45 years ago, in 1976, when Cortana Mall opened in Baton Rouge, it was a pretty big deal. A new, modern mall in the Capitol City. Television and radio stations were on hand to broadcast the news to all in Louisiana and Mississippi. Students from Sherwood Forest Elementary and other schools in the Baton Rouge area were also in attendance...for a very special reason.

Local school-age students put together random items from 1976 and sealed them in a time capsule that was then buried under a sidewalk near Dillard's.


Melissa Eastin with the East Baton Rouge Parish Library tells WBRZ in Baton Rouge, the time capsule was buried as part of the 1976 American Bicentennial Celebration.

Some prized possessions included a gumball machine, a small toy airplane and a glass coke bottle. -Eastin to WBRZ

The Cortana Mall time capsule hasn't remained in darkness the whole time, however. In 2001, the time capsule was dug up and more items were added. Items such as a modern-day cellphone and coins. The second intermit was for the anniversary of the now-defunct Goudchaux's retailer.


WBRZ is reporting that approximately 90% of the contents have been damaged by water. Many of the items are in a freezer at the Main Library in Baton Rouge. Eastin explains the cold will arrest mold and mildew on a lot of the water-damaged items. She and her team will access the damage after the items have been in cold storage for a sufficient amount of time.

Eastin jokes about finding someone named Gary Owens. His is the only name on a red Frisbee found in the capsule.

More time capsules are still scattered around the Baton Rouge area.

Cortana Mall has been demolished to make room for a state-of-the-art Amazon Warehouse.

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