Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Glimpse of Downtown Lake Charles

We continued our walk around the historic downtown of Lake Charles, LA.

As was traditional with monumental civic buildings, wide stairs lead to the entrance of the Neo-Classical Calcasieu Parish Courthouse.
The entrance is under a colossal Roman-Doric portico, emblazoned with the Louisiana state seal. The courthouse is capped with a copper drum and dome,

The interior has a marble imperial staircase leading to the main courtroom.
Upon entering the second floor courtroom, I took a quick glance at the “business” set-up of the courtroom.

My eyes then took a slow tour of the ornate architecture that surrounded the windows and ceiling.
The windows themselves were unique.

It is indeed unfortunate that construction costs very rarely allow for such decorative architectural details to be included in courtroom design.

The Charleston Hotel no longer functions as a hotel.

The interior consists of a two-story lobby with elaborate tile work and balconies on the upper level.

Walking into the lobby of the hotel whose opening was described as “the most important social event of the year,” I felt a wave of sadness come over me.

Following its opening, the hotel served as the social nexus for Lake Charles during the next several decades, but I wanted to rush through the lobby rather than linger with the discomfort.

I could imagine the beauty of the lobby which featured artisan blue tiles, high beamed ceilings, ironwork and archways,

but the brilliance was missing and the lobby gathering area did not encourage lingering.

The Calcasieu Marine National Bank is a three-story limestone-faced building.
The three bays of the facade are the focal point of the bank's neo-classical exterior, which features three two-story bronze arch windows. A pair of colossal columns are echoed by a pair of pilasters, all adorned with papyrus leaf capitals and egg and dart molding.

The frieze is enriched with medallions depicting the various settlers of the parish, including Indian and Spanish settlers.

The main entrance of the Calcasieu Marine National Bank is also bronze. The double doors are ornamented with lion head pulls.

Various types of molding wrap the doorway. A central medallion, flanked by horns-of-plenty, bears the date of 1928.
This central section is surmounted by a full entablature and a shaped parapet crowned with a prominent eagle, the symbol of Calcasieu Parish.

No comments: