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Boogaloo will celebrate museum’s golden anniversary

Last Modified: Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:50 AM

By Cliff Seiber / American Press

The term “boogaloo” means different things to different people, but for supporters of the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, it means “a great big party,” Debbie Reed, museum director, said.

The annual event, celebrating the golden anniversary of the museum, will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 13, at Cash and Carry Events Center, Broad Street and Enterprise Boulevard.

“There will be great music and great food,” Reed said.

The Boogaloo fund-raiser itself will be celebrating its 19th anniversary. It provides from 50 to 60 percent of the museum’s annual operating budget, said Reed, who has been director since 2004.

It is believed that the word “boogaloo” or “bugalú” originated to describe a Latin music and dance style originating in New York in the 1960s. It came to TV in 1970 with the kids’ program, “Boogaloo with the Bugaloos,” a kind of takeoff on “The Monkees,” which in turn was a takeoff on the Beatles.

The name was something the originating committee “just came up with” when planning the first Boogaloo in 1984, Reed said.

The four-piece group Signature – The Band of Lake Charles will play, and seven Lake Charles restaurants and caterers will provide food. Signature plays rock music from the 1960s to New Age rock, so it can be counted on to perform some of the hits from 1963, the year the museum opened.

“Come party with Liz, Dick, and Cleopatra, The Beach Boys, Mickey Mantle, The Pink Panther, or perhaps Puff the Magic Dragon,” Reed said. “Dress as your favorite ‘63 icon or Bond character. (The first James Bond smash hits, “Dr. No” and “From Russia with Love,” came out in 1963.) Costumes aren’t mandatory but sure add to the fun,” she said.

Under the auspices of the Junior League of Lake Charles, Imperial Calcasieu Historical Museum opened at City Hall in March 1963. In December it moved to 1019 Lakeshore Drive, the 1903 stable building that now houses the Junior League. The league gave financial aid, volunteer service and operated museum for three years. In 1966, administration was assumed by the Fine Arts Board of Old Imperial Calcasieu Inc. In 1971, the museum moved from downtown to a new building at 204 W. Sallier, its present site, next to the historic Sallier Oak.

In 1984, the Gibson-Barham Gallery was added to provide additional exhibit space. In the same year, the old John Geddings Gray School building was moved from west Calcasieu and reconstructed as the museum annex, to provide space for smaller events.

“The first exhibit in 1968 was a display of Spanish colonial paintings on loan from the New Orleans Museum of Art,” Reed said. Later there was an exhibition of paintings by Robert Gordy of New Orleans, one of the most influential abstract impressionist in America. To observe the turn of the century, the museum was host of “Treasure Houses: Louisiana Museums for a New Millennium,” a traveling exhibit in 2000-2001 made up of art on loan from museums around the state.

“We’ve had Warhol, Matisse, Miro, Rodrigue and other great names in the art world,” she said.

If you go

• Tickets to Boogaloo cost $40 for Imperial Calcasieu Museum members and $50 for non-members.

They can be purchased at the museum or Gordon’s Drug Store on Lake Street.

There will be food provided by seven Lake Charles restaurants and caterers and a cash bar.

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