After our night with Merle Haggard we took some time to see some things around Lake Charles' Downtown area. We had never been there before so we thought we might see some interesting things. As I have found, if you take the time you usually will find something that will catch your interest.
Bilbo Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Lake Charles and is located on the east shore of the lake, near the present-day Civic Center. It is located on the site of a former military outpost, Cantonment Atkinson, which was occupied in the late 1820's and early 1830's. In 1832 Thomas Bilbo of Mississippi bought the land and moved his wife, Ann Lawrence, and their children to southwest Louisiana. The former mess hall of the military post, a sturdy log building, served as the family home. Bricks from the old military camp formed the early tombs and markers in the cemetery. The earliest grave in the cemetery, and probably in the town, was that of Margaret Bilbo, the youngest daughter of Thomas and Ann Lawrence Bilbo. However, there is no marker to indicate the exact site of her grave. Another of the Bilbo daughters married John Jacob Ryan, who is often called the "father of Lake Charles". Ryan died on 17 Dec 1899, and is known to have been buried in the Bilbo Cemetery, but his grave is also unmarked.
Although is has been estimated that over 200 pioneer residents of Lake Charles have been buried in the old cemetery, most of the graves were either unmarked or their markers were lost, have deteriorated or were destroyed by vandals. Today only about 20 or 30 marked graves remain. Time, weather, the flooding waters of the lake, vandalism and desecration, in addition to neglect and lack of regular maintenance have all taken the toll on the historic old Bilbo Cemetery and have all but destroyed the graves.
There was a very beautiful church. It had a small grotto that had goldfish. Some of the goldfish had weird tumor like growths on them. It was sad, :(
This is the site of one of old casinos. It was never rebuilt after the hurricane. This is right by the Bilbo Cemetery and next to Veterans Memorial Park.
Veterans Memorial Park
This was one very awesome tree.
As we were driving along the streets to look at some houses we came upon a house that had a beautiful rose garden. The whole front yard was filled with rose bushes! It was so gorgeous. I was just itching to go into the yard and smell some of them and take a few pictures. It was a private home and I would never encroach on someone's private property. As it was time to drive away I saw a small sign.
"Stop And Smell The Roses - Welcome"
I was just invited to visit the garden! We got out and visited every bush. The different smells were amazing. Each rose was labeled with the name. One rose, the Diedre Hall, was the most fragrant of all. Another fragrant one was the Ebb Tide.
I wanted to leave the Rose House a note and tell them thanks for sharing their roses with me. However, I didn't have one single piece of paper with me. I wrote down their address so that I could send a thank you note. As soon as we got home Sunday and I was all unpacked I sat down and wrote a Thank You note addressed to the Rose House. I just wanted to let them know that the sharing of beautiful passions can do wonders on a nice, brisk, Sunday afternoon.
We ended up our weekend at Floyds in Beaumont. We've never had a bad meal there. Their gumbo is to die for. I always wonder what other diners think when they see us taking pictures of our food...