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Gators on the Geaux making a comeback

New gator statues will be back up in Southwest Louisiana soon
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 9:33 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The beloved fundraiser Gators on the Geaux is making a comeback in Southwest Louisiana. The original fundraiser was created 20 years ago by the Lake Charles Symphony, and they decided it’s time for another go-around.

The Lake Charles Symphony announced they are doing a second Gators on the Geaux fundraiser. They are now looking for local businesses, sponsors, and artists to participate.

You may remember the gator statues set up around town from their original fundraiser in 2001. Almost 100 hand-painted gators were set up at businesses around Southwest Louisiana.

The outgoing Board President of the Lake Charles Symphony Mike Beer says they are all very unique.

“A wide variety is an understatement of what the gators look like,” Beer said. “After someone purchased the gator they got to design how it looked. For example there’s one outside the boy scout office that’s painted up like a boy scout with the different badges and patches all over it.”

Now, only a few gators remain.

“Some are damaged, some need an update, and some businesses are no longer around, but there’s also a ton of new businesses and industries that might want to have their own gator as well,” Beer said.

These gators are more than just a statue. There is a map of all of the different locations where you can participate in a ‘gator hunt’ to try to find them all.

Michelle Miller, the Executive Director of the Lake Charles Symphony, says many people enjoyed the hunt.

“People visiting from out of town could pick up a map and go around and see all the gators. Even locals could pick up a map and take their kids on a scavenger hunt,” Miller said.

The original mold of the gators was destroyed, but Miller and Beer say the new one will look very similar with just a slightly different body style.

This time around, the symphony is looking for sponsors to help pay for the new mold, businesses that want to purchase their own gator, and local artists who want to paint the creatures and turn the gators into unique works of art.

They do have a goal for the number of gators with a meaning behind it, but they say the more gators, the merrier.

“It’s the 64th season for the classical concert this year, so if we hit that, that would be a good target for us to hit, 65-70,” Beer said.

All of the money raised will go to the Lake Charles Symphony. Beer says they are looking forward to welcoming people back into the symphony to enjoy the wonderful shows.

They are hoping to start renovating and adding new gators at the beginning of next year, but they are accepting participants now.

The first 20 participants will also get an incentive. After packing up their original office following Hurricane Laura, Miller says they found a stack of copies of “Art Across America.”

The specific copies have a feature on the original Gators on the Geaux fundraiser. The first 20 people that sign up to participate in the new fundraiser will be gifted copies of those original books.

If you’re interested in participating, you can visit the Lake Charles Symphony website, or call them at 337-433-1611.

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