Gators on the Geaux: Where are they now? - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Gators on the Geaux: Where are they now?

SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) -

They're green, mean, and lurk in the waters all around the area, but the alligator isn't just Louisiana's state reptile. It was once a major symbol of Southwest Louisiana, thanks to a fundraiser over 15 years ago called Gators on the Geaux.

Today, the cold-blooded sculptures once seen on every corner are a little harder to find. We enlisted the help of the Little Gator Hunter to help us find them and tell their story.  

Brayden Fruge is our tour guide. The 9 year old in is love with all things "alligator," and when he spotted an old poster of the Gators on the Geaux several years ago, he set out to find them all.

"Right here!" he said, spotting one in the lobby of the Lake Charles Civic Center. "It's got some fireworks on it and an oak tree."

Mobile users, click HERE for more photos.

Each of the gators is uniquely painted. From the glass mosaics on the back of one Clotile, to the bones scattered around the feet of the Gris Gris Gator, each one has its own personality. 

Once upon a time, they could be seen at nearly 70 locations in Southwest Louisiana,

"It was actually implemented in 2001-2002," said Lake Charles Symphony Executive Director Shelly Appleby. "It was designed as a fundraiser for the Lake Charles Symphony and ultimately it did raise over a $150,000."

Over the years, many of the gators have gone to private homes, while others have been brought inside, out of the elements.

"Unfortunately, we've lost several to the hurricanes, either Ike or Rita, and then vandalism," said Appleby. 

It's made the gators harder and harder to find. Fortunately, the expert gator hunter - with the help of his mom - has been able to locate dozens of them.

"The more he saw the more he wanted to see," said Lauren Fruge, Brayden's mom. "I think it's really, really neat. It adds something to the community for someone to see; it makes it interesting."

The renewed interest - some 15 years later - has the Lake Charles Symphony considering reviving and adding to the Gators on the Geaux collection.

"I think that it is very much a conversation that we need to have now, given the amount of economic growth and the new businesses coming to SWLA, not just the expansion of our current industry, but the new businesses," said Appleby. "So really the time is right. If we are going to do it, we need to do it now."

Of course that's great news for Brayden, who says the hunt is not over.

Be sure to follow the Little Gator Hunter on Facebook to keep up with his adventures. 

Check out our map with the current locations of some of the Gators on the Geaux, and help us add to it by sending the location, name, and a picture of the gator to jcorder@kplctv.com or sending a message to Jillian Corder on Facebook.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • BREAKING

    Hay barn fire reported in Jeff Davis Parish

    Hay barn fire reported in Jeff Davis Parish

    Friday, September 22 2017 4:33 PM EDT2017-09-22 20:33:55 GMT
    (Source: Raycom)(Source: Raycom)

    Calcasieu Parish OEP is reporting a serious structure fire in Jeff Davis Parish Friday afternoon.

    The Iowa Fire Department and Jeff Davis Fire Department are responding to a "fully-involved" structure fire at 21242 Clifton Road, said OEP Director Dick Gremillion.

    More >>

    Calcasieu Parish OEP is reporting a serious structure fire in Jeff Davis Parish Friday afternoon.

    The Iowa Fire Department and Jeff Davis Fire Department are responding to a "fully-involved" structure fire at 21242 Clifton Road, said OEP Director Dick Gremillion.

    More >>
  • UPDATE: All lanes of I-10 EB open at Calcasieu River Bridge

    UPDATE: All lanes of I-10 EB open at Calcasieu River Bridge

    Friday, September 22 2017 4:31 PM EDT2017-09-22 20:31:36 GMT
    I-10 EB right lane blocked at bridge (Source: Google)I-10 EB right lane blocked at bridge (Source: Google)

    The right lane of I-10 eastbound is blocked at the Calcasieu River Bridge because of a disabled truck. Traffic congestion is approaching four miles, nearing La. 108.

    More >>

    The right lane of I-10 eastbound is blocked at the Calcasieu River Bridge because of a disabled truck. Traffic congestion is approaching four miles, nearing La. 108.

    More >>
  • Video perfectly captures what Fall feels like in the South

    Video perfectly captures what Fall feels like in the South

    Friday, September 22 2017 4:11 PM EDT2017-09-22 20:11:32 GMT
    (Source: It's a Southern Thing)(Source: It's a Southern Thing)

    It's the first day of Fall in SWLA and if you walk outside right now you definitely wouldn't know it. A video posted by "It's a Southern Thing" Facebook page perfectly puts into perspective what Fall is like here in the South.  When It's "Fall" in the South The video is going viral with 123,000 shares and 2.2 Million views and we understand why. We can totally relate because Fall is our favorite week of the year too. According to 7Stormteam meteoro...

    More >>

    It's the first day of Fall in SWLA and if you walk outside right now you definitely wouldn't know it. A video posted by "It's a Southern Thing" Facebook page perfectly puts into perspective what Fall is like here in the South.  When It's "Fall" in the South The video is going viral with 123,000 shares and 2.2 Million views and we understand why. We can totally relate because Fall is our favorite week of the year too. According to 7Stormteam meteoro...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly