North Baton Rouge of 1960’s Is Gone Forever
When Standard Oil Company opened its refinery just north of Baton Rouge in 1909 and began hiring workers for its petrochemical operations, families moved here from the Florida parishes of Louisiana and southern Mississippi. Istrouma High School opened its doors in 1917 and by the 1920’s a distinct community called North Baton Rouge had been established in the area bounded by Choctaw Drive on the south, Scenic Highway on the west, and the Airline Highway on the north and east.
It was a blue collar community composed of families headed by industrial workers, construction workers, policemen, firemen, and retail employees. The railroad track along Choctaw divided blue collar North Baton Rouge from white collar South Baton Rouge.
The Standard Oil Refinery was the largest oil refinery in the country, and North Baton Rouge developed a robust business community along Plank Road and Scenic Highway. Istrouma High School was the largest high school in the state and the state’s dominant football power.
In the 1980’s, forced school busing drove most white residents out of North Baton Rouge, and it entered a period of decline. The Flood of
2016 hit the community very hard.