To stand in the quiet stillness of a place long abandoned and appreciate the beauty of nature reclaiming its territory, that is the goal of urbex. When wandering in these places we can only imagine the former inhabitants’ lives. A window opens up to us revealing the past witnessed by this aging structure and overgrown gardens. The urban explorer finds adventure in discovering abandoned sites and in uncovering secrets of the past.
Planning, coordination, communication, all of these elements are a part of the adventure. Testing your physical and mental fitness while venturing into the unknown sets a challenge to your capabilities only rewarded by the euphoria of discovering somewhere new. There is much to discover and explore in Louisiana. Wars, fires, recessions, and hurricanes have left their mark on this Gulf Coast state.
Louisiana is home to many abandoned sites with colorful histories, cultural significance, and architectural splendor. Of course, in this state of bayou plantations and French influence, some of the sites are even said to be haunted.
From a power plant to a beer brewery, a Navy base, and a charity hospital, many abandoned sites are waiting to be explored. Get ready to slip back in time and explore the streets of old New Orleans as we countdown the top 10 abandoned places in Louisiana.
Need a strong camera to photograph abandoned places in Louisiana? Look no further than our two top recommendations, the Canon EOS 90D and the Nikon D7500. Find more DSLR options in our comprehensive guide.
Interested in venturing outside Louisiana? Here are a few guides to surrounding states that will be helpful in your explorations outside of the wonderful abandoned places in Louisiana:
- Most Amazing Abandoned Places in Alabama: Top 10 Choices
- The 10 Best Abandoned Places In Texas For 2021 And Beyond
- Our List of the 10 Best Abandoned Places in Florida For 2021
The Best Abandoned Places in Louisiana
Jazzland, New Orleans Six Flags Amusement Park
For many urban explorers in the United States, Six Flags New Orleans is not only one of the most sought-after abandoned places in Louisiana, but also one of the most bucket-listed abandoned locations in the United States.
At the end of August over 15 years ago, the infamous Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. It devastated New Orleans, breaking through levees and washing out several large portions of the city. Both lives and properties were lost en masse in floodwaters that remained for days after Katrina had dissipated.
This incredibly traumatic natural disaster remains one of the deadliest catastrophes in the history of the United States. While the wrath of Katrina left behind massive destruction to most of the area, it did not spare the popular Six Flags New Orleans “Jazzland” amusement park. The structures and rides of Six Flags New Orleans sank into the tide and then drained, leaving absolute, unrecoverable destruction in its wake, and a post-apocalyptic Wonderland reminiscent of the Chernobyl/Pripyat area amusement park of yesteryear.
The disgusting nature bathwater rose to over six feet, closing in on 10 feet deep in some parts of the theme park. Here, concession stands were flipped and roller coasters were rusted and submerged. If the water had cleared out immediately, the damage may have been recoverable. However, the rainwater, and most importantly metal-corroding saltwater, stayed stagnating throughout Six Flags New Orleans for weeks and ended up destroying almost all of the rides and equipment of the now-depressing example of hurricane-caused abandoned places in Louisiana.
One exception to this total destruction was the famed Batman roller coaster. This ride escaped somewhat unharmed, as the entire ride was built on a type of elevated platform. However, overall the park was deemed far too gone for restoration. It was set for demolition, however the Six Flags Corporation realized it was cheaper to just let the land and rides sit than pay for demolishing and flattening the entire park. As a result, the park fell into extreme disrepair, where it remains to this day. Atlas Obscura describes it best: “a pastel-colored ghost town haunted by silence and disenchantment“.
It should be noted that the ruins of Six Flags New Orleans remain on private property, and the site is considered condemned and dangerous. As a result, it’s important to know how to navigate the potential for trespassing violations. Remember to enter at your own risk, and follow the urban explorer’s motto: Take only photos, leave only footprints.
Dixie Brewing Company New Orleans
Dixie Brewing Company was located at 2401 Tulane Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana. Brewing beer at this plant since 1907, Dixie survived Prohibition but not Hurricane Katrina. One of the most catastrophic natural events in recent memory, Katrina changed both Dixie Brewing and New Orleans forever.
When the levees broke in August 2005, the monolithic structure was evacuated before the massive flooding overcame it. After the water finally receded, looting began and much of the brewing equipment was stolen. The brewing of the beer continued but in Wisconsin leaving this iconic landmark as one of the most famous abandoned places in Louisiana.
With plans to return the brewing of Dixie Beer to New Orleans, a lack of funds kept the project from fruition. In 2011, the State of Louisiana seized the aging abandoned brewery. Dixie Brewing filed a lawsuit against the state for the improper seizure but in 2013 a federal judge sided with the state thus preventing the brewery from ever returning to its original facility.
While New Orleans has seen many changes over its existence, Hurricane Katrina left its mark permanently on this structure and others in this list as well. Before repair and renovation, the brewery provided a perfect setting for urbex. Now a medical building for the Veteran’s Administration, you can still see many of the original architectural elements in its updated facade.
Plaza Tower New Orleans
Plaza Tower office skyscraper can be found at 1001 Howard Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. Designed by Leonard Reese Spangenburg & Associates, it opened in 1969 as the tallest building in Louisiana. With 45 floors and a massive multi-story parking garage, the Plaza has over 485,000 square feet of office space. Once bustling with commerce, the Tower now stands as one of the famous abandoned places in Louisiana.
Projecting upper floors give the square tower the appearance of a massive, minimalist column while the alternating pale stones and dark windows create a pop-art zebra-stripe effect. Closed in 2002 due to the presence of black mold and asbestos, the building never lived up to expectations. The growth of high rises continued, but in a different area of New Orleans, leaving the owners bankrupt.
Last sold at auction in 2011 for $650,000, the abandoned office complex remains a curiosity to New Orleans tourists and locals. This property is fenced in and has been abandoned for many years. It stands vacant and decrepit with broken windows and falling tiles all the while maintaining its place in the New Orlean’s skyline alongside the newer skyscrapers.
If you are on the hunt for a great respirator to more safely observe some of these incredible abandoned places in Louisiana, we highly recommend the 3M 6800 for a full-face option and the North 7700 if you would prefer a half-face option. Find more respirator options in our in-depth guide.
EA Conway Memorial Hospital
The EA Conway Memorial Hospital began its life in 1941 as the Monroe Charity Hospital serving the twelve parishes of Northeast Louisiana. Providing urgently needed care to the community, it served over 100,000 patients its first year. In 1948 the name was changed as a tribute to the late EA Conway, Secretary of State and a Monroe native.
This busy hospital was a cornerstone of the Monroe community until 1987 when the structure was abandoned for a newer, more modern hospital. Since that time, the EA Conway Memorial Hospital has become one of the most famous abandoned places in Louisiana. Empty operating theaters and aging X-ray equipment are found along patients’ beds and ancient wheelchairs. A favorite of ghost-hunters, this creepy-looking run-down hospital is said to be haunted by the spirits of former patients.
Pirates Cove Water Park
On Interstate 10, between Lafayette and Lake Charles, stands the remains of the once busy Pirates Cove Waterpark. Another fatality of Hurricane Katrina, the waterpark remained underwater for weeks in August of 2005, long after the hurricane had passed. When the water finally receded, the damage was extensive and the waterpark was left as one of the famous abandoned places in Louisiana.
The remains of this abandoned waterpark are both devastating and beautiful. Log flumes and wading pools long abandoned are now home to birds and alligators. Cars traveling along I-10 wonder at the enormous size of this waterpark. Several developers have expressed interest in the abandoned site but following the hurricane, zoning law changes and Louisiana politics have made it more difficult to re-open. New ownership has promised to restore the waterpark to its former glory.
Market Street Power Plant
The former Market Street Power Plant sits on the banks of the Mississippi River between the waterfront Warehouse District and the Garden District in New Orleans. The power plant was constructed by New Orleans Railway and Light Company in 1905 and produced coal-powered electricity for the growing city. At that time, it was the largest power plant in the South.
Originally only one building, the power plant grew in size, evolving over time. The original brick structure was enormous, encompassing over 160,000 square feet. With its turn-of-the-century practicality and no-frills construction, the utilitarian building gives off a steam-punk vibe. Now softened by graffiti artists’ masterpieces, the power plant is one of the famous abandoned places in Louisiana.
The towering twin smokestacks and crumbling industrial facade make the power plant an interesting place for urban exploration. The immense size of the boilers and rooms of gauges and switches are a historical curiosity. Developers have long sought this coveted river-front property and plans are in the works for the original building to be restored and turned into condominiums.
