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Wednesday, April 14, 2010


An appointment this morning took me back to Paulina, LA (mentioned in this earlier post). However, the appointment fell apart upon my arrival, so I had the luxury of some “found time.” My loss is your gain, as I spent a little time cruising the streets of Paulina’s larger neighbor, Gramercy.

My knowledge of Gramercy has been limited to the knowledge that it’s the home of Zapp’s Potato Chips. I knew this because each bag of chips is stamped with the catchphrase, “The Little Chippery from Gramercy.” Zapp’s makes really good potato chips in a variety of flavors including local favorite “Cajun Crawtators.”

The best history I can find of Gramercy is from the National Park Service. I don’t want to plagiarize their website, so I’d encourage you to follow the link. Below you will see a couple pictures of a plant – now apparently owned and/or operated by Cargill – that still bears the logo of “Colonial Sugars.” Early on, Gramercy was settled as an Indian and French trading post, but in the late 1800s, became a “sugar company town.” The Colonial Sugars plant and grounds are now designated as a Historic District (thus the write-up by NPS). The link provides more details regarding “sugar company towns,” and it’s fairly interesting.

Driving through Gramercy but not having read the history above, I could definitely tell that the town was built around the sugar refinery. It sits at the end of what seems to be an old main drag, and residential areas surround this main drag on either side. There also seem to be a couple other concentrated areas – one being along 4-lane LA-3125, where one can find some fast-food restaurants and truck stops. The other is along Airline Highway, where the Zapp’s plant is located.

On to some pictures. First, as I often do, I missed a turn and wound up somewhere unexpected - in this case, on the wrong side of the river. However, in this case it wasn't all bad because I found this little cemetery in the shadows of the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

small cemetery

at peace near the bridge

The refinery.

colonial sugars refinery

the former colonial sugars refinery

A couple views of downtown Gramercy. The refinery is visible in the background.

downtown gramercy

downtown gramercy

These cottages were just off the main drag.

gramercy cottages

This abandoned building caught my eye - kind of a strange conglomeration of architecture - early 20th century brick facade, permastone upper floor addition (maybe?), garage, and finally stainless steel marquee-thingy.

architecture conglomeration

The "little chippery in Gramercy." The smell of deep fried potatoes hung heavy in the air.

the little chippery in gramercy

A club across the street from Zapp's.


That's all for today - may have some more material on Friday. In the meantime, if you'd like to see some other pictures from my travels, remember to check out my Flickr stream. I have posted some other random photos over the last couple weeks.

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