USS Orleck opens to public

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The USS ORLECK NAVAL MUSEUM opened its doors Sunday to the general public and to a highly anticipated crowd. The excitement could be felt in each of the people I spoke with. Below are just some of the highlights.

Christopher Carter was a volunteer with Citgo who came out to help feed the hungry Orleck patrons. With regards to what he's learned, Carter says he now understands about the Orleck's crew, how they lived, and what they ate.

Officials say the visitors were lined up around the fence to get in before the doors were even open.  Sulphur resident, Margaret Cubbage came alone as she says she wanted to see where her husband once served.  Cubbage says her husband was once a signalman.

Being unfamiliar with that term myself, here's what Wikipedia had to say about a Signalman: a person who historically gave signals using flags and light. In modern times the role of Signalmen has evolved and now usually uses electronic communication equipment. Signalmen usually work in rail transport networks, armed forces, or construction (to direct heavy equipment such as cranes). However, many armed forces now use the rank of Signaller instead.

There were a few characters on board today, young Dayton Chapman made us smile with his 1980s reference as that era being his version of "old-time".  War veteran, Elliott Fontenot recounted his days when he served with the Navy during World War II. And teenagers Janet Hatfield, Sydney Dempsey and Ashley Dempsey were having fun admiring how anyone could be content with such tiny bathrooms.

The USS Orleck Naval Museum is expected to be open 7 Days a week closing at 3pm Monday through Friday and closing at 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Don't forget that you must wear closed-toe shoes, that means no flip flops or sandals. For more information, you are encouraged to call: 433-4083  or email