Monday, December 17, 2012

As an individual who grow up in the cornfields of Northern Indiana, nothing could prepare me for the excitement that is Mardi Gras! Sure, we had our county festival that was plenty exciting with rides, entertainment, food and, my personal favorite, the pig races, but the fair never lasted long enough and the parade was generic and lacking.
This brings me to my first Mardi Gras experience that hopefully you can learn from. I was 21 and lured down to Lake Charles by my future wife. I decided that Mardi Gras season would be the perfect time to leave the mundane behind, and I was right!
During my trip I was treated to the legendary southern hospitality, to the point that people I had just met invited me to my very first crawfish boil! I had never eaten crawfish before and my first impression of everyone going crazy about these little mud bugs was that they were nuts. After my first heaping tray full of the little critters, I could see why everyone was crazy… They were delicious!
As the trip progressed I was able to explore the Mardi Gras Museum which is home to the largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes in the world. It was amazing to see all of these very unique and over-the-top costumes that the Mardi Gras Kings and Queens wear at their balls and parades.
After a while I was introduced to my very first King Cake. For those of us not raised in the Mardi Gras culture, it is a delicious cake that comes in a variety of flavors (my favorite is cream cheese and strawberry) traditional served around the Mardi Gras season. My first bite in the cake offered quite a surprise, a tiny plastic baby! Apparently, there is a plastic baby hidden in the King Cake’s that when found offer the finder certain privileges and obligations, such as buying the next King Cake! What a way to welcome a visitor, shove a toy in his food, don’t tell him about it, and then have him buy the next cake! It was a great bonding experience, but be warned, Baby in Cake!
After the cake fiasco, I was finally lead to my very first Mardi Gras parade, the Krewe of Krewes Parade. This happened to be one of the largest parades in Southwest Louisiana. Starting right before dark the excitement was alive with people who had been camping out all day. I quickly learned this was not your typical parade with marching bands, the crazy little guys who fly around on go carts, and beauty queens. Instead, I witnessed these crazy, raised floats pumping out music and a shower of beads, cups, and plastic coins raining down upon my head! People were excited, waving their hands in the air and yelling “Throw me something mister!” It took a little bit for me bust out of my shell, but I quickly found myself having the time of my life.
So, if you’re looking for something different and exciting that you will remember for a lifetime, try visiting Mardi Gras in Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana!

For more info go to http://www.visitlakecharles.org/mardi-gras/



Friday, November 2, 2012

Down in Southwest Louisiana we like to spice the holidays up a bit and put on a Cajun Christmas! We pack so many events in the season that if they were toys, even Santa might find it difficult to fit all of them in his magical bag!

We kick the season off early with the Kiwanis Christmas Arts & Crafts Show (Nov. 2-4)! Hundreds of expert artisans and crafters display and sell their products to many eager shoppers at the largest art and handicraft fair in Southwest Louisiana. This years’ featured artist is Dianne Christopher with the Picasseaux Art Studio from New Roads, LA. In addition to the usual goodies that you can purchase, this year they have added some rides and activities for the young and young at heart! http://www.visitlakecharles.org/includes/events/index.cfm?action=display&eventID=5615

Santa and one of his elves!
We then await arrival of the Big Man himself! Yes, SANTA! He will be arriving early at the Prien Lake Mall (Nov. 9) to greet all the good little girls and boys and personally take their wish list! In addition to having Ole Saint Nick in person, Children also get to share in the merriment with a story reading and music complemented with cookies and milk! http://www.visitlakecharles.org/includes/events/index.cfm?action=display&eventID=6747

Christmas goodies.
Another one of the shopping highlights of the holiday season is Mistletoe and Moss (Nov. 14-17). A yearly tradition that offers the sights and sounds of festive holiday decorations and entertainment while shopping for Christmas! This year’s market will feature 90 merchants from around the country, showcasing apparel, gifts, and accessories for women, men, and children, specialty foods  and seasonal, as well as year-round, decorative items and home furnishings. http://www.visitlakecharles.org/includes/events/index.cfm?action=display&eventID=5617

If all that wasn’t enough to put you in the holiday spirits then how about making your way over to the Wonderland on Ice (Nov. 17-Jan. 1) at L’Auberge Casino Resort? All throughout the season you can figure-eight your way to happiness and sip on hot coco! Let’s face it, when else can you play on ice in Southwest Louisiana? http://www.visitlakecharles.org/includes/events/index.cfm?action=display&eventID=7178

