The Friends of Central School, a non profit organization founded to support improvement projects for Central School, is seeking support from the community for its effort to raise money to improve the Central School Arts and Humanities Center.


"Our organization  will be selling commemorative bricks to fund important projects for Central such as a sound and light system for the auditorium, restoration of the historic front doors, and exterior lighting for the grounds, " according to Laura Leach, Chair of the Board.  "Central School has been a significant part of many lives in Southwest Louisiana.  We want that legacy to continue long into the future," Mrs. Leach continued.


Local architect Joe Champeaux unveiled a rendering of how the plaza will look with the commemorative bricks as well as new park benches. 

The 4 inch-by-8 inch bricks will sell for $100 and have two spaces with up to 14 characters on each line for the memorial name or names.

The 8 inch-by-8 inch pavers will sell for $500 and have three spaces of 14 characters each for memorial names.

The benches will sell for $2,500 each and have a plaque with four lines of space for memorial names. The benches will be at the central front entrance.

Donations can be sent to Friends of Central School, P.O. Box 997, Lake Charles, LA 70602. Checks should be made payable to Friends of Central School.

Now 95-years-old, the building was called Third Ward School when the Lake Charles School Board contracted with the New Orleans architectural firm of Favrot and Livaudais to design new school buildings in Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4 on Dec. 20, 1911.

The original Central and High School, built in 1890, occupied the same site.

During the Army maneuvers in Louisiana during the summer of 1941, Central School housed soldiers from the 37th Infantry Division.

The building was operated as a school until 1976, after which the School Board housed administrative offices there.

In 1986, the building was leased to the Calcasieu Arts and Humanities Council. Six years later, under the administration of Mayor Willie Mount, citizens voted a one-half cent sales tax to fund renovations to the then 80-year-old building.

Today, the Central School Arts and Humanities Center houses the Art Associates Gallery, which features exhibitions by local, regional, national and international artists; the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, which features Mardi Gras costumes and memorabilia; the Black Heritage Festival, which is dedicated to the African American culture of SouthwestLouisiana; the Lake Charles Symphony; and the Calcasieu Historic Preservation Society, which promotes the preservation of historic structures.

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