Isolated from the main transportation routes during the early 19th century, Lake Charles was a backwater of 500 people when incorporated in 1867. The arrival of the schooners and the railroad integrated it into the corridor between Galveston, Houston, and New Orleans, and Lake Charles grew rapidly after the Civil War. Streams of migrants from Europe, nearby communities in Texas and Louisiana, and northern states moved here and built a booming lumber industry.
Though beset by fires, storms, and floods, the city rebuilt many times, and in the 20th century, Lake Charles and its environs became an important petrochemical center. Today, the city sponsors annual festivals that celebrate its heritage. Lake Charles supports many fine public schools, a regional university, and artistic endeavors of which it is justly proud, including a symphony, a community band, and a variety of choruses, theater associations, and dance companies—all of which are pictured within the pages of Lake Charles.
Highlights of Lake Charles:
• A portion of the profits from the sale of the book will be donated to the Frazar Memorial Library Archives, McNeese State University.
• In addition to a circa 1890 photo of the building that today houses the Pujo St. Café, readers will also be introduced to the man for whom the street itself is named, the Arsene Pujo, who played a pivotal role in Congress in the Progressive Era.
• Included are photos of the Great Fire of 1910, and the history of the many beautiful public buildings designed by the famed New Orleans architectural firm of Favrot and Livaudais that arose from the ashes, many of which still stand, including the courthouse, city hall, and Central School Arts & Humanities Center.
The authors are faculty members at McNeese State University: Janet Allured, professor of history; Jessica Hutchings, assistant professor of library science and reference librarian department head; and Debbie Johnson-Houston, director of Frazar Memorial Library and assistant professor of library science. Images come from the archives of McNeese State University and numerous private collections.
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