1701 Barataria Blvd, Marrero, LA 70072-4249
The site plan
This was the one mall that I watched from the early years all the way to the demise in the late 1990's.
The second Westbank mall project began in 1979 under the name Lapalco Square Mall with a plan for a super regional mall that was to be built in two phases at the corner of Barataria Blvd. and Lapalco Blvd on 145 acres. The land that the mall was planned for is the geographical center of the Westbank of New Orleans in Jefferson Parish. The initial plan was for the mall to have five department stores in a square design that was similar to the Plaza Mall that was in New Orleans East for 1.2 million total square feet of retail space. The mall was built on speculation of future population growth on the West Bank, and many real estate agents did not believe that the West Bank could sustain two major shopping malls. Jim Wilson and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company spent 50 million to develop Belle Promenade Mall which means "nice walk" in French. Low rise offices and a 20 acre recreational area were also planned for the site but were later developed as retail and restaurants. The first department store on the site; DH Holmes opened up on September 9, 1982 while the mall was still under construction. Big Bird and the Cookie Monster were there for the opening festivities. DH Holmes with 250 employees had mostly clothing on the first floor with electronics, toys, A,T,and T Call Center, Housewares, and Furniture on the second floor. My first visit to the mall was at the Holmes store when the mall entrance was not yet opened, but there was a spot to peak at the mall corridor under construction.
The second phase which was to include two more department stores in 1984 did not happen. Another visionary version of the second phase was to add only one department store in 1984 and 100,000 more square feet of retail space in 1985. The recession in the mid 1980's in the New Orleans area was probably the reason the mall was never expanded. (If Belle Promenade Mall had expanded; we would probably be writing an article about the demise of Oakwood Mall). The department stores of Godchaux, Sears, Maison Blanche, and Montgomery Ward were companies that had interest in the mall but never showed up.
The Gulf States theater 6 opened on May 23, 1984 with Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom as the first movie. By the first week of June five of the screens were showing Indiana Jones (on 2 screens), Star Trek 3, Pete's Dragon, Once Upon a Time in America, and the sixth opened with The Karate Kid on June 22.
Exclusive photos of the mall in 1984 provided by David Owens
Diamond Jim's arcade was located in the middle of the mall where the carousel was later added.
D.H. Holmes 2 floors
JCPenney 2 floors
Accessories Men’s and Women’s
You and Yours
Apparel Men’s and Women’s
Merry Go Round
Catherine’s Stout Shoppe
Hit or Miss
B. Dalton Bookseller
Cards, Gifts, and Stationary
Florentine Gift Shoppe
Great American Hair Salons
John Jay Hair Styling
Home Furnishings/ Housewares
Deck The Walls
Rolling Pin, The
Wicks ‘n’ Sticks
J. Todd Jewelers
Records and Tapes
Sound Shop, The
Pearl Vision Center
Texas State Optical
Doctor Pet Center
One Hour Photo
Restaurants/ Fast Food
All American Hero
Bresler’s 33 Flavors
Corn Dog 7
Famous Ramos Hot Dogs
Famous Ramos Potatoes
Penn’s Golden Nuggets
Glass Oven Bakery
Russell Stover Candies
Tin Can Alley
Hale and Jones
Marchand’s Athletic Shoes
Toys and Hobbies
Kay Bee Toy and Hobby Store
Opened in November 1983
Casual Village- Women’s Apparel
Picadilly Cafeteria- Restaurants/ Fast Food
Today’s Woman- Women’s Apparel
Opened in the spring of 1984
Big Sky- Sporting Goods
Gap, The- Men’s and Women’s Apparel
Gulf States Cineplex- Cinema
Hausman Jewelers- Jewelry
Limited Express- Women’s Apparel
Leonard Krower (jewelers and distributors) also arrived at the mall sometime in 1984.
As you can see from the store opening list; the mall had almost every category of stores that were popular in the 1980's and even in 2012. The mall hosted many events such as fashion shows, "puttin on the hits" singing contest, carnivals, blood drives, arts and craft shows, and even a Mallopoly game that gave shoppers Mallopoly bucks to use at a special auction which included a new Buick Skylark and several other prizes. Belle Promenade was the mall of the west bank of New Orleans until the mid 1980's the oil bust recession of New Orleans started to take its toll on the area. In 1986 the first signs of decline began to surface at the mall with an article in the Times Picayune showing declining sales at the mall during the Christmas season. Belle Promenade Mall was built for an anticipated population growth that was supposed to add over 200,000 residents near the mall in Jefferson Parish over the next twenty years. The population of the New Orleans Metropolitan area actually decreased in the late 1980's with the West Bank of New Orleans and New Orleans East losing the majority of the residents. Nearby Oakwood Mall also took on a renovation in the late 1980's that expanded the mall to include Mervyn's.
