Sunday, April 19, 2009
Although it’s not immediately clear how long ago the Orange Grove Store suffered its collapsed porch, methinks it has not been a long time since the tragedy befell the store. The electric meter is still hooked up and there is a satellite dish poking from the side of the building. Here’s how Orange Grove store looked sometime before the crash.
The crash could have been precipitated by ill winds, no stranger to south Louisiana, the store’s environs. The injured structure is on State Highway 415, northwest of Baton Rouge and southeast of New Roads, Louisiana. My friend Dick Warriner and I discovered the old store on our way to the nearby Bayou Sara Ferry across the Mississippi River.
The Orange Grove Store has its history. You can read it here, along with facts and observations about a bevy of other old stores in the general area. The Old Louisiana Buildings web tells all that I know about the store’s past.
The store is emblazoned with an ancient and sadly deteriorated “Hadacol” sign. Hadacol, the alleged patent medicine panacea of the 50s, was originally concocted in Louisiana, so it’s not a big surprise to see the sign.
There was a lone chimney not far from the store, prima facie evidence that a residence was close by before it was consumed by fire, or perhaps flattened by a storm. Probably the Orange Grove Store was not unlike thousands of other rural community stores. Not only did it serve as a purveyor of goods and services, but it was a center of information and a social venue — virtues the big box stores will never emulate, although they may make the claim.
Well, Orange. . . . Sorry we missed your better days. We could have stopped by for an RC cola and a Moon Pie.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.