Thursday, April 26, 2012

Circuit City Baton Rouge LA

Now onto Baton Rouge,

This is a perfectly preserved Circuit City location near the Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge. This location looks to have been closed for only a short time, and may have lasted until the company closed in 2009. The glare of the parking lot lights reveals the labelscar from the neon sign that once was on the "plug" of the store.

State of the Art; not so much in 2012!

Up next Cortana Mall, and two Louisiana KMart stores. Also don't forget to vote on my poll to the right of this article to help with the future of the blog.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lake Forest Plaza Mall 2012

Welcome to Lake Forest Plaza Mall 2012.
I will add more information in the future to this article including store lists between 1995-2005 and I am also on the lookout for interior photos or pre-1996 exterior photos. If anyone can help with photos or information email me at
The sign to the original mall is still standing; hopefully they will fix it up when the property is redeveloped.
Lake Forest Plaza opened officially on September 19, 1974 at the corner of I-10 and Read Blvd. in the center of the growing New Orleans East area of the city. The mall opened with a "Fiesta" with prizes and trips given away to customers of the mall. D.H. Holmes opened earlier on October 18, 1973 and Maison Blanche in August of 1974 while the mall was still under construction. Lake Forest was shaped in a cloverleaf pattern similar to the original logo of the mall and had 11 acres of shopping space. The mall had an anchor on each "pod" (or wing) and an ice skating rink in the middle of the mall that was accessible on three sides. A four screen cinema was also attached to the south "pod" of the mall. The mall was planned for four years before construction, and all of the "pods" (or wings) of the mall had names. Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, and the Fiesta Plaza was the center ice rink area.  

Stores from the grand opening ad in 1974; there are a bunch but surprisingly many of these stores are still found in today's malls.

All American Jeans 
 Bagert House of Formals 
Baker's Shoe Store
Baskin Robbins
B. Dalton Books
Butler's Shoe Store
Campo Music
CardAmerica of New Orleans
Casual Village
Chateau, The
Clothes Horse
Cradle Set, The
Cullum and Boren Sporting Goods
Factory Outlet Shoes
Farrell's Restaurant
Fiesta Plaza Ice Rink
Fiesta Mexican Restaurant
FNBC Bank Branch Office
5-7-9 Shop
Flagg Shoe Store
Florsheim Shoe Shop
Fortune Cookie, The
Frederick's of Hollywood
Freeman Shoes
General Nutrition Center
Gorden Jewelers
Grand Prix
Gryder's Shoes
Gus Mayer
Halpern's Fabrics
Hallmark Cards
Hanover Shoes
Hausemann's Jewelry
Heritage House Gifts
The Hollywood Shop
Holmes, D. H.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
Jarman Shoe Store
Jeans West
Joyce Bertram Bath and Boudoir
Just Pants
Karmelkorn Shoppe
Kings Row Fireplace Shop
Kinney's Shoe Store
Leonard Krower
Lane Bryant Woman's Store
Lazybug Shop, The
Lerner Shops
Luigi's Pizza
Maison Blanche
McDonald's Hamburgers
Merle Norman Cosmetics
Miss Bojangles
Morrison's Cafeteria
Morrow's Nut House
Motherhood Maternity Shop
National Shirt Shops
Net Set, Etc.
Orange Julius
Perlis Men's Store
Picture Pac Photo
Plaza Cinemas 4 (Gulf States Theaters)
Plaza Hallmark Card Shop
Plaza Offices
Radio Shack
Ranch, The
Rapp's Luggage and Gifts
Record Bar, The
Richmond Brothers
Rubenstein Brothers
Russell's Beauty Supply
Sears Roebuck and Co.
Sizzler Family Steakhouse
Shoe Lodge
Smith's Record Center
Southern Savings Association
Spencer Gifts
Space Port Family Recreation Center
Stride Rite Bootery
Susie's Casuals
Swiss Colony Shop, The
Tape City U.S.A.
Thayer McNeil Shoes
Thom McAn Shoe Store
Tinder Box, The
Village Lady, The
Vision Chateau Optical
Wild Pair, The
Zales Jewelers

In the 1970's and early 1980's the Lake Forest Plaza Mall was the place to be. The mall was a major attraction for the entire metro New Orleans area until the mid 1980's. Several new malls were built in the New Orleans area, and the Oil bust of the 1980's hurt the New Orleans East area especially hard. Also the Godchaux anchor (2 levels) closed and Mervyn's (2 levels) was built in 1985. Holmes (3 levels) convered to Dillard's in 1989 along with the rest of the stores after the chain was purchased by Dillard's. 

