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(Rick Hickman / American Press)

(Rick Hickman / American Press)

Houses good enough to eat

Last Modified: Friday, December 21, 2012 4:56 PM

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 system.

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.

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