Houses good enough to eat

By By Cliff Seiber / American Press

A fan of gingerbread houses but daunted at the thought of creating one for yourself? Organize a team.

Winning entries in the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau’s annual Gingerbread House Contest were team efforts.

Entries in the contest are on display at the CVB’s headquarters on the lakefront until Dec. 27, when the winner of the People’s

Choice Award will be announced. Members of the community can vote at the bureau or online.

Court Appointed Special Advocates entered this year for the first time, Ann Bruner, volunteer coordinator for CASA in the

Family and Youth Counseling Agency, said. Its entry won first place in the amateur adult division.

“My job is community outreach, and I

thought this would be a good way to put our name before the public and

to support the

tourist bureau in this community effort,” she said. “It is another

venue for public awareness of our agency.” CASA volunteers

act as special advocates for children involved in the judicial


The organization’s gingerbread house team comprised eight volunteers and two staff members, she said.

“We had meetings for planning the work, and for four evenings, we worked from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

“Gingerbread smells so good, so we were

tempted to sample, and in fact, we were able to nibble some that wasn’t

used in construction,”

she said. “We also sampled the different kinds of candies that

were used in decorating our scene. Of course we kept in mind

that CASA is pronounced as casa, the Spanish word for house,”

All the culinary classes at the Calcasieu Parish School System’s College Street vocational center created houses, working

in small groups, and the three best were entered into the contest, instructor Lorna Albers, said.

“I tried not to give them too many ideas, but I did help them with the construction so they wouldn’t fall apart. I showed

them pictures, and they came up with their own ideas.

“I told them to come up with designs that would be exciting for kids,” she said.

The team that constructed the winning high school division entry comprised Lisa Tower, Shaelin Broussard, Shelby Whitlock,

Austin Doucet, Dillon Credeur, Kelsei Kaogh and Octavia Stevens.

To vote on the People’s Choice Award go to or visit the bureau on the Lake Charles lake front.