OAKWOOD MALL
West Bank Expressway / US 90 and Terry Parkway
Jefferson Parish (Terrytown), Louisiana

The second shopping mall in -or around- "The Big Easy" was designed by New Orleans-based Curtis & Davis Architects & Engineers. OAKWOOD MALL was built on a 68.5 acre tract, located 4 miles southeast of central New Orleans. The site, on the West Bank of the Mississippi, was in an unincorporated section of Jefferson Parish known as Terrytown.

The single-level, fully-enclosed complex opened for business August 1, 1966. The original anchors were a 2-level (189,600 square foot) Sears and a 3-level (104,000 square foot), New Orleans-based D.H. Holmes.

The General Cinema Corporation Oakwood Cinema I & II showed its first features on August 4, 1967. Built in the southeast periphery of the mall, it opened in conjunction with an identical theater at LAKESIDE CENTER. By the time of the Oakwood cinema's shuttering, in the early 1990s, it had been reconfigured as a 4-plex.

Major malls in the vicinity of OAKWOOD included the aforementioned LAKESIDE CENTER (1960) {8.9 miles northwest, in Jefferson Parish / Metairie} and CLEARVIEW MALL (1968) {10.1 miles northwest, also in Jefferson Parish / Metairie}. A second shopping venue on the West Bank, BELLE PROMENADE MALL {4.2 miles southwest, in Jefferson Parish / Marrero} was dedicated in 1983 and torn down in 1999.

The first addition to OAKWOOD MALL, a 2-level (82,000 square foot) Mervyn's, opened in 1985. In 1989, D.H. Holmes was rebranded by Dillard's.

A major mall renovation and expansion was announced in August 1990. It was to last 4 years and expand the shopping facility from 793,000 square feet to 952,000. The first phase, consisting of a 2-level (175,000 square foot) Dillard's (added to the mall's east end) was dedicated in September 1991. The old D.H. Homes / Dillard's was refitted with inline stores on its first level. A 35,000 square foot Marshalls went into the second.

An official name change, from OAKWOOD MALL to OAKWOOD CENTER, was adopted in August 1991. Baton Rouge-based Maison Blanche opened a 2-level (157,000 square foot) store, at the south end of the mall, in March 1994. With the 1998 acquisition of Mercantile Stores by Dillard's, the Maison Blanche at OAKWOOD CENTER was shuttered. It re-opened, as a J.C. Penney, February 18, 1999.

The Rouse Company, who acquired OAKWOOD MALL / CENTER in 1982, was absorbed by Chicago-based General Growth Properties in November 2004. As a result, the shopping hub was added to the GGP portfolio.

Housing one hundred twenty-four stores and services, the complex had become one of the most upscale shopping venues in the Crescent City. However, it was a victim of the "Katrinagate" debacle of August 2005. OAKWOOD CENTER was not damaged so much by the storm and flooding but was looted and set on fire in the aftermath. Eighty percent of its stores were damaged by smoke and water.

One third of the structure was demolished. 95 million dollars was expended in the mall's reconstruction. Sears became the first store to re-open, in early 2006, with Dillard's returning in late 2006 and Penney's in late 2007. Mervyn's did not resume operations. A mall-wide grand re-opening celebration was held October 19, 2007.

The West Wing of the mall, vacant and closed to the public since 2005, was finally rebuilt in 2012. New stores, such as Rue 21, Ulta Beauty and Dress Barn Misses & Woman, opened, along with a relocated Old Navy.

Mervyn's, sitting empty since being closed by Hurricane Katrina, was renovated. It opened, as a Dick's Sporting Goods, October 13, 2013. Sears shuttered their OAKWOOD CENTER store in early 2017, ending over 50 years of business at the shopping hub.

Sources:

"Oakwood Center" article on Wikipedia
"Mercantile Stores" article on Wikipedia
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
Comment post by "Anonymous"
http://movie-theatre.org/theatre.html