Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Electric Depot
An abandoned power plant will anchor an up-and-coming neighborhood
Now that LSU has lost a home game to Troy, the good folks in Baton Rouge are developing the city into something other than a football destination. The place where it’ll happen is the burgeoning Mid-City neighborhood, home to the annual White Light Night party (one of the biggest art events in the state outside New Orleans), cafes, bars, and a longstanding Thursday night blues jam at Phil Brady’s. While young families have been moving to the once-blighted area for a few years now, it’s lacked a real destination center. That should change this year, though, with the opening of Electric Depot.
The apocalyptic-looking power plant that has marred the landscape here is in the midst of one of the biggest industrial-facility makeovers in America. The 6-acre, $20 million project will center on the plant, redone to include a bowling alley, brewery, live music venue, and plenty of drinking and dining. It’ll also include rental units that people will, allegedly, be able to actually afford (prices have yet to be released) -- as well as a train station for the proposed New Orleans-Baton Rouge intercity rail. The facility will be a masterpiece of exposed steel, high windows, and restored brick, reminiscent of what Memphis did with an old Sears warehouse at Crosstown Concourse. Electric Depot will be the social hub for the city’s fastest-growing neighborhood, and more importantly, give Baton Rouge something worth seeing that’s not in a yellow helmet.