On-line sales are now closed. Tour tickets can be purchased at Central School.
Those who purchased tickets on-line are reminded to exchange your reciept for tour tickets at the "Will Call" desk which will be located at Central School.
While at Historic Central School, be sure to take time to enjoy refreshments, the Mardi Gras Tea Room as well as the Mardi Gras Museum. Proceeds benefit the museum.
Souvenir programs can be picked up (one per ticket) at will-call which will be located in Central School.
All of the properties are within one block of Central. It's a one stop, one parking place tour!
Three downtown Lake Charles restaurants are being featured as Palm Sunday Brunch Partners for the 41st Annual Palm Sunday Tour of Homes:
- Restaurant 1910 at 949 Ryan, open 10:30 to 2, reservations at 337-602-6278
- Cotten's Downtown, 110 W. Broad, open for diner-style-brunch 8 to 8
- Momma Reta's Kitchen at 345 Broad Street, open 10:30 to 3 for Sunday lunch.
All three provide select and varied menu options for brunch or Sunday lunch. Tour patrons can chose from these Brunch Partner sites, or may avail themselves of a growing number of brunch restaurants in Lake Charles.
Each Brunch Partner restaurant provides a singular, unique and authentic dining experience: down-home Southern, upscale New American, and even nostalgic diner.
Momma Reta’s Kitchen is located in what was originally a retail block at the corner of Broad and Bilbo. Menu offerings include full-country cooking, special Sunday-lunch style. The building was once occupied by a Western Auto Store and has been successfully converted to a popular eatery downtown. Sunday hours will be 10:30 am to 3 pm, reservations are not required.
Restaurant 1910 is in the coveted corner location of the prestigious Phoenix Building with views of the Historic Calcasieu Courthouse and 1911 City Hall at Ryan and Kirby in the heart of downtown. The restaurant offers a full range of specialty beverages and new American and unique new South delicacies. Sunday hours will be 10:30 am to 2 pm. Reservations are recommended, 337-602-6278.
Cotton’s Downtown occupies the diner space once occupied by Mary Ann’s Café, a long time Lake Charles institution. Owner Kate Cotten energizes her traditional Cotten family recipes with creative spins on traditional diner-style food. Sunday hours will be extended 8 am to 8 pm, to offer pre-tour brunch, post-tour and early supper options. Reservations not required, call for pre-orders 436-9115.
Tour Patrons are asked to identify themselves and show their tour tickets (or online vouchers) for best service at any of the Brunch Partner Restaurants.
Forty-one years ago, the Palm Sunday Tour of Homes was envisioned and begun by three individuals—assisted by many others of course—but essentially the “baby” of Ann Rosteet Hurley, Reid Tyler, and Bill Terry.
At Bill Terry’s memorial service, stories were recounted of how the three “conspired” to showcase houses in what was then called “the Garden District”.
Ann and Reid were locally born and bred, Bill was from Houston. The three saw that this area had an immense inventory of older houses that could be wonderful homes for couples and families.
They saw the beauty and charm in real craftsmanship, front porches, mature plantings, and sidewalks.
They also knew the lure of the new subdivisions drawing people away from traditional neighborhoods.
They concocted a tour in spring, on Palm Sunday when the azaleas would be in bloom, to encourage the public to re-think old houses and prove that they had charm and worth.
Photo by Cissy Guidry during the 2012 Tour of Homes in Margaret Place.
To enhance your tour experience, we offer some suggestions along with the "Rules of the House."
Tickets will be available at each of the homes. You will recieve your program with your ticket. Those purchasing tickets on-line will receive programs at the will-call desk at Central School.
You may start at any of the homes on the tour, and you may choose the order in which you visit the properties.
Docents will admit and assist you in navigating through the property. Should lines be long at one house, consider visiting another house on the tour until the line is not as long.
Please observe the following "Rules of the House":
- We ask that you do not take photographs in any of the properties.
- Please wear comfortable shoes without spike heels which can damage floors.
- Food and drink are prohibited in the houses on Tour.
- No smoking or tobacco use of any kind on any of the private property on tour.
- Please, no baby strollers inside the homes.
- Some parts of the home are private and are not on tour; please respect the homeowners’ wishes and do not ask docents “for a peek” behind closed doors, upstairs, or past ribboned hallways.
- Please be careful when negotiating stairs. Many historic homes have different levels.
Central School, Tour Headquarters
The largest building in the Charpentier-Lake Charles National Register Historic District is Central School, completed in 1912 to replace an earlier school that stood on this block since the mid 19th century. That earlier wooden school faced Kirkman Street.
Both the earlier Central and this building were served by the streetcar system that ran in the City until 1926.
“Central” was part of the “Ward Schools” and served as both an elementary school and a secondary school until the first Lake Charles High School was established on what was then called Boulevard. The other “Ward Schools” served only primary and elementary students and are now gone. The Schools were part of the City of Lake Charles School System until that system merged with the Parish Schools in the 1970’s.
When faced with the real possibility of losing Central School, the citizens of Lake Charles voted to tax sales a quarter-cent temporarily to purchase and refurbish the school into an arts and humanities center. Under the leadership of the late Ben Mount and his wife, the then mayor, Willie Mount, CHPS and an active alumni group found a new purpose for a building that had served the community for 90 years and will continue to educate and enlighten generations to come. Central is one of two arts and cultural centers operated by the City, the other being the 1911 Historic City Hall.
On the ground floor are learning centers, the Literacy Council, community meeting rooms, and a hallway gallery. The main (second) floor is home to the Arts Council, the Art Associates and Black Heritage Galleries, the Symphony office, the Ben Mount Theatre, and the Mardi Gras Museum. The top (third) floor houses active studios for artists, actors, and musicians, and the office of CHPS.
The Mardi Gras Museum on the main floor of Central School has the largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes and artifacts in North America, and focuses specifically on the unique carnival traditions of Southwest Louisiana.
Over 70 local krewes, and hundreds of past Mardi Gras royalty have provided items for display in this ever changing expression of the pre-lenten festivities of balls, pageants, parades, and masking. In addition, the museum explores the rural experience of Mardi Gras, the various “Courirs de Mardi Gras.” These so-called chicken runs, originated in medieval France and evolved into masked riders on horseback (and now on four-runners!) in the prairie settlements dancing for chickens and other ingredients for a community- wide gumbo before the privations of the lenten season.
Housed in the east wing of Central School, the Museum will operate a Mardi Gras Tearoom on Palm Sunday on the main floor where Tour guests may relax between houses and sample king cake and other refreshments in be-jeweled Mardi Gras splendor. Hold on to your tiaras!