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Exhibit Be Apartments
This five-story 450-unit housing complex has a long history of crime and violence. Since its opening in 1964, it is one of the oldest and most troubled housing projects in New Orleans. Initially built for the African-American Saints NFL football players, by 1970 it was under the control of HUD and consisted of Section-8 occupants.
Lacking proper management, the complex fell into disrepair with broken elevators, busted water pipes, and rodent and termite infestations. The security gates did not close. It became a dumpsite for discarded tires and rotting trash. Maintenance workers feared working at the complex due to robberies and muggings. NOPD instituted more police presence but it did little to stem the tide of gang violence and drug activity.
Over time, buildings were vacated and condemned moving residents to other buildings in the complex. By 1990, the housing complex was awash in robberies, shootings, and killings. In 1996, HUD demolished 39 abandoned and condemned units. Four years later, a new group of investors took over promising to re-new the complex but were met with only failed inspections and ever-increasing disrepair.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused an additional 135 of the remaining 364 units to be condemned. Finally, in 2012, the last remaining 100 occupants were relocated and the complex was closed.
In 2014, real estate developer Bill Thomason noticed the work of graffiti artist “BMike” transforming the vandalized abandoned buildings into works of art. Instead of calling the police, Thomason agreed to allow the artists to continue the transformation of the project. The public was invited to view the artwork and schools organized field trips to the site. Over the following months, 30,000 visitors experienced Exhibit Be.
It quickly became a success, attracting media attention nationwide. The mayor visited the site and thanked the artists for their community service. This street-art exhibit was hailed as a social experiment of the dueling nature of graffiti art versus vandalism and as a healing memorial to the last tenants removed due to the hurricane’s destruction. As a result, it is yet another casualty of Katrina adding multitudes to the number of abandoned places in Louisiana.
“Exhibit Be is about the idea of being in the moment, not the past or the future” states creator Brandan “BMike” Odums. Large, colorful murals of famous civil rights leaders and entertainers are depicted all over the walls including portraits of Martin Luther King, the Notorious BIG, Malcolm X, and Mohammed Ali. Exhibit Be revealed street-art and graffiti’s capacity for engaging communities of color as well as the arts community. It is an interesting exploration.
Loews State Palace
Opening on Canal Street in 1926, this $1 Million luxury film palace was originally named The State Theatre. Designed by prominent New York architect Thomas Lamb, the theater is an example of the luxury and finery of New Orleans at that time. Lamb designed the luxurious movie theater featuring Renaissance motifs, Tiffany chandeliers, and plush velvet seating for over 3,000 patrons. Opening day featured a stunning array of silent film stars of the day including Buster Keaton, Jack Mulhall, and Dorothy Mackill.
Owned by Marcus Leow, the man who founded MGM Studios in 1924, his movie palaces were built to showcase Hollywood films and live performances. Crowds flocked to his theater for many years and enjoyed the luxurious surroundings, including a prized 3/13 Robert Morgan organ. In the 1930s the State Theatre was damaged by flooding and the pipe organ was dismantled and moved to the Saenger Theater in Pensacola, Florida.
The property went through changes through the years. It was turned into a multiplex theater and then renovated and returned to its original single theater design in the late 1980s when it was re-named the Loew’s State Palace.
Maintaining the luxury theater’s elegance amidst its decaying facade proved costly and the theater changed hands several times over the coming years. Its popularity once again soared in the mid-1990s when the theater hosted underground rave parties. The documentary “Rise: Story of Rave Outlaw Disco Donnie” highlights the rave scene at the State Palace Theater.
Criminal charges filed against the owners, DEA raids, and Fire Marshall’s attempts at closing the theater all failed but Hurricane Katrina succeeded in permanently closing the venue in 2005. Cleanups were attempted but flooding in the basement caused extensive damage and the building was condemned.
Since then the theater has become a magnet for urbex. As one of the most famous abandoned places in Louisiana, Leow’s State Palace retains its allure of forgotten luxury and elegance amid urban decay.
The Touro-Shakespeare Home
The Touro-Shakespeare Home in New Orleans, Louisiana was named after former city mayor James Shakespeare and philanthropist Judah Touro. Touro, originally a Rhode Island native, made his home in New Orleans before the Civil War. Here he made a fortune in shipping and Louisiana real estate.
Touro, despite being incredibly wealthy, lived humbly and endeared himself to the people of New Orleans by his many charitable contributions to education, healthcare, orphanages, and places of worship. Upon his death, he bequeathed $80,000 for a house for the poor to be under the control of the mayor. In effect, Touro had, through his private gift, started a social-welfare program in an era when this was assumed to be the work of the church.
