Lake Charles, La. is a unique, interesting and deeply cultural place to live and visit.  One of the many things that sets us apart from other cities in Louisiana, is our architecture.  Believe it or not, we didn't have architects in this area until the early 1900's, in spite of the fact that the first French settlers arrived in the 1760's.  The landscape changed greatly thanks to the 1900 lumber boom and led to great growth in Lake Charles, which in turn allowed most of the homes in historic downtown to be built with solid pine and cypress.


The downtown historic neighborhood, known as Charpentier (French for carpenter) Historic District, covers a 40-block radius.  This area of Lake Charles is made up of three districts, Charpentier, Margaret Place and Shell Beach Drive.   The Historic District features beautifully constructed Victorian homes, that reflect the characteristics of their builders or carpenters of the day. These carpenters got their plans using pattern books and combined the designs with their personal style.  The result of their work can still be admired in the homes that still stand today.

The homes feature an eclectic mixture of creative designs, superb detail, intricate woodwork and distinctive columns. Those architectural features were later named "Lake Charles Style Architecture" by Jonathan Fricker, author of Louisiana Architecture.  It was Fricker's recognition that aided in the district being admitted to the National Historic Register in 1990.

Now you can experience the rich history of Lake Charles like never before, plus visit all six cities that make-up Southwest Louisiana at your fingertips with a brand new app for smartphones!  Just go to your Google Play Store or iTunes, search for Lake Charles Historic Tour and download it now.

The Charpentier Historic District smartphone app is FREE and available in multiple languages. This is an interactive app as well, giving you turn-by-turn directions and features 30 minute to 1 hour tours, videos, social media sharing capabilities and much more.  Megan Hartman, senior public relations manager of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitor Bureau said, “Besides learning about our rich history from the tour app, visitors can now capture their own images from the tour to share with others."

Take a self-guided tour of Southwest Louisiana, go back into time to learn more about the carpenter-architects who created Lake Charles.  See what the city looked like before and after the Great Fire of 1910, hear of ghost stories and legends, even create your own Charpentier Historic District virtual postcard to share.