Day 16: Mucho Mississippi

Since my last post, I got all of the Louisiana photos up at my website.  So, if you’re interested, now might be a good time to check out the mid-century modern, signs, gas stations, theatres, etc. sections.   Moving on to the bulk of the Mississippi photos now.  I think there are about four days worth before I headed on to Memphis & Arkansas.  Day 16 was very prolific — so let’s get to it.

This Barq’s root beer sign is next door to the Alamo Theatre in Jackson:

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This one is in Canton:

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This one is in Carthage.  It’s either modern or a replica:

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This one is in Philadelphia:

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This one is in Decatur.  The store opened in 1959.  But this sign is only about 10 years old or so.  It was not based on a previous sign.  I don’t know if Wheeler was originally a Rexall but, if not, the navy and orange are certainly a nod to that chain:

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Here’s a closed Rexall in Newton.  The interior still has nice dark wood shelving units and such.  Very sad.  Maybe it will find some miraculous restaurant reuse and the interior will be preserved.

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A bunch of signs now from Meridian:

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The Temple Theatre architecture is magnificently preserved… but how I hate it when these theaters mess with their marquees and add that moving digital crap:

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You have to shoot this one from across the street because of the roof and the trees:

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This sign is supposedly from the 1930s or so.  It was taken down in 1999 during the building’s restoration and forgotten about.  It was sold at auction and eventually returned to the restaurant:

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A sad, paintless “globie” (my name for these mass-produced, flashing fiberglass balls).  For examples in better shape, see my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/roto3.html#Corral

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A couple more from Meridian:

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This former truck stop sign has been banged up in recent years.  It’s mounted so high that I don’t know how that arrow could have been bent like this.  You can see the panel in back with the still intact arrow:

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Let’s close with this one from De Kalb.  I love any and all signs with flames.  I found another one Dowdle sign just like this elsewhere in Mississippi so there might have been more than two of these:

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Back with another post next weekend or maybe sooner.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 16: Last of Louisiana and on to Mississippi

We’re at the halfway point in this trip.  My goal is to get all these posts and the thousands of photos up at my website by November.

Let’s start off in Minden, LA.  This sign is on the side of a building.  I’m assuming there was originally a hardware store around front:

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There are two of these signs on this building — one at the two entrances (the downtown has two-one way business streets).

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This one is in Dixie Inn, LA:

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At the long-closed Joy Theatre in Arcadia, LA:

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Moving on to Monroe, LA.  These two are at the former Johnson Bros. Barber Shop:

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Also in Monroe — a former Howard Johnson’s sign:

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This one in Bastrop, LA:

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Seligman’s Furniture was established in 1897.  The store has been operating at this building in Bastrop since 1928.

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This one is in Tallulah, LA:

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Heading on to Mississippi – this is in Vicksburg:

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Stopping for the day in Jackson, MS.  These two are at the main and back entrances.

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I’ll be back next weekend with another post.

Happy Trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 15: Lots of Louisiana

This was a big day of shooting with well over 100 stops.  Let’s start out in Alexandria.  The Hotel Bentley was built from 1907-1908.  I don’t know when the sign was built but the design is late 1940s.  However, to be persnickety, I think the one that’s there now is a replica.  This undated postcard shows the same style sign but looks to be white with dark letters.  True, it might have been artistic liberty (postcard illustrators were not worried too much about accuracy).  As you probably know, most very old hotels changed their names from Hotel X to X Hotel at some point.  Or sometimes used the two interchangeably.

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I’m always shocked to see that the Happy Trails Lounge sign is still there.  I don’t know if that was the original name.  Looks like there was a cocktail glass in the middle of that black paint.  But that might not be the original layer of paint.

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The Weiss & Goldring’s men’s store sign was originally located downtown (yes, Desoto & 3rd Sts. as shown at the bottom).  It was then moved with the store when they moved to this mall location:

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Moving on to Shreveport.  Mall St. Vincent opened in 1976.  Like many malls around the country, the party is over.  Sears left last year and it looks like the smaller shops are barely getting by.  Anyhow.  Pretty letters on this sign:

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From Haughton — “funky funky but chic”:

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On to Bossier City for awhile.  These two signs are probably not that old but still worthy of sharing.  One pole sign, one building sign:

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Inside the Holiday Lanes: the undulating mid-century roof is visible from the interior as well.  Although there are lots of flashy graphic scoreboards and such, I’m glad for these giant pins.  I was also happy to see the giant place packed with people.  A ceiling “fixture”:

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And these cool guys:

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A former gas station, then later this bar (now closed):

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I’ve got nothing but my imagination (not a damned thing on-line) but I would imagine the letters had neon originally and there must have been plastic balls or something on the tips of the poles.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this sign was designed by Warren Milks (more about him later).  he liked offset letters and poles quite a lot.

