LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - 2012 marks Louisiana's two hundredth birthday with the United States. Louisiana's bicentennial celebration kicked off in the lake area this morning with a Partner Breakfast sponsored by the Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The guest of honor at the breakfast was retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore.
Many remember him as being the man responsible for leading the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana through the disasters of hurricane Katrina and hurricane Rita.
Honore's speech touched on areas of improvement for Louisiana, putting education at the top of the list.
"The bicentennial gives us the opportunity to look in the past, take stock of where we are, and use this year to talk about how we improve education," said Honore.
While Louisiana attempts to improve on education, Honore doesn't want residents to forget those who've come before us.
"This our opportunity to celebrate the sacrifice that our forefathers made, those first to get us into the united states and those that have succeeded them in maintaining the freedom of Louisiana and the freedom of the United States of America," said Honore.
Special projects coordinator with the Arts and Humanities Council Erica McCreedy says lake area residents should be expecting several bicentennial and centennial events in the near future.
"It's very important that these events are designed to bolster tourism efforts to bring people into the area and to just celebrate what we have here," said McCreedy.
The Lake Charles area harbors rich history, as do the surrounding areas, like at the old Courthouse Square cemetery in Cameron parish. It dates back to the 1800's and is believed to be the burial site of a pirate who crashed on the shores of Broussard beach.
The celebration will continue with events held periodically throughout the year. There will be several centennial events on April 28, as the lake celebrates the birthdays of the Calcasieu parish courthouse, Central School and the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.
For a full list of events check click here.