The Les Halles food court in 1987 included these restaurants.
The Cookie Company
Corn Dog 7
Famous Ramos Hot Dog Place
Famous Ramos Potato Place
Olde Tyme Sandwich Shop
Tin Can Alley
Plus additional restaurants
Moonlighting Cafe and Bar next to Eckerds
Picadilly Cafeteria near JCPenney
By 1989 the second restaurant in the Spats location, the Moonlighting restaurant had closed, and several chain stores had closed. The Spats/ Moonlighting was a bar/restaurant concept probably similar to Ruby Tuesday (We never went that I can remember). D.H. Holmes became Dillards this year as well. The cinema around this time also added four screens to ten total screens, and was taken over by the United Artists chain.
Photos from the late 1980's possibly from 1989 with the Holmes nameplate still intact. Photos Courtesy of Perez and Ryan Smith (Perez helped with the design of the mall).
JCPenney to the far left, Spat's / Moonlighting Restaurant (already closed), and Eckerd's.
In the mid 1990's these were the stores operating in the mall; notice that the store list is much smaller from the 1983 list.
Nail and Facial
Bourbon Street Candy Co
Texas State Optical Marrero Office
Vision Plaza Marrero
The Golden Chain Gang
Fashion Man Inc
J Riggings Co Men’s Clothing
Mitchell’s Formal Wear
Music and Entertainment
The Carousel Co
United Artists Theatres Belle Promenade Cinema 10
Security/ Government Offices
Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office
Bakers Shoe Store
Donnauds Western & Work Boots Inc
Jarman Shoe Store
Lady Foot Locker
The Wild Pair
Specialty retail stores
Deck The Walls
General Nutrition Center
Kay-Bee Toy and Hobby Shop
Wicks N Sticks
Jean Nicole Plus
By 1998 Kay-bee, Waldenbooks, Chick Fil A, McDonalds, and even the mom and pop stores were leaving. JC Penney’s started a closing sale in November 1998 (They moved into the former Maison Blanche location at Oakwood the larger west bank mall after Belle Promenade closed.) Dillards announced that they refused to be the only anchor in the mall and started their closing sale a week later. Dillards already had an Oakwood location that was very successful less than 5 miles away. After the anchors closed up the 1980's style Spencer's that was located in the closed JCPenney corridor, shut down. The Dollar Tree, The Sound Shop, Champs sports, even the optometrist closed up. A carnival fair in the parking lot in 1999 also was shut down abruptly when three people were shot in a fight near the carnival with one 17 year old killed. The last 17 stores on the inside faded to three and the cinema within 6 months.
Belle prominade mall closed in 2000 and the last three remaining stores were Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, GNC, and also the United Artists Theaters. The inside of the mall closed in March 2000 and the theater literally boarded up access to the mall past the theater entrance. Then the United Artists theaters closed in June 2000 and the center went dark. Shortly after the mall was shut down, the site became a makeshift truck stop/ party spot until the entrances to the mall parking lots were closed off. The site sat empty until 2001 when partial demolition took place when the old Dillards and half of the mall were taken down over the course of a year. In 2003 the rest of the mall except the old JCPenney anchor was demolished and a road was built through the middle of the old mall floor (Still intact after the demolition) and a Wal-Mart super center opened. Now there is a strip center with the GNC almost directly on top of where the old store was inside the mall. A piece of the mall with the skylight still intact was still attached to the empty JCPenney's anchor until 2008 when it was demolished for a Lowe's. Two strip centers on the site keep the name of the mall alive; Promenade Shoppes and Belle Barataria Center. Currently the Promenade Shoppes, Lowe's, and Wal-Mart are the only stores that have been built on the actual mall site. The rest of the development has been around the mall facing Barataria or Lapalco.