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According to the desk person at Party Central, this sign was installed originally installed at Casino Magic in the late 1990s.  The casino closed in 2002 and the sign found its way here sometime after that:

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OK — so who is Warren Milks?  Well, he’s the guy that designed and produced about 234 Roto-Spheres — those crazy, giant, spinning neon “sputniks”.  The history and all the survivors at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/roto.html

If you’ve got a few minutes, you won’t want to miss these two little videos that I put together with the Super 8 movies that Warren shot and loaned to me.  Bossier City was “mini Las Vegas” at the time with casinos and booming businesses.  Warren built all the “nice” signs in town.  All of this footage was shot in Bossier:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Leuut7nITdI

The sign on the left advertised for his sign shop “NESCO” on Texas Avenue.  If you study the videos closely, you’ll see a Turn-Star above the “NESCO” panel lit in neon.  The building on the right wasn’t there back in the 1960s:

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Just to the right of that is what was the sign shop.  The big open door is the bigger part of the shop where his employees (two or three) worked on the larger signs.  The smaller door and window led to the office and smaller shop.

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The second video starts off with the the super impressive Rovana Restaurant sign shown below (although now not as impressive without the hanging and moving letters).  Warren’s shop and sign are visible in the distance under the steel sign:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L6-zyxxFl0

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A couple more signs to close out this post.  The Shotz Lounge has these nice arrows above a boring plastic box panel.  Each arrow would have had a neon outline and I would assume that they flashed, maybe even sequentially:

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Last one — from Shreveport.  Plastic signs don’t get no respect and this is certainly a nice one.  Sign tag at the bottom is for Gulf Industries.  This is an example of a vacuum form sign.  A sheet of plastic was laid on top of a mold and a vacuum pulled the plastic over the mold.  Then the panels were painted.  Much cooler than the flat panels typically produced today.

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That’s a wrap.  I have a lot of photos to prep and add to my website.  I’ll be back a a few days with more goodies from Louisiana and Mississippi.  And… lots more “nicer” signs & stuff uploaded from Day 15 at Flickr earlier today:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 14: Moving on to Mississippi

It was kind of a cloudy day with lots of miles.  Not a big day for sign shooting but I think I’ve got enough for a reasonable post here.

From Laurel, MS — a combo sign with some corrugated plastic and neon:

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Another one from Laurel.  A modern Shipley Donuts sign which has been adapted with some super tacky plastic.  It looks more like a bagel to me:

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From Hattiesburg — this one is not aging gracefully.  The rust is winning:

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Another one from Hattiesburg.  I waited and waiting but the sun was not cooperating.

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How about a couple of buildings?  This one in Brookhaven:

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This one is in Bude:

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A little trip across the border into Louisiana — these two signs are in St. Francisville:

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Back to Mississippi — in Liberty.  I can never get enough Rexall signs.  If you can’t either, I’ve got loads of them at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/rex.html

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I’ll be back with another post in a few days once I get this little batch of about 100 photos up at my website.  More photos from this trip over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 13: A little more Florida Panhandle & on to Alabama

I got up most of the Florida Panhandle photos at my website.  So, I’m taking a break to get this post up midweek.

From Tallahassee, FL — a front yard with whales and dolphins:

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And on to Alabama.  This sign is in Dothan:

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Two more signs from Dothan — a still operating TV station:

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and a long-neglected radio sign:

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From Jackson, AL:

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And now — a sampling from the incredible sign display in downtown Abbeville, AL.  One man’s collection is displayed on the main street and inside the faux storefronts of non-operating businesses that serve as storage space.

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And if you make it to Abbeville, you’ll want to stop in at Huggin’ Molly’s — a restaurant with a soda fountain, more signs & lots of antiquey stuff:
https://www.hugginmollys.com/

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I’ll be back this weekend with a post of Mississippi goodies.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 12: Florida Panhandle

It wasn’t a big day for shooting signs so I’m going to veer off course a bit in this post to include some other things that I cover at my website (statues & buildings).  But let’s start with this sign in Crestview, FL — a delicious mixed media mash-up of plastic and neon and shapes:

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I diverted over the border to Florala, AL to shoot a gas station and came upon this novel column cluster.  A plaque indicated that they are all that’s left of the Covington County High School which was built in 1914 and demolished in 1963:

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In Miramar Beach, I went looking for the World’s Largest Fishing Lure at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort.  Turned out it had been gone for years but I did come across this fiberglass beauty.  I believe this is a swordfish:

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This faux lighthouse in Panama City Beach was once the little office for Beacon Golf, a mini-golf place.  It later served as a BBQ joint.  Now, it’s still well cared for and serving as an office for a scooter rental business.  If you’re into faux lighthouses, I’ve got loads of them at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/mim/lighthouses.html

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The sadness is almost overcome by the bright paint.  This cave-like structure was built for Jungle Land in Panama City Beach in the 1960s.  There were gators, a waterfall, a fake volcano and the like.  It closed in the late 1980s and then operated as Alvin’s Magic Mountain Mall and then Alvin’s Island Tropical Department Store — basically, a gift shop with beach stuff, souvenirs, doo-dads & maybe some tiki-ish stuff.  Evidently, Alvin’s closed when Hurricane Michael hit in October 2018 and it remains closed.  I stepped over the police tape for a few shots.  No signs of damage though which leaves me worried that this building might be endangered.  Lots of building & growth in PCB right now.

