When Eddie Lewis was growing up in what is now the Nellie Lutcher Cultural District, there was no need to travel outside the neighborhood for anything. “When I was growing up, there were dry cleaners, hotels, restaurants, bars, shoe repair—anything you needed. It was a one-stop-shop.”
So when he decided to open his business, the Foundation House, 20 years later, it was obvious where he wanted to set up shop. He invested his money right back into the neighborhood where he was raised because he could see the potential for growth in the area.
That’s what the Better Block Event on November 8 and 9 is designed to do as well. This event will showcase food, music, and entrepreneurs of the area and reimagining the landscape of the Nellie Lutcher Memorial Parkway—the stretch of Enterprise between Broad Street and South Division Street. Small businesses will set up pop-up shops; live performances will be happening all day and food trucks will park up to offer a variety of food options.
This family-friendly event is designed to inspire both the residents of the area and the city at large to see the potential of the Nellie Lutcher Cultural District. Says Lewis, “Once people can see how it could look and should grow, it will motivate everyone and help them to see the potential in that area.”
This is not the first attempt to bring the Better Block program to Lake Charles. In 2017, Lakeshore drive was treated to the complete street makeover where a bike lane was added to demonstrate what a Better Block could look like. The event was a success and inspired conversation all around the city on ways quality of life can be improved in meaningful ways with just a few simple changes.
That’s what the goal of this most recent event is supposed to be as well. Says Lewis, “It’s like an experiment. We want to see what works and what doesn’t so we can make some real impact on this community.” After the demonstration is complete, local residents will be surveyed to see what businesses and features of the demonstration they’d like to see stick around.
In addition to the Better Block outdoor events, the Foundation House will also host events over the same weekend, including a Zydeco Brunch with live zydeco music and a delicious menu! This portion of the weekend does require tickets, which can be purchased here. The event will feature delicious Cajun and Creole classic dishes in addition to the zydeco tunes.
The Nellie Lutcher Cultural District was designated to bring attention to the significant cultural contributions of Nellie Lutcher. This Better Block demonstration is the natural extension of this goal. By working within the community to highlight the existing businesses and attract new businesses to the area. If you’re interested in participating in the revitalization of one of the most culturally significant areas in Southwest Louisiana, come on out on October 25th and 26th and experience all that the Nellie Lutcher Cultural District has to offer.