LAKE CHARLES, La. (Dec. 9, 2019)–The annual Southwest Louisiana Gingerbread House Contest winners were announced at noon on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Visit Lake Charles Welcome Center, 1205 N. Lakeshore Drive.

The contest, held in conjunction with the annual Southwest Louisiana Christmas Lighting Festival, features awards in different categories including amateurs, school groups, organizations and a professional division.  Southwest Louisiana’s goodwill ambassador and mascot, Gumbeaux Gator was on hand to take pictures with the winners.

This year, entries highlighted themes such as The Cajun Night Before Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Wizard of Oz, and local attractions such as the Henning Cultural Center and the Rosa Hart Theatre.

In the Children’s Division, Camp Hanson won first place; Ayla Joiner came in second, and Adryan and Doryan Savoie placed third.

In the Children with Exceptionalities Division, J.I. Watson, Jennifer Kershaw’s class took first place. DeQuincy Elementary, Rebecca Snead’s class came in second, and Kaufman Elementary, Tina Harris’ class and Kaufman Elementary, Heather Lawson’s class tied for third.

In the Elementary School Division, the Cypress Cove Stem Club took first place. Second place went to the Our Lady Queen of Heaven Junior Girl Scout Troop 238. Third place went to the Our Lady Queen of Heaven Daisies/Brownies Girl Scout Troop 238.

In the Middle School Division, Jamie Roberts’ class from Iowa Middle School captured first place. Danasia January from S.J. Welsh Middle School came in second, and the W.W. Lewis Builders Club took third place.

Taking home first place in the High School Division was Iowa High School. Second place went to the Sam Houston High Beta Club, and Washington Marion High School Art Club won third place.

In the Teen Division, Kaylin Landry won first place. Dylan Guidry received second place, and Jackie Jerome came in third.

In the Adult Division, Kristan Lau-Easton took first place. Second place went to Connie Broussard, and Jennie Stevens with the Imperial Calcasieu Society for Human Resource Management came in third.

In the Professional Division, Benny Gray and Melissa Thibodeaux with Golden Nugget Lake Charles won first place, and Terri Fontenot with Terri Bakes came in second place.

The Best of Show went to Jennifer Kershaw’s Class from J.I. Watson Elementary School for their imaginative approach to the contest and execution of their unique idea. The entry features a gingerbread barn and sugarcane candy-corn farm, complete with gingerbread farm animals that are fenced in by pretzels, and the farm also includes shredded wheat hay bales. 

The gingerbread houses will remain on display throughout the month of December. Residents and tourists visiting the Welcome Center may vote on the “People’s Choice Award.” The winners will be announced Thursday, Dec. 26, at 10 a.m. at the Visit Lake Charles Welcome Center.

For more information on things to see and do in Southwest Louisiana, contact Visit Lake Charles at (337) 436-9588 or log onto