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I present the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! ship in Panama City.  It was modeled after the Titanic and built in 2006.  The ship had a more somber black & grey paint job originally.  Sometime around 2016, it got this prettier repaint:

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The Bowlarama Lanes in Panama City remains closed after Michael.  The sign really took a hit:

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There was lots of post-Michael devastation in Panama City.  This sign was still intact.  The letters originally had neon as evidenced in this postcard:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/edge_and_corner_wear/16464018423


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The Sombrero Mexican Restaurant remains closed and it seems unlikely that it will reopen.  The owners found out that their insurance policy didn’t cover wind damage from hurricanes.  So, they are on their own.  The bent over rooftop sign is rather symbolic:

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Sorry to end on a downer…  but I’ll be back soon once I get a big batch of Florida stuff at my website.  In the meantime, there are lots of more cheerful photos from Day 12 up at my Flickr account:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

 

Day 11: Coastal MS & AL with a bit of FL

I got all the New Orleans stuff up at my website this week from Day 10.  There will be lots more Louisiana later in the trip.  We’re hugging the Gulf Coast for the next couple of days.  More than 200 photos to crop, tweak, upload and put in their appropriate places a the website from Day 11. So, I’ll probably only get  this one blog post up this weekend and get to work.

Let’s start with with one in downtown Ocean Springs, MS.  Neon only on one side, presumably since this side faces oncoming traffic:

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This one in Moss Point, MS is on top of the Moss Point Express gas station sign.  It’s probably a reference to the local high school mascot (Moss Point Tigers).

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Moving on to Mobile, AL:

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Not as nice as the similar Kelly’s Cleaners neon hanger sign but still great:

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There are more than a handful of neon signs in downtown Mobile.  I don’t know the age of these but the OK Bicycle sign might be adapted.  The Taqueria sign looks pretty modern:

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This one is surely vintage — probably 1950s:

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Naman’s Department Store opened in 1940.  This sign is much later — looks maybe 1960s? And that font is kinda lame and modern.  So, I’m thinking  maybe redone at some point.  Still lovely though:

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and one more from Mobile — a nice little terrazzo entrance:

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From Spanish Fort, AL.  This must be a modern sign but, wow, that’s a lotta neon!  I can only find photos of it with a few bits lit at night — or more lit but super blurry.  So, I’m skeptical that it’s operating properly at this point and I don’t know if any of that tubing was animated.

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One of my favorite memories from this trip was the Foamhenge (yes, Mark Cline built the first one in Virginia) in Elberta, AL.  I let the dogs rip around and they had a great time running around the columns even though it was close to 100 degrees.  In this photo foreground, Grizzie is rolling in god-knows-what and Nik is sniffing out something directly in the background behind him.  I have no idea where the two girls were at that moment but I know they were having a blast.

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Last one for this post — officially in Florida panhandle — this one from the recently restored Rex Theatre in Pensacola:

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Back with more next week!

dj & the dogs

 

 

 

Day 10: New Orleans

I took more than 200 photos this day.  When I shoot signs, most of the time, it’s just one shot and go.  Buildings and statues usually two or three and go.  So, no, I never park or turn the engine off.  I’m literally at the “thing” I’m shooting no more than a minute.  Seriously.  Anyway — a whole bunch of photos to share — and since my blog audience is mostly sign lovers, I’ll stick with that.

A grey morning but it didn’t last.  No amount of sign would help this sign.  The panels were refaced around 2013 or so.  There was originally a clock where the magnolia is.  And it used to read “mortuary.”  I guess “funeral home” is a little less harsh.  This Flickr photo shows how rough it was in 2008 before the “restoration”:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonyturducken/2575382041

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This little sign is on the side of a parking garage which was probably a good location at one time.  The shop has been gone for years though:

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This one must have been nice with neon and before the porcelain was painted over.  Still pretty in sunlight now though:

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Blue on blue:

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I usually don’t include ghost signs but this one is pretty nice and it’s getting rarer to find ones that haven’t been fussed with and ruined by repainting:

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Once a department store and now lofts.  Since the name remains the same, there’s hope that the sign might be restored one day:

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Painted over but still fairly pretty.  I can’t make out the middle.  The top looks like “Westside” and the bottom is “Improvement”:

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I’m pretty sure this one is a modern sign:

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Some bad repainting here of the top and bottom panels which were probably porcelain originally.  The bottom read “Car Parts” but I think there’s other text under that:

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Pretty little swirls.  I think this porcelain could be buffed and improved.  But it looks pretty baked and rusty.  These signs don’t need much love but this one’s probably 70 years old and if it gotten a little spritz and rub every 10 years, it would probably be in perfect shape right now:

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I think this is a modern sign.  But it might be an adapted oldie.  Yes, the plexi is irritating but I suspect it’s there for a reason (kids + rocks = $):

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This looks like a new build – maybe built in the shape/style of a sign that hung there previously :

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This one is definitely a new sign but those fishies are sure fun.  I’m assuming they are animated or were originally.

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Last one for now — at the Masonic Temple in Slidell.

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I’ll be moving on to other Louisiana cities in the next post.  But that probably won’t be until next weekend since I have a lot of New Orleans to get up at the website first.  More New Orleans signs (different photos of the prettier signs and other stuff) over a Flickr now.  Go on, you know you need a peek:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Day 9: More Louisiana

Let’s start off in Baton Rouge with this great little donut shop:

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Right next door is this great crown sign.  I saw at least one or two other signs in Baton Rouge with this design.  I believe this was originally an Auto King Muffler Shop:

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A nice modern sign at Schlitz and Giggles in Baton Rouge:

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From Hammond: this cluster of Rexall signs — from the front:

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and on the side of the bldg.  These oval signs are rarer than the navy & orange panel & projecting signs:

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Moving on to New Orleans.   I’m glad this one is still hanging:

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I can never get the blade sign at the right time of day or without the wires:

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Let’s end with a couple of tall ones from New Orleans:

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More New Orleans coming in the next post later today.  In the meantime, lots of new photos posted over at Flickr here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj & the dogs

Day 8: Southern Louisiana

In case you noticed, there is no post for Day 7.  That’s because I was totally shut out by rain.  I spent the day grumbling in a hotel in Lafayette, LA.  The dogs didn’t seem to mind.  It was supposed to rain for two or three days but when I woke up on Day 2 and saw the sun, I couldn’t check out fast enough.  Luckily, I parked Sparkle on high ground but there were plenty of other cars wheel well deep in water.  Some clouds slowed me down but I learned to be patient and wait a few minutes, sometimes even an hour.  I don’t shoot in cloudy weather because photos that aren’t lit by the sun just aren’t worth it.  It only means I’d have to go back to reshoot — a waste of time and gas money.

For example, in Abbeville, LA, there was no sun at all — an otherwise nice Rexall sign dull and dreary.  No sunny reflection on the porcelain and a depressing grey sky behind it.  Sad.

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Whereas… better weather — this embossed Firestone sign in Franklin, LA assisted by sun and few little perky clouds.  Sorry bout the wire.

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But even sun can’t help faded plastic (the woman with the groceries) and the glazed porcelain (a little elbow grease buffing and that red would be gleaming) — this one in Morgan City, LA:

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This one in Thibodaux — sometime after 2012, they messed with the bottom of the sign, replacing “BAR” with “Sports Grill” not bothering to paint white letters behind the neon.  I’m sure it originally had a nice detailed border around the edges of the panels.  But, hey, we just gotta be grateful that it’s still hanging.  That rust at the bottom is pretty amazing, isn’t it.  I wouldn’t walk directly under this one.

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This one in Houma, LA:

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This postcard shows what the original look was when it was the Theriot Pharmacy:

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This modern Frostop mug is located in Destrehan, LA.  It’s a long saga covered at my website but I’ll make it brief here.  The owners had a big revolving mug but were not allowed to display it at their new location in a shopping mall when they moved in 2007.  So, the mug remained on the ground, hidden on the side of the building.  The owners tried to sell it on eBay for nearly a year but never got a nibble.  They finally donated it to a prop shop.  So, it’s in storage somewhere.  This new sign went up about four years ago.  And as modern signs go, it’s a good one with the simulated foam and neon lettering and handle.  If you’re curious about Frostop, I’ve got three pages worth of signs and buildings here:
http://www.roadarch.com/vessels/mugs.html

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This sign is in LaPlace, LA.  I don’t know what it was originally.  The top panel had been blown out since at least 2010.  Sometime around 2016, the Midway panel was slid in there for a Tom Cruise movie.

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Let’s conclude this post with this one from Gonzales, LA at the golden hour:

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I’m handling these posts a little differently than I usually do.  I’ve been adding all the photos for each day to my website as I go.  So, the pattern is:  1) some Flickr photos, 2) a blog post here, 3) all the day’s photos to the website and… repeat for each day.  It makes for a little more time between blog posts but it seems a saner way to go about things.
More soon,

dj & the dogs