An Evening of Lake Charles History at Historic City Hall
Historic City Hall will host “An Evening of Lake Charles History” on Thursday, November 30, featuring a lecture and book signing by author and historian Adley Cormier. The event will take place in the backdrop of the 150 Years of Lake Charles sesquicentennial exhibition which opened at the end of September and will run through December 30. Doors will open at 5:30 and the program will begin at 6 pm. There will be no admission; proceeds from book sales will benefit the City’s Arts & Cultural programming.
In his recently published book, Lost Lake Charles, Cormier delves deep into Lake Charles’s past to uncover a history that has been lost to time and change. Fires, hurricanes, neglect and progress erased much of Lake Charles’s physical history. The young town was a magnet for pirates and privateers, like the infamous Jean Lafitte, who conducted business at the mouth of what is today called the Contraband Bayou. Michigan Men, creoles and cowboys made their way to the fledgling Louisiana town to start new lives. A great lumber industry shaped the town in the nineteenth century. Streetcars ran routes around the clock seven days a week.
Cormier has researched Louisiana his entire adult life to gain a unique insight of the culture and history of the region. A native of Breaux Bridge and a history graduate of LSU, he has written multiple monographs and articles for journals and magazines. He has appeared on national television, on Louisiana Public Broadcasting and in independent productions to share the area’s unique heritage and culture. He completed a new history of southwest Louisiana for the Chamber Southwest in 2016 and still guides tour groups and journalists. Retired from the department of labor, he and his wife, Melinda Antoon Cormier, live in Lake Charles.
Cormier was also instrumental in compiling information for the 150 Years of Lake Charles exhibition. The entire exhibit committee is expected to be on hand this evening for their insight as well. The exhibition consists of a series of panels outlining the history of Lake Charles. The panels are accompanied by historic objects which have been collected from the community for loan, as well as a slide show and a film.
The director of the arts & cultural center, Denise Fasske, said, “The exhibit has been very successful and popular with field trips, tour groups and individuals. Many visitors have come repeatedly in order to view and read all that is offered. It is surprising how many have stated they did not realize they actually enjoyed history until viewing this exhibit.”
Historic City Hall is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Charlestown Farmers’ Market is open on Bilbo Street behind the center every Saturday 8 a.m.-noon. For more information, please call 491-9147 or visit www.cityoflakecharles.com.