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Archives: Bill Gabbert Photographs

Downtown mall
​In 1971, Lake Charles created a pedestrian mall on Ryan Street, stretching from Mill Street to Kirby Street. The mall, with brick planters, wooden structures, and play areas, aimed to boost the sagging downtown economy. However, the following year brought the opening of the Prien Lake Mall and the Civic Center complex. Retail stores moved south to the new mall and banks moved closer to the revitalized lakefront area. The downtown mall remained in place through the 1970s, but in 1980 the city began slowly tearing out the fixtures and re-opening Ryan Street to vehicles. 

Downtown, Ryan and Pujo 
​A smartly dressed woman crosses Pujo Street at the intersection with Ryan in downtown Lake Charles. Ca. 1965.

Charleston Hotel lobby
​The busy front desk of the Charleston Hotel. Ca. 1965.

Charleston Hotel trade show
​A business trade show on the second floor of the Charleston Hotel. Ca. 1965.

Steve Cochran
​Hollywood movie star Steve Cochran traveled to Lake Charles at the invitation of Rosa Hart, director of the Lake Charles Little Theatre, to star  in "Detective Story" at the Little Theatre at 312 Bilbo Street. The handsome actor was accompanied by his miniature schnauzer, Ralph. October, 1954.

New Moon Drive-In
An aerial view of the New Moon Drive-In Theater on Highway 14. 

East Broad Street
​Two motorcycle police units escort a car towing a small airplane on East Broad Street past Radford Buick, Neil's Beverage Co., and Moreno's Sheet Metal works. Ca. 1967

Pujo Street
Pujo Street behind the Calcasieu Marine National Bank. Nearby businesses include Terrell Woosley Insurance, Bubard Auto Livery Storage, Hotel Charleston, and the Calcasieu National Bank. Note that traffic flows West to East at this time. Ca. 1965.

Lakefront
This aerial view shows the lakefront before the Civic Center. The shoreline was an eyesore with dilapidated piers and warehouses blighting the landscape. Ca. 1965.

Accident
Gabbert often photographed local events for the Lake Charles American Press. This car accident is one example of his documentary work. Ca. 1965.

Lake Charles Centennial
In 1967 Lake Charles celebrated 100 years as an incorporated city. Here local officials bury a time capsule on the grounds of City Hall. 

Street Dance
Couples square dancing during a street fair, possibly in conjunction with the rodeo. Ca. 1965.

North Beach
The North shore of Lake Charles was the center of downtown outdoor fun. Kids take turns bouncing on a trampoline. Ca. 1965.


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