Category: bayou treasures

03 Jul 2016

Bayou Treasures: The Sallier Oak  0

Bayou Treasures: The Sallier Oak |

If only trees could talk!! This beauty is over 375 years old and is on the registry of the Live Oak Society of Louisiana. It stands behind the Imperial Calcasieu Museum and on the site of Charles Sallier’s winter home. Charles Sallier is Lake Charles’s namesake!

Bayou Treasures: The Sallier Oak |

The tree is so massive; it’s a living miracle! Time has done nothing but strengthened this giant.

With the summer heat beating down on us, you should definitely take a day to explore the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, and before you leave venture out the back door to take in the Sallier Oak. It’s located at 204 West Sallier Street in Lake Charles, Louisiana. For more info on the museum check out the post we did about them last year here. To read more about the museum and the Sallier Oak click through to the museum’s website at

Keep smiling!Lexi



01 Jul 2016

Bayou Treasures: Saving the Heywood Building  0

Bayou Treasures: Saving the Heywood Building |

Have you heard about the Heywood Building? Its fate has been causing a ruckus in Jennings, Louisiana, for the past couple of years. Originally built in the early 1900’s, the building is one of the few remaining from this era left in Jennings.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Dusty Chaisson, one of the individuals behind the project as well as the editor and publisher of the Jennings Rearview and the Events Coordinator for the Jennings Industrial Board, who gave us an amazing in-depth history and plan for the Heywood Building. We are saving that for a more extensive post though! First we wanted to let you all know about the Save the Heywood project and how YOU can help!

Bayou Treasures: Saving the Heywood Building |

The most recent owners of the building donated it to the Jeff Davis Arts Council (JDAC) which is a non-profit organization focused on providing arts-based entertainment and education to the community, and they have decided to use donations to turn it into a space for public use! They’re talking about sitting areas and free wi-fi as well as using the space for exhibits ranging from historical artifacts and private collections to art and productions (anyone interested in some stand-up comedy shows?!). The top floor will provide a much needed office space for the JDAC, too! In the two colored photos you can see construction has already begun!

So what can YOU do to help keep the project going and impact the community of Jennings?! Well a simple jump over to will provide you with an online way to donate as well as an address to send donations to. Plus, if you donate enough, you could get a t-shirt or an actual piece of the Heywood itself!

If money isn’t a possibility for you or you’d like to do even more to help, spread the word! Take to social media platforms and word of mouth to keep the campaign alive and the movement going strong! Also, be alert for volunteer opportunities!! Thanks to the lovely volunteers after one of the walls collapsed, clean-up was quick and cheap! (10)

So please stay tuned to the story as we continue to help Save the Heywood!!

Keep smiling!Lexi

01 Sep 2015

Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau: Stop #4!  0

Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau Stop #4 |

Just past Gumbeaux Gator stands this large cutout of Louisiana that we, of course, had to take pictures in front of! We were just planning on including them in the post about the SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau until I stumbled upon this picture of my mom while looking through a box of old photographs, and I couldn’t believe it looked like the same statue!

Before her freshman year of high school, my mom took a road trip to Colorado, and they took a picture at each state welcome sign. The 1980 picture was taken on the side of road entering Louisiana, but mom is unsure of the exact location.

Does anyone know if this is the original and/or if these were spread across the state at various state lines?

Also, do any of y’all have a picture posing with Louisiana, past or present? We’d love to see them!

Keep a lookout for Stop #5 at the SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau: the Creole Nature Trail Virtual Tour!


30 Aug 2015

Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau: Stop #3 Gumbeaux Gator!  0

Kick off your Cajun adventure at the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitor Bureau in Lake Charles, Louisiana |

Does he still exist? Just outside of the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau is a beautiful topiary of the legendary Gumbeaux Gator. Lexi had never even heard of him, so we saw the topiary as a flashback to my childhood.Kick off your Cajun adventure at the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitor Bureau in Lake Charles, Louisiana | Then lo and behold Lexi goes to the ReALLIEty Challenge, and they annouce that Gumbeaux Gator is in the house. I don’t know about you, but I remember him in the 80’s from his appearances at Contraband Days, festivals, and on billboards and signs all over Lake Charles. He is a true Southwest Louisiana icon, and it’s so great to know he’s still around!