Unfortunately I did not have a very good camera when this mall was being demolished so these are the only pictures that I have. If anyone has any pictures of this mall I would be interested in them. I grew up around this mall and watched it decline and get demolished in less than 20 years. This mall has a nearly identical floor plan to the Pasadena Town Square Mall in Pasadena Texas.
Google birds eye view just before demolition
2001 exclusive new video pre-demolition at the mall.
Belle Promenade Mall
2002 The demolition.
This was the center court of the mall.
This shot is where the Dillard's stood facing the south side of the mall.
Here is a shot of the length of the mall from the south near Lapalco Blvd. JCPenney is the far away two story building. The next three shots are of JCPenney, the mall entrance sign, and the former food court/ cinema.
In 2004 or 2005 Urban Explorers went into the former JCPenney; click on this sentence for the link.
This is all that remained of the Belle Promenade Mall in July of 2007. This is the JCPenney anchor along with a piece of the old mall attached.
The back parking lot going towards the former cinema and food court of the mall.
I also made it to the Gambit for my question about the mall
If anyone has any photos or even a mall directory from the mall we would like to be able to share these items with our readers. Please comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also any other mall information that is on my site or requests for new malls are always welcomed and appreciated.
Comments that were deleted from my previous Belle Promenade Mall post.
Anyone remember the name of the pub/restaurant in Belle Promenade?
November 8, 2011 11:26 AM
Picadilly was near JCPenney and Spats was the restaurant near Eckerd and Holmes. The Spats spot was later used for another restaurant but I don't have the name for that one.
November 8, 2011 3:06 PM
To stir some debate, Spencer's, and the Dollar Tree were near JCPenney. Kay Bee Toys, Sound Shop, Champs sports, and Footlocker were near the food court. GNC, an Airbrush shop, and Bourbon Street Candy were in between the Food Court and Holmes. Sbarro, Chik fil A, Corn Dog 7 were some of the food court tenants.
November 8, 2011 3:18 PM
The name of the aracade in the mall was called Diamond Jim's, I believe. It was located sort of in the middle of the mall close to the food court. I remember the McDonald's was near the bathrooms in the food court. The movie theater also had like a smaller arcade adjacent to where you would buy tickets. Later they moved the movie theater to the other side of the mall corridor. When BP was built, it put a big hurt on Oakwood mall. It' s a shame that we have no sort of decent mall on the Westbank now...Oakwood is shell of what it once was.
November 8, 2011 10:57 PM
I agree with the comment about Oakwood; it looks nice on the inside, but lacks the character of the 1980's malls. Oakwood was put back together as quickly as possible to re-open, but did not address the issue of refilling the Mervyn's anchor spot leaving a huge void in front of the mall.
November 9, 2011 12:15 AM
I wonder if another anchor would possibly save Oakwood?
Was there any music stores in Belle Promenade?
November 10, 2011 3:31 PM
They had a sound shop music store near the food court, and a smaller independant music store near Dillards in the mid 1990's. Oakwood looks much nicer since they re-opened the mall in 2007. I am surprised that Macys or Belk has not taken the empty Mervyns anchor spot. I will be putting together an Oakwood post in the near future for the blog, I think Oakwood has a great future ahead once they fill the empty anchor spot. The original DH Holmes anchor has been partially filled by Forever 21.
November 11, 2011 12:18 AM
I recently uncovered a new video from 2004 that I will add to the upcoming article for the Belle Promenade Mall. It is an up close view of the JCPenney and the small covered part of the mall that remained when the rest of the mall was torn down. We are still looking for photos of the outside of the mall and interior of the mall to add to this upcoming article. A special thanks goes out to one of my readers that has been working diligently to help gather information for the complete history of the Belle Promenade Mall article coming soon.
November 11, 2011 2:44 AM
The "independent music store" you're referring to in Belle Promenade was actually a chain store, called Camelot Music. It was on the end by DH Holmes/Dillards.
November 12, 2011 10:34 AM
@ anonymous Thanks for the clarification :)
November 12, 2011 8:20 PM
I now have a 1990's store list, but we need more photos.
November 12, 2011 11:07 PM
After doing some major research we now have a complete 1983 store and food court list, the original name of the mall before Belle Promenade, the first movie shown in the theatre, and much more information. We also have a complete Lake Forest Plaza 1974 store list and Kenilworth Mall 1970 store list from both of those openings. A bunch of historical info is coming soon to the blog.