LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Looking at blueprints of the original design for Lake Charles Junior College, it's hard to picture the wide open space that is now McNeese State University. The school, which was later named after local educator John McNeese, was built during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. One of the most iconic buildings on the campus of McNeese State University is Bulber Auditorium. Built in 1939, it was one of the school's three original buildings.
Richard Rhoden is Director of Facilities and Planning at the school.
"The arena, Bulber auditorium and Kaufman Hall were built around the same time," said Rhoden. "The arena originally had no roof on it. It was just an open facility with dirt floors. You'll recall the Shrine Circus, the rodeos, those events that took place. It was just a fun place. Over the years, it's evolved and now it's our student recreation complex."
Bulber auditorium is on the National Register of Historic Places.
"It's got an art deco style. It's the only one of the three that hasn't been changed significantly from when it was originally built and designed."
Bulber has hosted not only hundreds of local events, but national celebrities as well.
"Hank Williams, Brenda Lee, Dwight Eisenhower has actually been here," said Rhoden. "A good many more. More recently Dan Quayle when he was a candidate for vice president. A lot of different groups over the years."
Students and alumni along with community volunteers are being asked to come out Saturday, Oct. 5, for a day of sprucing up around the building.
"The basement of Bulber is much like a garage at your home," said Candace Townsend, McNeese Director of Public Relations. "It just needs to be cleaned out. It has become a place to put things, and we've forgotten they're there. So we'll have a team of folks going through there, helping get those things out."
Volunteers are needed from 8 a.m. until noon, when a free lunch will be served. You need to register ahead of time: https://www.mcneese.edu/events/form/mcneese_to_hold_volunteer_day