Sunday, September 7, 2014

Where are They Now?
Historic Post Offices of Louisiana: Plaquemine

During a trip this spring to the Bayou I was able to find and photograph several historic post office buildings in southeast Louisiana along the way from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Each of these offices is no longer occupied by the Postal Service. As an added bonus, I will show you photos of each of these early-century buildings from when they were brand new, using photos recently scanned by yours truly at the National Archives.

As always, here's a map showing where we'll be for this and GP's next couple of posts: the cities of Plaquemine, Houma, Thibodaux, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.



Plaquemine, Louisiana

Plaquemine, population about 7,000, is the seat of Iberville Parish [Louisiana's equivalent of a county]. Its post office was first established in 1822. Located at 23430 Eden St., the historic 1935-6 Treasury Department-funded (New Deal) post office resides in historic downtown Plaquemine near Bayou Plaquemine [think: river that enters the Mississippi], though the building currently lies opposite a large vacant lot with the massive Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church looming just beyond.

Historic Plaquemine post office:
Historic Plaquemine, LA post office

Historic Plaquemine, LA post office

The historic building is now occupied by two high-end home décor shops: Cabinets Unlimited, which opened in 1990 and "specialize[s] in beautiful custom cabinets and furniture for new construction or remodels," as well as other custom wood carving products; and Garden On Eden, founded 1999, which specializes in "fine imports from around the world."

Unfortunately, since a lot of Garden of Eden's merchandise is outside the entire front of the property has been enclosed by a several-foot-tall iron fence. This means it's difficult to get up-close and personal with the old building and, for example, get a good look at the cornerstone on the right side of the building. But never fear! Your intrepid postal enthusiast was able to slip his camera at such an angle that he was able to get a couple of good looks for you one late March weekend.

Historic Plaquemine, LA post office

The rather obfuscated post office cornerstone:
Historic Plaquemine, LA post office cornerstone

There was no New Deal artwork in the old Plaquemine post office.

Going Postal suspects that the historic post office was sold as late as 1990, at which point Cabinets Unlimited moved into the New Deal building and a new post office building was constructed. (When exactly? It's not clear at this time. As our friend Kelvin has noted in the comments below, the structure you see here possesses ca. 1970 postal architecture.) Intrepid post office voyager John from Maryland took this photo of the Plaquemine post office in 2000:
ca. 1990 Plaquemine post office

Which brings us to now: The present Plaquemine post office is a USPS-owned facility about a mile south of the historic post office and has been occupied, according to USPS's Owned Facilities Report, since Aug. 2000. It is located just across the train tracks that (and yes, you and your car will have to wait if some cargo is coming through).

Plaquemine post office, 2014

The following never-before-publicized photos of the just-completed historic Plaquemine post office were taken for the U.S. Treasury Department on Nov. 3, 1936.

Plaquemine post office, 1936

Plaquemine post office, 1936

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Haynesville LA Office has New Deal artwork. From same era.

Suzassippi said...

Nice update. I don't get to southern LA other than NO very often. Was the post office brick originally painted white? It would appear that it was.

Evan K. said...

The brickwork doesn't look any different, and it certainly appears to be painted white! I know a few others in the area were.

Kelvin said...

I could be completely wrong, but I'd guess that middle building was built more like 1970 than 1990. Seems more like a 70's style, and I'd have expected a longer use-span for it, too.