Destroyed by fire at the end of the civil war, the home was moved to General Meyer’s Avenue in Algiers in 1932. The new home was designed by a local architect William R. Burke. The elegant design includes elements of Neo-Classical Revival and Jacobean Revival. The home sits on the Westbank of the Mississippi River.
The Touro-Shakespeare Home features a prominent front portico, stepped parapets, and diamond-pattern polychrome brickwork on the exterior. The large, multi-story building with its Gothic appearance resembles part cathedral, part fortress, and part castle.
The building served as a city-operated nursing home for over 70 years before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The property has been abandoned and left deteriorating ever since. Its beauty fading with the passing of time.
Looters and vandals have laid claim to stained glass windows and church pews. The marvelous gardens and fountains are now dry and overgrown. The 200 seat chapel with its enormous domed ceiling stands empty, the wind whistling through the broken windows and doors.
Urban explorers have re-discovered the original beauty of this facility’s English gardens and its architectural splendor. Urbex enthusiasts have made the Touro-Shakespeare Home in Algiers one of the most famous abandoned places in Louisiana.
Cameras, headlamps, respirators and more. Urban exploration can be very gear-heavy, especially when exploring abandoned places in Louisiana. When this is the case, it’s important to have a good-quality backpack.
We recommend both the Osprey Packs Daylite for sling backpacks when exploring abandoned places in Louisiana, or the Mardingtop Tactical Backpack for a standard two-strap backpack. Alternatively, check out our comprehensive guide for far more options, tips, and tricks.
NSA New Orleans Complex
Naval Support Activity (NSA) is an immense complex consisting of three, six-story buildings on the East Bank of the Mississippi River. The three giant buildings that tower over the riverbank each contain over one half million square feet of floor space. Situated on over 30 acres of land, this complex has had a long history at the Louisiana port.
Constructed during World War I, the U.S. Army originally built the enormous complex as a Quartermaster Depot, used for general logistics during the war. The complex was completed in 1919 and has seen many incarnations over the years until it was abandoned in 2011.
While in operation, the naval complex had extensive recreational facilities, 1,800 parking spaces, 1 million square feet of air-conditioned office space, and a parade ground. It was home to 3,900 active duty and 2,700 civilian personnel.
During the 1930s the facility served as a transient center housing men left homeless by the Great Depression. The men did work for the Navy in exchange for room and board. As World War II began, the complex was reverted to full military use as the New Orleans Port of Embarkation.
Between 1944 and 1966, the complex progressed from a U.S. Navy Station to the U.S. Naval Headquarters. The Army transferred ownership to the Navy, along with its neighboring base on the Algiers riverbank, forming the Naval Activity Support (NSA) Complex, New Orleans in 1966.
Tenants of the base complex included the Marine Corps Reserve and the Navy Reserve. In the early 1970s, the base was re-named the F. Edward Hebert Defense Complex after the New Orleans congressman who served as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
In May 2005, BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Round) moved the Navy headquarters to Virginia, the personnel functions to Tennessee, and closed the Naval Support Activity complex. Soon after the Navy left, the Marines moved and the base has been vacant since 2011.
The Navy employs a small security staff and a caretaker to maintain the facility. At the dock, the Cape Knox, a naval ship, can be seen ready to go into action if needed. But the shuttered base appears deserted with knee-high weeds and graffiti covering the exterior.
Since 2016 the city of New Orleans has proposed many different uses for this valuable riverfront property including a proposed cruise ship terminal and art and culture center. Although plans are in place, the complex remains abandoned, and the site remains on our list of the best abandoned places in Louisiana.
Our Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in Louisiana
With many abandoned sites across the United States waiting to be explored, take time to check out these famous abandoned places in Louisiana. If you live in-state or plan to travel here soon, these 10 sites deserve your attention. The unique culture and history of this state make it a must-see for any urban explorer. Adventure awaits in the Bayou State.
Those who are into urban exploration in the Louisiana state area, and wanting to explore abandoned places in Louisiana, should get comfortable with Louisiana trespassing laws. Luckily, in the state of Louisiana, the laws are easy to understand and are pretty cut and dry.
For these cases, you should familiarize yourself with x. For more about obtaining permission to explore abandoned places in Louisiana, check out our guide Explore Abandoned Buildings: How To Get Permission.