Lake Charles store offers unique Cajun Christmas ideas - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles store offers unique Cajun Christmas ideas

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If you're looking for something "made in Louisiana" this Christmas, you still have a little time to find something, even right here in southwest Louisiana.

"The core thing about 'Eighty-One' is like the eleventh commandment of my childhood, which is 'thou shall not waste,' said Pierre Fontenot, owner and manager.

And waste he does not. 'Eighty-One' is a fairly new store to the lake area, but the values and history behind the idea are not.  

"Everything here is old," said Fontenot. "This is barn wood. This is parts of flooring from an old house in the Garden District. This is a piece of slate roof from a Texas house. And all of it was rough. But we've turned it into something that's past craft and pushing art."

Almost everything at 'Eighty-One' was once tossed aside, that's until Fontenot got his hands on it.

"There are times when I feel like I'm in the 'God spot,' where it's either landfill or I can put a little TLC into it and save it," said Fontenot. "So a lot of this stuff here is literally this is the last shot."

Fontenot takes pride in his Louisiana heritage, and he is proud to display that on many of his pieces. From metal crafted pelicans and alligators, to hand painted signs with Cajun sayings. Fontenot's not ashamed of his Cajun pride. 

Almost everything in the shop is made in the 'back room,' Fontenot's warehouse, full of items in need of just a little tender, love and care.

"We'll take a door and infinitely divide it," said Fontenot. "If we can't save the whole door, we'll subdivide it. This is part of the panel that held a door together." 

Their products include homemade candles, and all of their artwork is hand painted in house.

"I'd say 10-20% of the store you might find somewhere else," said Fontenot. "But the rest is all original here. It's very, very different."

Fontenot says there's a million things you can do for a living, but he wouldn't trade his job for any of them.

"That's the first things God did was create something," said Fontenot. "So it's cool as all get out to wake up and basically you're going to create all day. That's fun."

'Eighty-One' is located at 3507 Ryan Street in Lake Charles. It's open tomorrow between 10 am and 6 PM, to get those last minute special items. 

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