Taking care of Hammond's storage needs since 1995!
The slogan, "Fill up with Billups," and the ever present "Your Friend" handshake roadside sign were a common sight on the roads throughout the southern states in the 1950s and 1960s.
Founded by W. L. "Buddy" Billups in the mid-1950s, the Billups Oil Company originally started as one single gas station and early convenience store in Mississippi. This was a new concept for car travelers at the time and caught on fast. The Billups Oil Company grew to include many such type stations throughout the east coast and southern states, from Florida to Texas.
Eventually moving and making Hammond a permanent home, the Billups Oil Company Office Building, located at 620 North Morrison Blvd., was the Hammond corporate headquarters for the Billups Oil Company. Built in the early 1960s, the current office building was one, if not the first, of the true corporate headquarters' buildings located in southern Louisiana and in the Hammond area.
Mr. Billups, or commonly known around Hammond as "Mr. B" or "Uncle Buddy," guided the Billups Oil Company to great success. The business was so successful, that in 1966, the Signal Oil Company purchased Billups Oil and began to merge it in with their gas stations.
In the late 1970s, another rapidly growing gas and convenience store group, Charter Marketing (headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida), bought out the former Billups Oil stations from the Signal Oil Company and began to merge them into their operation.
The Circle K gas station located just north of the office building is one of the original "Fillup with Billups" gas stations. Since this Circle K was located next to the Headquarters' office, the gas station was often used to test market ideas and new products.
After an untimely aircraft accident took the lives of the top management team for Charter Marketing, the gas/convenience store operation was sold to the Southland Corporation, which operates under the Circle K business logo.
The Billups/Charter Marketing office building was eventually sold and purchased by Leon S. Poirier in the mid-1980s. Since that time, the Charter Office Building has been in the Poirier Family and continues to be used as office space.
In addition to the offices, the Billups property also included acreage and a 60,000 square foot warehouse; that acreage is now where the Morrison Boulevard Self-Storage is located and the warehouse is still being used for large storage warehousing operations.
The road on which the current office building is located was originally known as Hwy 51-North, but is now named for former Congressman James "Jimmy" Morrison, a life-long friend of Mr. Billups. The road to the south and around the property is known as Billups Drive.
While long time area residents can remember these early Billups stores, newer area residents, who might not have had the opportunity to have known "Uncle Buddy," are still benefiting from his generosity and philanthropy.
The Northlake Supports and Services Centers was created in 1960 by Louisiana Act 347. Initially named the South Louisiana Training School, it was conceived as a place offering treatment, training, and rehabilitation to people with developmental disabilities. The first buildings were constructed on 100 acres donated to the state by W. L. "Buddy" Billups.
In 1962, the name of the facility changed to Hammond State School (HSS). HSS grew in importance in the surrounding community and offered a wide array of educational and health-related services through clinics, a school district located on its grounds, and day programs open to people in the community.
Education and training received at HSS allowed people with developmental disabilities to enter into the work force and pursue personal goals.
In 1991, Hammond State School's name changed to Hammond Developmental Center. In 2007, the school again changed its name to Northlake Supports and Services Center to reflect its mission to enable people to select services and support they need to attain their personal goals.
The Parents and Friends of Northlake Supports and Services, along with support from the W.L. "Buddy" Billups Memorial Fund, constructed and continues to maintain the All Faiths Chapel, where worship services are held weekly.
A longtime supporter of Southeastern Louisiana College (SLC), now known as Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU), Mr. Billups donated two refurbished Greyhound busses for use by the College, especially the athletic teams.
When the "Fighting Lions" score a touchdown, the cheerleaders ring what is called the "Bell on Wheels." This bell was brought down from a Mississippi plantation and donated to SLU by Mr. Billups.
Mr. Billups also endowed a scholarship at SLU known as the W.L. Billups Scholarship in Special Education. This scholarship is available to students pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Special Education.
The Special Olympics was also a favorite cause for Mr. Billups and his support brought the Special Olympics World Games to the Hammond area in the 1980s.
"Mr. B" called Hammond his home, and our town is a much better place because of him.