Of all the places I've explored, Dixie Brewery was in by far the worst shape. In fact, I was quite sure the concrete floor, concave and water logged, would collapse at any minute. The very foundation of the place seemed broken. We explored Dixie on an unseasonably cold January day, and ice and icicles were everywhere. We eventually found the source of the water- a burst pipe on the top floor of the building. The water is kept running to a lot of these old abandoned buildings in case a fire breaks out, but in this case the water was doing more harm than good.
The Dixie Brewery opened its doors on Halloween night in 1907. For most of the 20th century, Dixie was one of three major breweries in New Orleans and enjoyed national success with its line of beers. By the 1980's Jax and Falstaff had closed, leaving Dixie as the only major brewery in town.
In the years leading up to the storm Dixie was still producing up to 50,000 barrels of beer a year, but the 10 feet of water from Katrina closed production for good. What the storm didn't destroy, vandals and scrapers did. The huge antique copper kettles and cypress tanks were quickly cut up and sold for scraps. By the time we explored it there was nothing of value left. But even so it was apparent that this place had been neglected for decades. Katrina and the looters were just the final straw.
The building turned a century old in October of 2007. The site of the building has since been incorporated into the LSU/VA hospital complex. LSU pledged not to demolish the historically significant building, and they stayed true to their word. Much of the building was demolished, but to be honest, I'm surprised and happy they could save what they did. Like I said, it seemed as though the entire building was leaning...it surely would have been much cheaper to just flatten the thing.
As of this writing over 7 years later, the building is still being renovated...I'll keep you updated. Dixie is still being brewed under contract by Paulaner HP in Colorado.
Just a reminder: I never break in - anywhere. If it's locked up, I simply move on my way. I take only pictures and leave only footprints. It's all about respect.