The essence of Southwest Louisiana's culture is steeped in timeless traditions and artistic expressions. The Black and Creole community in Lake Charles enriches the region's artistic history, passing down their blended lineage through vibrant art, soulful melodies, and mouthwatering Creole cuisine. From high-energy Mardi Gras parades to dedicated districts, every moment is a celebration of joy and pride. Embrace the past and present as you savor the region's unique offerings, preserving their extraordinary stories for generations to come. This is how you can experience Lake Charles' Black and Creole heritage firsthand:

singer and bongo player at Black Heritage Festival

Black Heritage Festival of Louisiana

For nearly 40 years, the Black Heritage Festival of Louisiana is a multi-day celebration of traditions that enlighten, encourage, and educate the Black and Creole community through festive events and arts like pageants, soul food cook-offs, awards ceremonies, and more. The next festival is scheduled for March 7-10, 2024.

black ladies and children in black attire at a funeral or going to church

Black Heritage Gallery

Located inside the 1911 Historic City Hall & District in downtown Lake Charles, the Black Heritage Gallery is where you can explore rotating exhibits with diverse art forms curated by Black artists. Preserving the heritage of Black Creole communities is a labor of love for historians and local organizations.

plate of food with sausage, boudin, mac n cheese, green beans, and roll from famous foods

Guillory's Famous Foods

The Guillory Family's Famous Foods in Lake Charles is a culinary gem, offering Creole favorites like barbecue, popcorn balls, boudin, and their specialty: soft and spicy cracklin'. Rooted in culture, faith, and family, this cherished generational establishment holds a special place in the hearts of locals.

chicken breast, boudin balls, poboys, burgers, french fries, green beans, cornbread from Leonard's

Leonard's Food Quarters

Leonard's Food Quarters has been a foodie fixture in Lake Charles for three generations and more than 30 years. Their menu consists of Louisiana must-haves and Southern staples, including po'boys, étoufee, smothered meats, fried fish, and old-school breakfast items. Leonard's captures the essence of the region's authentic heritage through its delectable flavors.

nellie lutcher memorial park

Nellie Lutcher's Musical Legacy & Cultural District

Nellie Lutcher, a trailblazing jazz and R&B singer from Lake Charles, possessed a soulful voice that broke barriers during segregation. her impactful contributions led to the recognition of a cultural district in 2016, and new developments like the Nellie Lutcher Memorial Park, which opened in Fall of 2023, showcase her vibrant legacy.

Krewe of Omega Parade 2023

Krewe of Omega Mardi Gras

Founded by influential Black and Creole community leaders, Lake Charles' iconic Krewe of Omega Mardi Gras Parade has been a long-standing Mardi Gras celebration in predominantly Black and Creole neighborhoods for over half a century. This event is traditionally held on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. On episode 36 of Louisiana's Playground, hosts Brady and Jillian spoke with Krewe of Omega member Leo Colquit on the history and influence of the Krewe of Omega parade and how his fraternity Omega Psi Phi continues to promote its legacy.