Jamie from Louisiana alerted us to some news with the Louisiana’s Hammond Square Mall, which closed for good yesterday, March 31st. The 430,000 square foot mall, which opened in 1976 in Hammond, a college town about 45 minutes northwest of New Orleans, is being shut to make way for a 800,000 square foot lifestyle-power center combo to be built in its place. Before taking one last swing by Hammond Square for these rather day-glo pictures the other day, Jamie emailed us to share some history:
“The mall was owned by Sizeler Properties of Kenner LA, which I believe was recently bought out. They still own 2 other small malls in southern Louisiana: Northshore Square in Slidell and Southland Mall in Houma. They recently sold the Hammond property to another company, I believe the name is Palace Properties. The new company has teamed up with Stirling Properties of Covington, LA to redevelop the mall. Stirling has been very successful with big retail sites in neighboring St Tammany Parish. This Sizeler property brochure PDF file has all three of these malls listed with area shots of them.
I frequented the mall a lot when I was a student at SLU to kill time in between classes and browse the B.Dalton Bookseller, Sound Shop and KB Toys. And then I ate lunch at the Chick-Fil-A all the time, which was a real treat! And KSLU radio station was also located in the mall.”
“Hammond Square Mall opened in 1976 with 3 anchors Sears, JCPenney and D.H. Holmes (the old New Orleans based department store). The Holmes became Dillard’s in 1989 when the chain sold. Dillard’s and Sears are the only anchors left, but the new development is bringing JCPenney back along with Target. I don’t believe the mall has changed much at all on inside and out. The last time I was there was maybe 5 or 6 years ago, and from what I remember it was still all brown on the inside, typical of 70′s malls. It is very small and called a square because basically that is what is. It is a 3 level square surrounded by the 3 anchors. The bottom level was very small, would have made a good food court, but this old mall never had a food court. It was kind of like a hole in the ground. But I thought it was real cool. And the main entrance has like 10 or 15 steps leading up to the entrance, which is the second level of the mall. In Louisiana you typically do not build in the ground, like a basement, so I believe the second level of the center of the mall was built up and then the bottom level was a small section in the middle of the square. And there was escalators on the the 2 of the ends of mall to lead up to the 3rd level. I guess you could say a very unique design.
“Hammond Square always seemed to have a reputation as being a lame, boring place. It had a few stores, but there never seem to be anything in it that was too hip. And it was just never given an attention by owners. The other 2 properties that Sizeler owns are thriving. Southland mall is 37 years old and booming! But Hammond Square just never could find a niche, or a place, I just don’t know. I actually has the best location, almost exactly in between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Maybe that was the problem, not quite far enough from the big cities. Although after Hurricane Katrina, some business used the empty space for office, and it kinda had a small little boom, but not necessarily in retail.
“I remember when I was going to college, Hammond Square had a few of the typical mall stores many malls have. They had 3 Foot Lockers, with the Lady Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker. Of course Radio Shack. The Limited, Payless Shoe Source, K&B Drugs (now Rite Aid), Corn Dog Plus, Morrison’s Cafeteria, as well as the others I mentioned before. And of course they had a twin cinema up until 1999 when the palace theatre, a 10 screen megaplex opened right behing the mall. I can’t remember what else right off hand. Last time I was there they also had a Cuco’s mexican restaurant.
“According to articles in the papers, demolition has already begun on the former JCpenney and that all shops had until March 31st to vacate. And that Dillards and Sears will remain open during construction of the new center. Articles also state that most shops have left. There was many local stores in the mall only a few chains were left, since the mall has been dying a slow death in the last 5 years, most of the big chains have already been gone.
I even found something very interesting when I did a Google search on the mall. There is actually on online petition to save the mall! Also the local paper in Hammond, the Daily Star, started a blog back in May when the announcement was made about the redevelopment of the mall, asking for input from the community about what stores should be in the new mall. The most popular requests seemed to be Abercrombie and Fitch, Hot Topic, Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle. Obviously reflecting the presence of a university in the town. As well as a supermarket or making the Target a Super Target.”
Thanks for the information and these great photos, Jamie! Jamie commented that he may be sending some more pictures, so keep an eye on this space! We may be adding to it as we receive more.
UPDATE 4/4/07: Jamie was so thrilled to see that we’re real people who actually check our e-mails that he dumped the entire contents of his camera phone into an email and sent it to us. Good for us, since the ‘neon mall’ is really the sight to behold; that first set of pictures only scratches the surface! Enjoy, and remember that submissions like these are always welcome at Labelscar. If we don’t post it up right away, fear not–we will.