There are just so many great activities going on this season that one article will simply not do! Be looking for the next one soon! Until then, visit http://www.visitlakecharles.org/cajunchristmas/ for a complete listing of Holiday events happening in Southwest Louisiana!
Friday, October 5, 2012

Every October in Southwest Louisiana, attractions and events get into the ‘Spirit’ of Halloween! This year is no different, and there is even an additional attraction that is sure to please

Lake Charles now plays host to two premier haunted attractions, the USS Orleck and The Lost Hollows. This year the USS Orleck Naval Museum which traditionally houses laser tag has been transformed into the BLUDD VESSEL. One month a year they open up the bowels of the ship to release the horrors trapped within. This year an experiment has gone horribly wrong and for those who climb aboard, sheer terror waits! For more information on prices and schedule visit
http://orleck.org/bludd_vessel.aspx

The Lost Hollows represents a new face on the Halloween scene. The Lost Hollows features two trails, the Spooky Timbers and the Deadly Pines that you can experience every weekend in October. A firsthand experience of these trails lets me assure you that this first year attraction will not disappoint. Without giving to much info away, the Spooky Timbers offers a fun, family-friendly trail for children of all ages that can be revisited throughout the night. For a more heart pounding experience, Deadly Pines winds its way through the woods and into your darkest fears. For more information on prices and schedule visit
http://www.thelosthollows.com/

In addition to these two attractions in the area, there are additional events such as Halloween Costume Parties and Contests, Trunk or Treats, Pumpkin Patches, and Zombie Walk just to name a few. For a list of events visit http://www.visitlakecharles.org/boo/
Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Holly Beach on the Gulf
The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is home to some of the most beautiful, untouched nature Louisiana has to offer. What makes it better is that it has been made conveniently accessible for people to experience for themselves. There are 26 miles of natural beaches that offer a wide range of activities such as swimming, surf fishing, sunbathing, and shelling!

If your interest is shelling or if you have kids that love to comb beaches for treasures, you’re in luck! Southwest Louisiana offers some of the best locations for these nature hunts, if you know where and when to go, and we will help you with just that!

Having Fun on the Beach
When to Shell?
Shelling is generally best at low tide, or up to 48 hours after rough weather has sent waves crashing onto the shore. Click here for a tide chart on the Lake Charles area.

Where to Shell?
All the beaches along the Creole Nature Trail provide great shelling opportunities, but the beaches to the west of Holly Beach, on the Gulf, usually offer the best results as they are the least inhabited. Be sure to look for shells both where waves are currently hitting as well as where they did hit at high tide. The Gulf often leaves its treasures as the high tide slowly recedes.

So what are you waiting for? Click here for our complete Shelling Guide!

Find us on the web www.visitlakecharles.org,  Facebook & Twitter @LakeCharelesCVB.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It’s not hard to find beauty in Lake Charles, particularly if you are interested in history or architecture. Just take a stroll through the Garden District, down Kirby or Pujo to see classic examples of Southern architecture, such as The Arthur L. Gayle House, with its symmetrical windows and colossal Doric fluted columns, complete with balustered balcony.

A beautiful home in the
Historic District of Lake Charles.
Many of the structures and magnificent homes were actually built by carpenters during the lumber boom when the “Michigan Men” came to the area during 1800s. They brought with them the tall and angular style of construction that mirrored the Victorian tastes popular in most of America at the time. This style contrasted with the existing galleried cottages popular in the rest of the State, and it coined the term, “Lake Charles Architecture,” landing the Charpentier Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

While in the area, you may also want to visit the Historic Central School, now serving as home to the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana, Art Associates Gallery, the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, the Lake Charles Symphony, the Children’s Theatre and the Black Heritage Gallery.

While we enjoy the amazingly beautiful places of that era, what will be left for future generations to attribute to our time? We don’t need to venture far from these exquisite dwellings to experience the revitalization of the downtown district. With layers of patterned brickwork and iron streetlamps, not to mention a lively atmosphere with many businesses such as Pujo Street Café, Stellar Beans and Luna Bar & Grill featuring local art on the walls or live music.

The City of Lake Charles wishes to preserve the historical atmosphere of the downtown area, encouraging businesses to restore historic structures and construct new structures that complement the existing architecture.  Examples of this focus on historic preservation include the Charpentier Historic District, 1911 City Hall, and Central School, which serve as artistic and cultural centers for the community.

This seems to present the perfect mesh of old and new, creating a perfect setting for locals and visitors alike.

Quote from: http://www.cityoflakecharles.com/department/?fDD=7-0



Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The summer of music is heating up - already! From the Friday nights of the Downtown at Sundown concert series in Lake Charles now through June 8 to the Party by the Pool Liquid Society concert series at L'Auberge Casino Resort, running every Thursday through August 30. Also, Delta Downs as a Purple Reign Prince Tribute concert coming up on June 2 - back by popular demand! Check out the Caribbean Cove music line-up at the Isle too! Being the home area of Joshua Ledet, there is no doubt that music is in the water and air in Southwest Louisiana. So, before you book your trip, be sure to see who's playing at local night spots. Check our calendar of events, or here is a page of night spot listings!
Friday, April 27, 2012

National Tourism Week!

We're Game to Celebrate at 1205 N. Lakeshore Drive!
Every day is a reason to celebrate! All week during National Tourism Week, May 5-13, we'll have cake and special activities going on, so stop by and see us!

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS!Saturday, May 5, Children's Day:
Join us for Children's Day, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., when the whole CVB will be filled with great activities to do with your kids. Gumbeaux Gator will also be making a guest appearance!

Tuesday, May 8, Restaurant Day:
We will showcase area restaurants, and you can come and sample delicious cuisine! Come to the Lake Charles Civic Center from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. for a variety of the area's finest foods!

If your restaurant is interested in participating in Restaurant Day, click HERE to learn more!

Wednesday, May 9, Hospitality Training
The mission of the "Game On" Hospitality Ambassador Program is to increase awareness of the attractions and tourism products in Calcasieu Parish in an effort to make visitors feel welcome at every turn! Group trainings for all members of the hospitality industry are scheduled at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at SpringHill Suites by Marriott. Click here to learn more!

Friday, May 12, Volunteer Day:

If you're a volunteer in Southwest Louisiana, stop by the CVB from 1-3 p.m. for a special reception just for you! We love our volunteers that help us from day to day, and we'd like to recognize those who also help our area businesses and organizations.

Get in the Game! - e-NEWS!
If you'd like to be kept "in the loop" on the most current events, sign up to receive The Game Plan, an e-newsletter that goes out every two weeks and showcases local events. Click here to sign up.
Monday, March 19, 2012
It's truly been one of those years. Completely amazed at how many new events, concerts and activities are going on in the Lake Charles area at any given moment. You hear "April Showers Bring May Flowers," but looking at the calendar, it's pouring events in April! So, here are some highlights: Kicking off with the Margaret Place 100th Anniversary and Palm Sunday Tour of Homes, visitors and residents can check out these lovely homes and enjoy a Streetcar re-enactment from the trek of the trolley cars 100 years ago. There are Easter celebrations with "The Choice Easter Musical" April 1, 6, & 7, and then, music, music and more music! There is a new series called "Throwback with Jack" at L'Auberge Casino Resort featuring Bag of Donuts, The CheeWeez, and the Molly Ringwalds. All super fun bands. There's also the Louisiana Railroad Days Festival and the Downtown Crawfish Festival. Not to mention, art lovers will adore the Spring Art Walk and Art Battle! The McNeese Banners Series is also in full swing with a variety of international and national acts coming to the area. Foe a complete schedule of events, check www.visitlakecharles.org/events
Friday, February 24, 2012
There are just tons of fantastic things going on in March in Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana. From the ballet and the Symphony joining forces for "The Sleeping Beauty" to B.B. King and other live performers in the area, and let's not forget the McNeese Banners Series which just has whimsical, cultural, powerful acts all the time such as the Rhythmic Circus tap dancing group. I saw them last year, and let me tell you...a-ma-zing!

Ummm, what else? What else? Oh, yeah, the new concert series cranks up. It's called "Live @ the Lakefront." March 16, 23, 30 check out bands playing on the hill at the Lake Charles Civic Center's amphitheatre. For a list of bands and info, check www.visitlakecharles.org/RocktheLake


So, take a look at the March calendar in Lake Charles. And, don't forget to follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/LakeCharlesCVB. We're always letting people know the skinny, 411 and scoop on the cool things to see and do in Lake Charles! Our Twitter handle name is @LakeCharlesCVB or find us on Facebook at "Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana CVB."
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