LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A film donated to the McNeese State University archives shows an interesting look at life in Lake Charles in the 1950s. It shows the city lakefront before the civic center was built, the old Calcasieu Marine National Bank and several movie theaters like the Lyric, Palace and Delta. They are just a few of the scenes found in a mysterious black and white film shot in 1954.
"It shows a very vibrant, active commercial downtown," said historian Adley Cormier. "It shows a city that was certainly on the grow and Lake Charles seems to be a city constantly on the grow. It's a very positive image of the city."
The old film was purchased at a garage sale in Sulphur. Its origin is unknown. It appears it was used in local movie theatres as an advertisement for local businesses, like Aday Tire Company, started by the father of current owner Brian Aday.
"I was not born until 54, so this video and I are the same age," said Aday. "It just kind of blew me away to see him doing what he was doing. I wasn't even aware of the fact that he sold bicycles in that first location and had no clue he made recaps. Back then, we recapped a lot of tires and that was the way it was."
There are scenes of Lake Charles schools, dry cleaners and dairies.
"Being the son and the grandson of dairymen, I thought it was really interesting that the two dairies at the time were both featured in the piece," said Adley. "That's a time when local farmers milked local cows for local kids to drink."
The film is currently being stored at McNeese, but you can watch it on YouTube any time: