shoes
Bank of the South
Barricini Candy
DH Holmes
Florsheim Shoes
Gus Mayer
Hardy Shoes
Holmes Car Care Center
K and B Drugstore (Katz and Bestoff)
Kinney Shoes
Magi Gift Shop
National Shirt Shop
Oakwood Barber Shop
Paris Hats
S.H. Kress
Sears Auto Center
Winn Dixie

The list of stores that opened up just after the grand opening.
American Thrift Finance
Chatta Box Beauty Salon and Boutique
Cinema I/II
Holloway House Cafeteria
Jiffy Cleaners
Martin's Shoes

Oakwood benefitted for many years as the only regional mall on the Westbank of New Orleans. Oakwood survived despite aggressive competition from the Belle Promenade Mall opening in 1983 in direct competition just five miles away. Oakwood expanded and took back their market share and Belle Promenade eventually failed as the mall did not expand. Oakwood gained the Mervyn's anchor in the mid 1980's, and Maison Blanche moved into the mall in the late 1990's just before Mercantile stores was taken over by Dillard's. Maison Blanche had an older store down the Westbank Expressway in the Westside North Shopping Center roughly where the Academy is today. Had Belle Promenade been built as the super regional five anchor mall that the developers anticipated; Oakwood more than likely would have closed and/or been redeveloped into a big box center. The owners of Oakwood took early action in the mid 1980's by expanding the mall to compete with the new Belle Promenade Mall. The New Orleans Centre, Riverwalk, and Canal Place Malls also opened up just across the GNO bridge from Oakwood but for different reasons did not affect the business at Oakwood.

After Belle Promenade died Oakwood was the only mall left on the Westbank again, but another major setback occured in 2005. Oakwood Mall was partially destroyed by looters and a large fire in 2005 shortly after Hurricane Katrina passed over the city. The mall was partially down down and most of the mall was rebuilt and renovated. Mervyn's which was damaged by the fire never reopened because the company left Louisiana in late 2005. The mall reopened in 2007 although some of the anchors opened up before the mall did. The inside of the mall is much more modern than most current shopping malls and does not have a boring color scheme like many of the newer mall styles of the 1990's and 2000's. In fact the mall has several different colors, and the fountain was retained and improved with a color changing light scheme in the center court.  

DH Holmes original anchor store; now partially filled with a Forever 21 store.
Dillard's which moved from the original Holmes building.
JCPenney which was built as a Maison Blanche; JCPenney closed at Belle Promenade and opened here a few days after the Belle store closed. When Dillard's took over the Maison Blanche name this store was closed giving JCPenney the opportunity to leave Belle Promenade.

The is the entrance to the lost corridor of the mall. Rite Aid and Mervyn's did not return after the fire. Mervyn's had already planned to leave the New Orleans market, so the store would have been closed by the end of 2005 if the hurricane had not happened.

K and B which became a Rite-Aid after the conversion.
Mervyn's with all of the mall signage stands out from the West Bank expressway. I am really surprised that Macy's did not put a store here after opening a store at Lakeside and reopening their store at The Esplanade Mall. There was a Macy's just across the river at the New Orleans Center Mall that did not open after the hurricane also.

This is the mall entrance near Sears and the food court.
The Sears here is a classic style from the 1960's, but has been updated to the modern style.

A labelscar from the Musicland store which later became a Sam Goody.
The original Sears labelscar with the cursive letters. This was once an entrance but was blocked when the mall expanded and the corridor to Mervyn's was added.
The mall directory does not show the closed corridor to Mervyn's which would be below Sears on this directory. The mall is almost completely full except for the closed corridor.
The mall has a very interesting design and looks much better than before the hurricane.

Maison Blanche had some higher end entrances to their stores, and JCPenney did not modify this one too much. The front of the JCPenney has two staircases that go to the second level.
The view from the food court to the center court fountain.
These are some views of the mall from the center court. This one is looking towards the food court.
Looking towards the closed Mervyn's corridor and Sears second entrance.
The fountain that has been here since the 1966 mall opening.
Looking down the JCPenney corridor.
Back to the Sears/ Mervyn's corridor.
Looking from the Sears/ Mervyn's corridor to the center court fountain.
Looking from the fountain to the closed off mall corridor and Sears entrance.
The lonely Sears entrance just before the mall dead-ends.
Just past this wall is the closed down Mervyn's/ Rite Aid corridor. There is space for at least 20 more stores in this closed off section of the mall.
There was a space in between the doors to the closed off section of the mall to barely see what used to be there.
The lost corridor of the mall. How many malls still have payphones? The next five photos are how the mall used to look before the fire in 2005. You can see this part of the mall by walking along the glass near the former Rite-Aid store.
The entrance to the former K and B (later a Rite Aid).

I was surprised to see the lights on still even though this part of the mall has been closed to the public since 2005.
Dillards near the food court.
The food court entrance has been dramatically changed since the remodel.

The food court is full of restaurants and even a Daiquiri shop.