Wildcat Stadium and Central Throughway

Wildcat Stadium and Central Throughway

The Central City News has commissioned a series of aerial photographs by local photographer Charles Breard.

The photos tell a story that cannot possibly be told from the ground.

It is the story of a community that is still very much rural.

Fly over most other parts of East Baton Rouge Parish and you will see mostly brown and grays — the colors of concrete and development.  But fly over Central, and you see miles and miles of green space.

The photo at right looks south from the old Central Middle School at the corner of Hooper and Sullivan roads to the Central Throughway.

Historically, in the 1800’s, Central was not a community but a spot — the intersection of Canal and Sullivan roads.  Canal is now called Hooper Road.  This was the site of the Central School, which was so named because it was “central” to the many one-room schoolhouses that dotted the area we now call Central.

The Central Community School Board and new Mayor Jr. Shelton are now considering what to do with the old Central Middle School property.  One proposal is to make it the City Center with the City Hall, civic auditorium, library, post office, and school board office, along with some commercial development.

The old middle school property includes about 27 acres.  The aerial view shows just how much space that is.  Mayor Shelton has suggested no decision on a City Center should be made until the old buildings at the middle school are torn down.  Only then will it be possible to visualize the potential of the site, he said.

One obstacle to developing the old middle school is Wildcat Stadium.  If it were moved to another location, the amount of land available for a City Center on the property would be greatly increased.

Looking south, one sees the Central Throughway, winding toward Florida Boulevard, O’Neal Lane, and I-12.  The $70 million project now makes it possible to travel from the heart of Central to I-12 in a matter of minutes.

The aerial view gives perspective, and that is greatly needed as the new City of Central charts its future.


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