Lake Charles, Lousiana: Images of my ancestral home

Flashbacks of my childhood wash over me when I think of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Christmas’s, and summer breaks were spent here in my formative years. Memories-Humidity so thick you could drink the air in summertime, walking on my grandmothers seashell driveway barefoot, drawing on her old chalkboard in her kitchen while all my aunts and uncles played cards and drank and laughed and drank some more, visiting my great grandmother’s neighbor Edna to have coke in a rose metal cup and taking candy from her candy jar, swimming in my cousins pool and playing her organ, catching lightning bugs and smacking mosquitos. These are just a few flashes that come to me.

As I drive around the city I haven’t been to in twenty years, I find it so interesting how different things look. Of course, its been twenty years and things have definitely changed with the casinos and all of the building and industry that has moved into the area. But now I see Lake Charles through the eyes of an adult where before it was more like through a child’s eyes. I can so much more appreciate the architecture and the history. The culture is unlike any in the world and I’m just really learning more about it. Here are some images of my fleeting time in my ancestral home, Lake Charles, Louisiana.

 

Hodges Street. Where it all began, way back in 1948, when a future husband to my mama was born. My dad lived with his five brothers and sisters. with his mother and father. in the upstairs apartment….with no air conditioning! I.cant.breathe thinking about this!

They later moved downstairs after my father’s grandparents died.

…an in later years finally got air conditioning in the kitchen.

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It really hasn’t changed that much. Well, except for the palm tree.

Pierce under his namesake family plaque. The plaque features all my aunts and uncles names and the year they graduated from Lake Charles High School. The monument was erected at Lock Park in the center of town.

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Showing off his name proudly!

The great Sallier Oak. It oozes grace and history as it has done for over 375 years. An absolute sight to see.

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The Sallier Oak-Yes it grew back into the ground and then sprung up again. Amazing!

Hunting. They take it seriously in Louisiana. Duck, dear, hog. A true coonass has never met a four legged critter he didn’t want to kill. Little Boober is getting into character at the visitor center museum.

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Little Boober becomes a coonass!

The Church of the Immaculate Conception was where my parents got married and where I was christened. I did not find out about the latter until a few months ago. I never knew I was technically Catholic!

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Lady D Says a prayer.

A visit to my Great Aunt Wanda’s home on Prien Lake. One of the most picturesque places in the area. Our visit was two days before my Aunt Wanda’s 85th birthday which she celebrated by jumping out of an airplane. After which she was quoted as saying,” I’ve decided that if the good lord would have wanted me to fly he would have given me wings!”

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Swinging under the Spanish Moss

The infamous organ that I remember playing still functions in her game room. I remember my Great uncle coming in after hours of my playing and ever so gently turning it off and saying, “Let’s let it rest for a while.”

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Good for hours of noise, ehem, fun!!

My great uncle and his son’s operating on a poor soul together. Uncle BB was a surgeon as is two of his son’s.

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Nothing like bonding over an open chest!

Another view photo from the property. You can see the refineries in the distance. My aunt so positively commented, “But the lights are very pretty at night.”

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Enjoying the industrial view.

We enjoyed our stay in Lake Charles and we managed to see a lot of family that we had not seen in years. We ate crawfish Étouffée and gumbo until we popped and I loved my little trip down Memory Lane.

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Crazy youngins!

Of course, before we left we had to stock up on real cajun sausage that can only be bought in two grocery stores in Lake Charles. Its authentic, and no one makes it anywhere in the world like Market Basket. Mikey likes it so much, we took back 19 pounds. What can I say, he’s a health nut!!

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2 thoughts on “Lake Charles, Lousiana: Images of my ancestral home

  1. Oh my gosh Wendy, what forgotten memories you have stirred in me. You nailed it so perfectly. It’s wonderful that you appreciate your past, the people and places. There are so many things about Lake Charles I still miss. And this month my 50th class reunion that I will not be attending. Thanks for writing about your memories.

    Like

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