The Fire Walk Script, 1st First Stop: 1911 Memorial Plaza
The story starts like this. It was a sunny, windy and hot April 23, in 1910 in Lake Charles. On the lake, cypress and pine logs floated in corrals waiting for the log wranglers to skid them on land for processing in one of the several sawmills that still operated. Although the height of the timber industry had been some years earlier, lumber was still a big employer in Calcasieu. Indeed, Calcasieu had produced much of the lumber, millwork and shingles that rebuilt Galveston ten years earlier after a great storm devastated that coastal city.
This lakeshore town was also busy with the hustle and bustle of rail. For the last 25 or so years, ever since Lake Charles linked up to New Orleans, Shreveport, Houston and the rest of the United States by rail, traveling to Southwest Louisiana had been much improved. By 1910, three major rail companies operated passenger and freight service out of the city. Prior to the coming of the train, travelers wrote of 8 and 12 day trips just to get to New Orleans. Now by rail it was just a breezy five hours, with as many as twelve trains a day making runs to just New Orleans.