Preservationists mark "Lost Landmarks" of Lake Charles - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Preservationists mark "Lost Landmarks" of Lake Charles

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How would you like to visit places in Lake Charles where Fats Domino, Ray Charles and James Brown performed-- or the hotel where  General and Mrs Eisenhower and Jack and Jackie Kennedy stayed...  Or the theater where Houdini did his magic.

The buildings are gone, but the places are now marked for all to see and remember.

As the sun sets Thursday evening, Calcasieu historic preservationists brave the cold for a special occasion-- to unveil markers of great buildings in Lake Charles that, sadly, are no more.  But the markers will remind people of these lost landmarks. Advocate for the historical places, Adley Cormier, laments what has perished.

"They were torn down in the 70s, 80s, 90s because they were deemed irrelevant and unimportant and it's to our great shame that Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana lost these structures," said Cormier.

Yet they place the markers and share treasured stories of the venues-- in part to encourage protection of those that remain.

"Structures such as the historic Calcasieu Marine building. We want buildings to be reused, we want good architecture that can be reused and we lament the loss of these buildings and they are lessons for us to build right, build sustainable and build for the future,"said Cormier.

The markers include Ball's Auditorium, on St. John street, where a trade school helped returning world war two African American veterans get jobs. 

Later: "Balls Auditorium hosted people like Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Tina Turner, the Temptations," said Cormier.

The Majestic Hotel survived the Great Fire of 1910, but was eventually demolished in 1965 for parking.

"The proprietor of the Majestic Hotel, Emma Micci, was great friends with Mamie Eisenhower and she knew hundreds and hundreds of people, guests who stayed at the Majestic.  Jackie Kennedy and Jack Kennedy stayed at the Majestic Hotel.   We had Republicans here as well, and part of the Louisiana Maneuvers, Patton and Eisenhower, stayed at the Majestic,"said Cormier.

And finally, a marker in the 800 block of Ryan where the Weber Building, Miller Building, Paramount and Arcade Theatre once stood.

"The Arcade Theater was the place, the performing place for big acts like Houdini, the Barrymores were on that stage," said Cormier.

They hope remembering what is lost will encourage protection of treasures still standing.

For more on the Lost Landmarks project click here.

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