Tag: history

14 Aug 2016

Fearless Finds: W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum  2

Fearless Finds: W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum | bonveillercher.com

Fearless Finds: W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum | bonveillercher.comReady to step back in time? Well we have found just the place to make you feel like you’re back in the early 1900’s! The W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum is a hidden gem in downtown Jennings, Louisiana. Just a block down from the Heywood Building, the museum’s exterior looks like an old storefront, and when you walk through the front doors you’re transported back to 1910 China, Louisiana!

Originally started to supply workers and farmers with goods, the store remained open until 1949 when they left for lunch, locked it up, and never opened it again. Eventually they boxed everything up (and we mean EVERYTHING) and stored it in a warehouse until the grandson donated everything for the creation of the museum in the 1990’s.

Fearless Finds: W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum | bonveillercher.comThe museum is absolutely overfull with old merchandise. Shelves and shelves of medicines, dry goods, fabric, and so much more can be seen, and almost everything still has the original prices posted! They kept everything including the original wholesale catalogs from which the merchandise was bought, so the curators of the museum can actually look back to see when things were purchased and for how much.

There are also some amazing examples of hand-woven Coushatta Indian baskets that were brought in by the Native Americans to trade for goods.

Along with the merchandise, the actual display counters were also brought to the museum. One measures 17 feet long and was brought in one piece! You can also walk through the original store doors.Fearless Finds: W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum | bonveillercher.com

This museum is such a cool find, and it would be a perfect way to get out of the house but still escape the heat and learn about early twentieth century life in small town Louisiana! It’s only $3 for adults and $1 for students, and there is a side room with rotating exhibits as well as the amazing Children’s Telephone Museum in the back portion (stay tuned for a separate post about that!).

Fearless Finds: W.H. Tupper General Merchandise Museum | bonveillercher.comThe museum is open Monday through Friday 9 to 5. For more information check out their website tuppermuseum.com, and we hope you take a trip back in time there very soon!

Keep smiling!Lexi

06 Jul 2016

Huntin’ Gators on the Geaux: Senator Gator  0

Huntin' Gators on the Geaux: Senator Gator |Lake Charles, Louisiana | bonveillercher.com


Look at those lips! Senator Gator is definitely dressed to impress and gain some supporters. She’s just outside the Magnolia Building in downtown Lake Charles with the lake to her back. With her campaign in mind, I’m sure she’d be up for any future photo ops!Huntin' Gators on the Geaux: Senator Gator |Lake Charles, Louisiana | bonveillercher.com

Know of any other Gators on the Geaux hanging around? Comment below or e-mail us at bonveillercher@gmail.com and let us know where to hunt next!


Keep smiling!Lexi



05 Jul 2016

Fearless Finds: Bird City  0

Fearless Finds (1)

If you read a recent post of ours (click here to catch up!) then you know we love exploring Jungle Gardens! One of our favorite spots though is Bird City.

bonveillercher.com (11)The amazing beginnings of Bird City is what really got me excited about it all. The founder of Jungle Gardens, E. A. McIlhenny, started this rookery in the 1890’s to combat local poachers using feathers for hats. He began with just eight baby snowy egrets! When it was time to migrate in the fall, he let them fly; six returned in the spring! And they brought their mates!

Now each year thousands of snowy egrets make their way to Southwest Louisiana each year to nest and raise their young. There is an ideal lookout for visitors to watch the birds, and it’s truly an amazing sight! Its proof what impact a single person can truly have on the world!

For more information about Bird City and Jungle Gardens itself go to junglegardens.org. There you will find hours, attractions, tours, and prices! It’s a great way to spend a sunny summer day as you can drive through in your vehicle, stay in the air conditioning, and make a few quick treks for up-close views! Plus the photo ops are endless!

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Do you have a favorite spot at Jungle Gardens? Please share it with us in a comment below!

Keep smiling!Lexi

03 Jul 2016

Bayou Treasures: The Sallier Oak  0

Bayou Treasures: The Sallier Oak | bonveillercher.com

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 | bonveillercher.com

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 imperialcalcasieumuseum.org.

Keep smiling!Lexi



01 Jul 2016

Bayou Treasures: Saving the Heywood Building  0

Bayou Treasures: Saving the Heywood Building | bonveillercher.com

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 | bonveillercher.com

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 savetheheywood.com 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!

