Hometown Heroes - Avenue of Flags improvements

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 4:06 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - When the Avenue of Flags is displayed later this month, you may notice some improvements, after being damaged by Hurricane Laura. Pieces of the antique wrought iron fence that surrounded the cemetery are now being made available to the public.

The cleanup from Hurricane Laura almost three years ago continues, including at Orange Grove Graceland Cemetery on Broad St. in Lake Charles. Southwest Louisiana’s showcase for the Avenue of Flags was heavily damaged by the 2020 storms. That damage included the old turn of the century wrought iron fence surrounding the historic property.

“The Avenue of Flags is housed here at the Orange Grove Graceland Cemetery, so on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, we put the Avenue of Flags up along the gravel road,” said Ted Harless. “So anything that helps the Avenue of Flags, like grading the roads, repairing fences, trees and so forth, is needed.”

Sara Judson’s family is buried here and appreciates the improvements.

“Our family really has an appreciation for the Avenue of Flags and the history of the Orange Grove and Graceland cemeteries,” said Judson. “So we are really thankful that so many people are wanting to help continue to support the cemeteries, so that other families can enjoy it and learn about the history of Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana.”

Now pieces of the old fence are being sold by the Lake Charles Cemetery Association to help pay for the new one. Joel Davidson’s ancestors are buried here. He knows the historical significance of the property.

“It just blends into downtown and everything we are about preserving history as a community,” said Davidson. “It’s the opportunity for our cemetery to be also a place for people to come, research, and understand the history of our community. It’s overwhelming.”

Those wanting to purchase a piece of the historic fence can contact Ted Harless at 337-309-9455. The Avenue of Flags will be on display on Monday, May 29, 2023. A special Memorial Day ceremony will take place at 9 a.m.