To keep up with the other malls in the area the Lake Forest Plaza underwent a remodel that removed the indoor ice skating rink and changed the name of the mall to just The Plaza. Sears (2 levels) closed in 1993 and was never replaced. Mervyn's and Dillard's(Holmes) both announced closing sales in 1996. Mayor Morial tried to offer incentives to keep the two anchor stores open, but both companies declined and closed their stores. The Mervyn's temporarily reopened as a Treasure closeout store but closed after a short time. The Dillard's(Holmes) never reopened. Masion Blanche (3 levels) the last remaining anchor, issued a statement after the closing of the two anchors in early 1997. The manager of the store said they will continue to operate at the mall, and they will still be there when the anchor stores come back in the future. Dillard's then took over the Maison Blanche chain, and kept the store open. The mall changed hands several times over the years and the last majority owner was Gowri Kalias who also owned several large commercial properties in the New Orleans area. Plans to diversify the property to include medical, office, and entertainment options were announced. The Grand Cinema Theater opened in 2002 and the Plaza Cinemas 4 was closed in 2002. Redevelopment of the mall was very slow, and not much happened except for the Grand Cinema Theater. The mall was less than 50% full of inline stores for my last visit in 2004, but the food court was doing well. Hurricane Katrina came in August of 2005 and flooded the entire mall with around 5 feet (plus or minus) of water. The mall was demolished during early 2007 with the Dillard's standing a few months after the rest of the mall was demolished. Dillard's came down and then Lowe's was constructed. The owners of the property came out with two different redevelopment plans after the mall was demolished, but the site is nearly empty. This is an ideal site for another mall or major retail center since the site is near the center of New Orleans East and just off of I-10.     

For demolition photos go to or . My blog also has a few videos (Lake Forest Plaza Mall Label) and Labelscar has an article on the mall.
The Lowe's is roughly in between the Dillard's/Masion Blanche and Dillard's/Holmes stood. 
These views are from roughly where Sears stood.
This was the Lake Forest entry to the mall Mervyn's was close to this entrance.
A lone lightpole stands in this empty section of the former mall site.
Another view from Lake Forest Blvd. Sears would have been straight ahead.
Debris from the demolition still lines parts of Lake Forest Blvd.
The Lowe's is the only business operating here; this view would have previously been the former Dillard's/Maison Blanche.
The entry to Lowe's is nice neat and painted; drive just past the Lowe's and the parking lot is torn up and waiting for redevelopment.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

East Lake Center/ Wal Mart/ Sam's Club/ Service Merchandise NO East

This stretch of I-10 in between Read Blvd. and Bundy Rd. has seen better days. Once this area was full of retail and entertainment options, but now only a couple of businesses remain. The first photo is the former Service Merchandise that is now a church; the site of the Lake Forest Plaza Mall is to the left or east of this building. The Plaza Mall will have a huge article soon that goes over the early history of the mall similar to the Belle Promenade and Kenilworth articles from earlier this year, stay tuned.
This was the Eastlake shopping center anchored by Delchamps, Eastlake 8 cinemas, and several other retailers including Children's Palace and a small Sears after the Plaza Sears closed. There were also a few restaurants in the front such as Texas Roadhouse.
This Furinture Mart is the only piece of this shopping center left standing and in business. This was once a Delchamp's that was unfortunately closed overnight without any warning to the employees.  
The next few pictures are the now empty lots that the shopping center, former Wal mart, and Sam's Club were on before Hurricane Katrina. Everything was demolished, but nothing has been rebuilt. If anyone from Wal mart is reading this article, please come back to New Orleans East!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Six Flags/Jazzland Outlet Mall New Orleans East (Amusement/ Retail)

The short history of this theme park is a very sad one indeed. A casualty of Hurricane Katrina, Six Flags/Jazzland was built in 2000 to fill the void left behind when Pontchartrain Beach park closed in the mid 1980's. The park was opened as Jazzland and then Six Flags purchased the park two years later. In August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina's flood waters filled the site and sat for weeks until it was pumped out. The site has been sitting idle ever since, and Six Flags removed most of the valuables from the site. Six Flags wound up getting out of the site lease in 2009, and the city now owns the land. Click here for a really cool youtube video from inside of the park. Since 2006 several proposals have come and gone for the site, but nothing has happened yet. So you ask yourself why is a theme park on this retail site?

The most recent proposal for the site is for a factory outlet mall, which was approved by the city after several other plans for the site were rejected including two proposals to rebuild and refurbish the theme park. Now I am all for this site to be fixed up, but not as a mall it should be a theme park or demolished entirely. The site that the Plaza Mall was on two exits away on Read Blvd is still sitting there with only a Lowes and an abandoned movie theater. The rest of that site was planned to be a lifestyle center similar to the outdoor outlet mall proposed for the Six Flags site. The Plaza Site is centrally located to the population of New Orleans East, and it has better I-10 freeway access than the Six Flags site. I would also rather see the Kenilworth site redeveloped than to tear down the remains of the theme park on swampland and start all over. If a factory outlet mall is built here I wish it the best of success, but the location in my opinion is not an ideal spot for the largest retail development in New Orleans East.    

All of the photos here were taken from around the site; sorry for those of you looking for interior photos (click here).

Six flags is visible from all around the area of I-510 and I-10 East. There is also a neighborhood just to the east of the site that has some decent views of the park.

The Megazeph was built as a tribute to the Zephyr roller coaster at Pontchartrain Beach park.

As you can see the site towers over the land at the I-10/ I-510 interchange.