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

Keep smiling!Lexi

25 Jun 2016

Vintage Memories: The Hayes Store  0




Vintage Memories: The Hayes Store | bonveillercher.com


In honor of my dad’s birthday today, we decided to show a different side of him as a young entrepreneur. Here he is photographed with me holding their first dollar at their gas station and convenience store on Highway 14 in Hayes, Louisiana. It was taken in October of 1968 when I was 2 years old!

Do you remember this gas station and store? Please share your memories with us by commenting below or e-mailing us at bonveillercher@gmail.com!


18 Jun 2016

Huntin’ Gators on the Geaux: Ed Drew Gator  0

Huntin' Gators on the Geaux: Ed Drew Gator |bonveillercher.com


This Gator on the Geaux was an interesting find for us because we had no clue who H.C. Drew was until we did a bit of research. Harrison C. Drew was a businessman and state senator at the end of the 19th century who upon his death left half of his estate to provide educational opportunities to the people of Lake Charles. What an amazing gift to the community!Huntin' Gators on the Geaux: Ed Drew Gator |bonveillercher.com

Ed Drew Gator stands in front of the H.C. Drew Estate at 719 Kirby Street in Lake Charles, and the artist is Susan Fuerst.

Send us a comment or e-mail at bonveillercher@gmail.com to tell us about other Gators on the Geaux around town!

Keep smiling!Lexi

16 Jun 2016

Fearless Finds: Jungle Gardens  0

Fearless Finds: Jungle Gardens | bonveillercher.com

When most people think of Avery Island, the Tabasco Factory comes to mind (be on the lookout for a post about the Tabasco Factory in the near future!), but Jungle Gardens is another amazing attraction on the island! Spanning over 150 acres, Jungle Gardens has beautiful foliage, birds, and several interesting historical artifacts, and all can be accessed with your own vehicle and some walking.

Fearless Finds: Jungle Gardens | bonveillercher.com

The amount of photo-ops is endless! From the vast bamboo grove to the numerous enormous live oaks, there are plenty of spots for professional and amateur photographers alike! Whether you need engagement, family, or just children’s pictures, you want some taken at Jungle Gardens!

The most unique sight at Jungle Gardens is the beautiful 900 year old Buddha statue. He sits inside a glass-walled building over-looking a peaceful pond filled with fish. It’s breathtaking!

Fearless Finds: Jungle Gardens | bonveillercher.com

Bird City is another favorite attraction in Jungle Gardens, but we will be writing about it in a separate post in a few days. So stay tuned!

Fearless Finds: Jungle Gardens | bonveillercher.com

With the beautiful sunny days ahead this summer, a drive to Avery Island and through Jungle Gardens is well worth your time! For hours, prices, and more information go to junglegardens.org.


14 Jun 2016

Vintage Memories: Victor Monsour’s “Greo”  0


Vintage Memories: Victor Monsour's "Greo" | bonveillercher.com


Back in the 90’s I worked at Victor Monsour’s studio. One day he came and asked me to follow him because he had something to show me. He led me to the living room of the studio, pointed to a photograph hanging up on the wall, and said “out of all the pictures I’ve taken, that’s my favorite.” That picture was the one you see above featuring my dad and grandfather. It’s titled “Greo” Life of a Trapper and was taken in 1982 in my backyard.

This image was taken from a postcard advertising Victor Monsour’s exhibit “Mystére du Meché” (Mysteries of the Marsh) in 2002 at the Art Associates Gallery. It’s being used again in the cover photo of the next exhibit featuring Victor Monsour’s work’s Facebook event page. 35 Years of Victor Monsour will open in the Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center in Lake Charles on Friday, June 17th. The opening reception will begin at 5:30, and we hope to see you there!


12 Jun 2016

Southern Snapshots: Lady Angie  0





The shrimp boats of Cameron are an art exhibit that everyone needs to see at least one in their lives. Each one is uniquely named and designed to fit each shrimper’s character, and they’re an integral part of the history and culture of Southwest Louisiana. Travel down to the coast and enjoy a day looking at these remarkable boats!


If you’d like to hang “Lady Angie” on your wall, check out CajunKatPhotos to buy your own and see all my other pictures!