Starting out as Hal the Alligator, he has been around as a mascot and good will ambassador since 1978. His name was later changed to Gumbeaux Gator to reference all the spicy and delicious gumbos our area is famous for. For 20 years Tony Perot was the man in the gator suit, but we are not sure who sports it these days. Any information on the subject would be greatly appreciated!

Also if you have any photos with Gumbeaux Gator, whether it be the topiary one or Kick off your Cajun adventure at the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitor Bureau in Lake Charles, Louisiana | bonveillercher.comthe real one, please send them to us. We would love to post them on our blog!

So keep your eyes peeled for the much-loved Gumbeaux Gator on your adventures around Southwest Louisiana!




24 Apr 2015

Lake Charles 9/11 Memorial  0

Lake Charles 9/11 Memorial |

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve run down the lakefront boardwalk and never knew I had been so close to two actual steel beams from the World Trade Center.

Memorial Point can be seen on the flags hung from the light posts for the stretch of boardwalk surrounding the Lake Charles 9/11 Memorial, and it stands within a wall of concrete and three-thousand colorful mosaic pieces representing the lives lost. In the center is a fountain with the two beams rising from the water, each with a flag attached. It’s beautiful and unreal and sad to be so near to them.Lake Charles 9/11 Memorial |

A few feet away, behind protective glass, is a piece of slab made of limestone from the Pentagon. Inscribed are the names of two locals lost that day, Kevin Yokum and L. Russel Keene II.

The memorial is a lovely tribute to those who died that day and the families they left behind. If you’re a local and haven’t visited yet, go. Make it a priority this weekend. If you’re a tourist in the area, add it to your itinerary. It’s a very humbling sight that all need to experience.



02 Apr 2015

States on Skates Rolls through Cajun Country  0


States on Skates


Have you seen five tall and tanned ladies skating around the back-roads of Louisiana? When I heard about States on Skates, a group of roller derby ladies from Colorado skating across eight states in 78 days to raise awareness for domestic, sexual, and child abuse, I thought to myself, ‘if only I could meet them and write a story for the blog.’ The radio announcer from Big 102.1 out of Lafayette mentioned they were in the Rayne area, but I knew it was a long shot that they’d be anywhere around my small-town Louisiana.

Then Myron comes into the kitchen yesterday and started talking about some ladies on the overpass in Jennings on skates. I turned to him and said “that’s the States on Skates ladies!!” I told him what I had heard about them on the radio and that I wanted to meet them. He told me to grab my camera and get in the truck, and off we went to find them!States on Skates Roll through Cajun Country |

Just as we got to the main drag in Welsh we spotted them! They were stopped at the gas station cattycorner to Grandma’s Garden. These women are amazing. They were super sweet and full of life. I was so excited to talk and take a few pictures with them. They made my day!

Well enough about me, let’s talk about them. They started their trip on March 5, 2015, in Cocoa Beach Florida, and will skate all the way, all 2800 miles, to Santa Monica, California. This they plan on doing in 78 days!! To keep this pace they have to skate approximately forty miles a day, but I noticed on their Facebook page that today they traveled 56.5 miles yesterday alone!

These skaters are on a mission to raise $50,000 for the Joyful Heart Foundation. It’s a non-profit organization working to empower, heal, and educate survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

On their trip, fellow roller derby teams are meeting up to show their support and skate some miles alongside them. The Louisiana teams included Lafitte’s Ladies, Big Easy Rollergirls, Cajun Rollergirls, and New Orleans Brass Roller Derby.

These ladies are so inspiring, setting aside their everyday lives for a cause they are very passionate about. To donate, just go to We did! And keep your eyes peeled for them these next couple days as they finish off Louisiana and head into Texas!



01 Apr 2015

Bilbo Cemetery & the Millennium Statue  0

The Millennium Statue in Bilbo Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana |

Our favorite way to find new and exciting ideas for the blog is to just drive around and see where the city brings us! This is how we discovered the amazing Millennium Statue of Jesus Christ. Once we spotted it through the trees, we had to get a closer look!Bilbo Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana |

The statue is in Bilbo Cemetery on North Lakeshore Drive, situated off to the side of the Lake Promenade. Unfortunately the cemetery itself is rundown and un-kept with long grass and weeds and part of the fence knocked down and even leaning on a tomb, but none of this took away from the beauty of the statue.The grave of John Jacob Ryan, "Father of Lake Charles," in the Bilbo Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana |

It is made of bronze and is fifteen feet tall and is atop an eight foot Labrador green granite base. With a bit of research we discovered the actual name of the statue is “Jesus Christ Our Citizen of the Centuries” and was actually sculpted by a descendant of someone important to Lake Charles and laid to rest in that very cemetery, John Jacob Ryan, Jr., the “Father of Lake Charles!” This artist is Janie Stine Lacroix, and she is from Sulphur.

The Millennium Statue in Bilbo Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana |

Bilbo Cemetery and the Millennium Statue are definite must-see spots! We hope that the cemetery will soon be fixed up to match the greatness of the statue itself!


20 Mar 2015

Following the Louisiana Antique Trail: Rooster’s Antique Market  0

Following the Louisiana Antique Trail: Rooster's Antique Market of Lafayette, Louisiana |
After coming across Rooster’s Antique Market’s Facebook page, we couldn’t wait to make our way to Lafayette to check it out! Then when we got there and discovered the Louisiana Antique Trail brochure, everything just fell together so well, and this blog series was born!
Rooster’s is at 3209 Kaliste Saloom Road in Lafayette, Louisiana, and can be easily found by looking for the giant metal rooster marking its driveway! The market has a collection of vendors with lots of antiques, including furniture, art, collectibles, and many other fun finds. I had to resist buying several different Louisiana wooden signs! They also sell Maison Blanche Vintage Chaulk Paint.
Bon veiller, cher: Following the Louisiana Antique Trail - Rooster's Antique Market in Lafayette. |
Their hours are Wednesday through Sunday 10am-6pm. For more information call 337-216-0513, follow them on Facebook, or visit their website
Stay tuned for our next stop down the Louisiana AntiqueTrail!
18 Mar 2015

Following the Louisiana Antique Trail  0

Bon veiller, cher: Following the Louisiana Antique Trail: Follow along with us as we travel down the Louisiana Antique Trail and discover all the special and unique shops across the state! |
Since I was little, my mom and I have loved antiques and shopping for vintage items. I love finding unique pieces or discovering the stories from the past, and each antique shop is different from last. Looking around one a while back we found a brochure for the Louisiana Antique Trail that listed 95 stores all across the state!! Obviously we knew we had to try and visit each one for the blog! They even have a website devoted to it at!
So keep following along as we share what makes each shop special along the trail!
15 Feb 2015

A Shrimp Boat in Cameron  0

A Shrimp Boat in Cameron -- Join us on our visit with an old shrimp boat and its owner from Cameron, Louisiana. |
The drive down to Cameron is different than when I was young. Now, after the hurricanes, everything has changed. But one thing the hurricane did not take away is the spirit of the shrimper and their heart and soul, the shrimp boat. One shrimp boat in particular caught my eye as we drove down the main drag on our way to the ferry.  It was run-down and rusty but so beautiful. I love that kind of stuff, and I couldn’t wait to see it through the lens of my camera.
As I was snapping pictures of it, a head popped out of the door and gave a wave, and then the door closed. I took a few more photos then noticed a very small statured older gentleman coming down the boardwalk which led from the boat to the land. He came straight up to the truck, and at first I thought he might tell us we had to leave. But all he wanted to do was visit with us. He talked about his daughter going to college in Florida; that he had been a shrimper all his life; that he was born and raised in Cameron; and that the boat I had fallen in love with was his home. I could tell he felt the same way about it that I did the first time I saw it. It started to rain more, and as he turned to walk away he told us we could come by anytime to fish off his dock.
His warmth and friendliness put us at ease as he embodied true southern hospitality. Hurricanes will come and go, but they will never destroy all the beauty and culture of Cameron or the spirit of the Cameron people.