Hometown Heroes - Bilbo Cemetery cleanup

Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 3:32 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Hurricanes Laura and Delta really did a number on Bilbo Cemetery in Lake Charles. The historic burial place of John Jacob Ryan, considered the father of Lake Charles, had fallen into disrepair. That’s until last August, when a group of volunteers including veterans, decided to clean it up.

“It was a great joint effort between everybody involved,” recalled Ryan Tyson, a veteran of the Marines and owner of Blackhawk Fencing. “They laid the new walking path with all the stones and rocks. We got all the trees and all the debris. The ground was leveled. It was night and day difference in a one day span of time.”

This week, Tyson and his company took action, replacing the damaged sections of fence with new chain link material.

“It was a joint effort between the SWLA Veterans Association and a few different fence companies. Rivers Fence donated the materials and my company, Blackhawk Fencing, is donating the labor to put it all up. Just out of respect for the veterans, giving them a nicer place to rest that’s not destroyed or torn down and everything.”

Bilbo Cemetery is privately owned, but since the last burials were 60 to 80 years ago, there aren’t any living relatives close by to maintain the site.

“Just aesthetically, it’s pleasing whenever they come and visit their loved ones here or pay their respects to veterans memorialized here, they get to see a nice fence barricading them off in a nice little perimeter.”

So now, Bilbo Cemetery in once again, a respectful piece of lakefront property memorializing some of Lake Charles’ earliest settlers.