Louisiana Traveler - Wood artist

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Woodcarving is a hobby for many Lake Area residents, but it has turned into a passion for Steve Ensminger of Lake Charles.

I first met Steve Ensminger over a decade ago when I discovered his knack of carving golf balls into entertaining conversation pieces. Now retired from the oil field business, Steve's artistic talent has resulted in beautiful pieces of art carvings and relief drawings.

"It's just a lot of fun, where I can sit and talk and entertain myself with an inexpensive piece of wood," said Ensminger.

He got started after buying an instruction booklet at the mall, carving Santa Claus and other items for his wife. One of Steve's proudest accomplishments is based on a Louisiana Bicentennial poster by St. Thomas More student Katie Atkins, who was 16 at the time.

"She named this project, 'What We're Made Of.' I think that fits. This is Louisiana. A lot of this is Louisiana," he said.

Atkins was awarded an art scholarship to the George Rodrigue school because of her work on the piece.  Steve likes to show his wood-carved version to local students, challenging them to find all the things that make up Louisiana.

"You've got hurricanes, alligators, Superdome. Here's nutria. LSU tiger, a trumpet, saxophones, crabs, oysters, Mardi Gras," he said.

Steve says he's always looking for unique pieces of wood to carve into his next treasure. A treasure so special, it's not for sale.

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