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Special Alert

Calcasieu Parish

Calcasieu Parish's rich history, diversified economy, and numerous recreational opportunities, make this area a wonderful place to live and visit. Read More →

Lake Charles History

Where did the name “Lake Charles” come from? Did you know that Lake Charles started as a sawmill town? Read More →

My Southwest Louisiana Home Video

This corner of the state is showered with gifts from natural beauty to nature's bounty. Catch a glimpse of what Lake Charles is all about. Read More →

Celebrating 150 Years of Lake Charles History

Lake Charles, LA Sesquicentennial LogoLake Charles’ sesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the town of Charlestown becoming the city of Lake Charles, will provide opportunities for celebration, reflection and acts of kindness as we come together to commemorate our shared history.

Festivities will include the unearthing of a time capsule, the opening of a historical exhibit and a lakefront parade and celebration – sure to be as colorful as Lake Charles’ story. There are plenty of things about Lake Charles that you may have heard, but have you ever thought about how the historic elements of the city can still be seen today?

Where did the name “Lake Charles” come from? A little-known fact, even to locals is that our city gets its name from a tragically romantic story involving love, jealousy and pirates. The lives of some of the first settlers, Charles Sallier, Catherine LeBleu and pirate Jean Lafitte, have made huge impacts. Catherine Lebleu’s descendants still live in our area today as owners of the popular restaurant Lebleu’s Landing. Charles Sallier’s memory lives on at the Imperial Calcasieu Museum’s 375-year-old landmark, The Sallier Oak. The tales of Jean Lafitte live on with the annual Contraband Days Louisiana Pirate Festival.

Did you know that Lake Charles started as a sawmill town? Several homes within the Charpentier Historic District and the entire downtown was built with this lumber. A fire destroyed nearly everything in the early 1900s. About 30 blocks of the downtown area including the courthouse, city hall and the Catholic Church were all destroyed. It’s known as The Great Fire of 1910. Today to commemorate this part of history, Chef Andrew Green opened 1910 Restaurant and Wine Bar. The restaurant is located in the Phoenix Building, which is also symbolic of Lake Charles’ rise from the ashes of The Great Fire of 1910.

You can learn more about The Great Fire at the 1911 Historic City Hall or by taking a historic tour using the free Lake Charles Historic Tour app. Visit historical sites and explore our heritage with the “Encounter the Past” 2-day itinerary. And make sure you do not miss any of the sesquicentennial events by downloading the Lake Charles Events app. Share your photos and stories by tagging them with the official hashtag, #LakeCharles150 and #VisitLakeCharles. 

 

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