Folks open doors for Palm Sunday Tour of Homes

By Special to the American Press

Five houses along Shell Beach Drive comprise the 38th annual Palm Sunday Tour of Homes 1-5 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

The Shell Beach Drive area of Lake Charles has long been a showcase street for houses and a prime address for influential

and prominent residents.

The Scottish Balmoral-Tudor-style

Walker House at 623 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1927, makes extensive use

of leaded glass,

brick-and-stucco exteriors and intricate slate roofs, and is

noteworthy for the use of art tiles in a Tudor-rose and eglantine

tree-of-life pattern on the main facade. A distinctive feature of

the house is the sweeping gable on the lake side.

In 1984 the Raggio House at 811 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1905, was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. John Raggio who pledged to return

the house to its original look. They reconstructed the wooden porches, replacing the inauthentic concrete porches that had

been installed in the 1930s, and removed the outside metal staircase that provided access to the apartments.

The Reinauer House at 813 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1907, was part of an early Spanish land grant, and in 1907 this particular

lot was bought by John L. Farque who had the house constructed for his new bride. Sue and Jack Watson bought the property

in 1969 and the current owners, the Reinauers, in 1971. The house is a type referred to as a “raised-center hall cottage”

and it was constructed of long-leaf yellow pine and cypress.

The Boyer House at 823 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1947, a brick house with four columns, served the Digiglias and their children

Ellie and J. W. as the family home for nearly 50 years. The elegant, understated interiors and furnishings are the work of

the current owners, Claudia and James Boyer.

The original owners of the Fontenot

House at 1200 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1935, called the distinctive

house “Lake Haven.”

The house is built in the Georgian revival Tidewater style and

occupies an acre lot directly on the lake. The one-and-half

story red-brick structure was built for $11,400. All the wood used

in the house is cypress, except for the white oak and red

oak flooring throughout. The Holleyman’s granddaughter, Nancy, is

married to Wendell Fontenot, and they are the current owners.

Palm Sunday Tour of Homes tickets are

available online from the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society:

Sales outlets include Gordon’s Drugstore on Lake Street and the

Arts and Humanities Council office in Central School. Tickets

are also available during the tour.