Lake Charles City Council unanimously approves return of carriage rides

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 9:53 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A popular downtown attraction is coming back to Lake Charles. Carriage rides were approved by a unanimous vote at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

J&R Carriages offered carriage rides for many years, but according to the city, the company didn’t return after the hurricanes. Now, Almosta Ranch is taking the reins.

The sound of hoofs pounding the pavement will soon be heard again in Lake Charles. Bill Bolen and his wife have worked for months to secure the proper permits and all that it takes to bring back carriage rides to the Lake Area.

“We had to make sure our mules were safe, and that we had the proper carriages and the proper insurance and permits,” Bolen said. “Carriage rides involve a lot of safety issues, so we wanted to make sure that we were fully competent, and that we had our drivers trained to actually do the job.”

The couple are no strangers to animals, as they own Almosta Ranch in Sulphur. What started as a fun activity at their grandchild’s birthday party became a full time farm operation.

Bolen explains that they chose mules over horses for safety reasons.

“We made sure that they are 10 to 12 years old, because older mules are a lot less skittish and are a lot more calm,” Bolen said. “It’s a whole different story when you’re around vehicles and cars and trucks. We had to make sure they were totally desensitized and ready to go. They are ready, and so are we.”

It’s their years of experience and love for animals that Bolen said they can bring back this activity for everyone to enjoy.

“It’s is a great community and has a lot of history,” Bolen said. “To be able to bring back carriage rides is very rewarding and fulfilling to us, and also, we have a lot of local support from people who want to be able to do that.”

Bolen said they hope to offer carriage rides to the public very soon.

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