(Self-guided or a step-on tour guide can be arranged for motor coach groups, contact at bottom.)
The romantic history of Lake Charles, involving tales of pirates and buried treasure, begins with the arrival of the first French settlers in the 1760s. The lumber boom, fueled by vast woodlands in the area, was responsible for the rapid growth of the city in the early years, and also for the extensive use of the solid pine and cypress in the construction of the homes in historic downtown Lake Charles.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel or at one of our restaurants, then get ready to stroll down history lane as we take you back to what is known as historic Lake Charles. You can begin with a scenic tour that includes picturesque mansions along Shell Beach drive, Margaret Place and the newly revitalized downtown. Enjoy an extensive historical collection and fine art gallery at the Imperial Calcasieu Museum. Shading the site is the magnificent 300-year old Sallier Oak.
Throughout the tour, you will see such sites as 1911 Historic City Hall. This center features rotating visual arts and cultural exhibits, presentations and festivals. Explore one of the more than 100 cemeteries throughout Southwest Louisiana and learn about the area's rich and diverse history. From rural graveyards in prairies and forest to urban cemeteries, these burial grounds are as unique as the rest of the region. Several sites, such as Bilbo Cemetery in Lake Charles, have been maintained for more than 200 years.
Take a break and enjoy lunch in a quaint café, rich with culture and personality. Then tour the Historic Charpentier District (Charpentier - is French for carpenter). This is a perfect time for the tour guide to give the group an overview of what the historic area has to offer. Enjoy the afternoon touring old Central School. Restored as an Arts and Humanities Center, the former schoolhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the many tenants is the Mardi Gras Museum, which stages the largest display of Mardi Gras costumes in the world. At the Mardi Gras Museum, the CVB can arrange a welcome by the Mardi Gras Revelers, a Mardi Gras costume demonstration, a King Cakes tasting and demonstration as to how the sweet cakes are made.
Finish the evening with a dinner at one of our downtown restaurants highlighting the unique cuisine here in Southwest Louisiana with a welcome by the local chef to give the group that personal touch.
The CVB can also arrange tours in four of the historical churches in downtown Lake Charles to include, Temple Sinai, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Church of the Good Shepherd and First United Methodist Church.
DeQuincy has a colorful history as a railroad town. The DeQuincy Railroad Museum is located at the original train depot built in 1895 at the intersection of two major railroads. A 1913 steam locomotive, passenger car, a caboose and other railroad artifacts are on display.
For more information on group tours, accommodations and travel arrangements, contact: