Avenue of Flags back on track after theft of poles

KPLC 7News at Six-May 22, 2019- Hometown Hero

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Since the theft of over a thousand flag poles and two trailers, officials with the Avenue of Flags have been busy working to get the display ready for Memorial Day. The stolen equipment has been replaced and the casket flags now have a new, safer storage room.

Veterans Carroll Guidry and Leroy Leblanc are putting the finishing touches this week on the Honor Room. It’s the two and a half year project here at the Avenue of Flags warehouse.

“We built something that’s going to be sealed up very well,” said Guidry. “We’re going to be able to control the temperature and humidity inside the room. So the flags will be preserved.”

The collection of casket flags is now at 1,058. In January, flag poles and trailers from the Avenue were stolen. There have been no leads, but donors have stepped up to replace the equipment.

“Businesses in the area have come forward and helped us,” said Guidry. “We’ve got all the poles replaced now. We’ve got new trailers. In the near future, we’re going to have a building to house the trailers so they can be locked up.”

LeBlanc says he loves walking down the roads of Orange Grove Graceland cemetery to see the flags.

“My wife and I come down the shell drive and these flags are lined up on each side,” said LeBlanc. “We look at it and we’re seeing not only a flag, but I’m seeing a veteran standing there saluting you. That’s touching.”

Volunteers are needed to help set-up and take down the Avenue of Flags this Memorial Day. You’re asked to show up at Orange Grove Graceland Cemetery on Broad Street Monday morning at 6. Volunteers are also need when the flags will be taken down at 4pm.

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