Living History Cemetery Tour

Reenactors will bring local legends back to life

Carol Anne Gayle is playing the part of Ellen Goos Lock. She was born in the Crescent City on March 14, 1849, at the same time that the famous American sculpture, called The Greek Slave, was on display. Like the figure in that sculpture, she was known in life to be gracious even in the face of adversity. She later moved to Lake Charles and married English immigrant Captain George Lock at age 18. Together, they established helped Good Shepherd Episopal Church. The church’s English country architecture reminded George of his own childhood. One of the greatest legacies she left behind is Lock Park in downtown Lake Charles.

Special to the American Press

{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p><strong>Catholic Cemetery</strong></p> <p>• Caretaker: Sue Durio</p> <p>• Mary Ann Kaough Clooney; Reenactor: Amy Brassette</p> <p>• Ozeite Guillory Touchy;
Reenactor: Pam McGough</p> <p>• Paul Pujo;
Reenactor: John Coffman</p> <p>• Miguel Rosteet;
Reenactor: Nic Hunter</p> <p><strong>Bilbo Cemetery</strong></p> <p>• Caretaker: Stephanie Spain</p> <p>• John Jacob Ryan Jr.;
Reenactor: Randy Partin</p> <p>• Thomas Joel Bilbo;
Reenactor: Scott Foreman</p> <p>• Uncle George Ryan;
Reenactor: Cornell Thomas</p> <p>• Margaret Bilbo; Reenactor: Scott Foreman’s daughter</p> <p><strong>Goos Cemetery</strong></p> <p>• Caretaker: Robert Goodson</p> <p>• Katherine Moeling Goos; Reenactor: Amanda White</p> <p>• Capt. Daniel J. Goos;
Reenactor: Erik Jessen</p> <p>• Juan Martinez Pla;
Reenactor: Devan Corbello</p> <p>• Ellen Goos Lock;
Reenactor: Carol Anne Gayle</p> <p><strong>Huff and Thomas Cemetery</strong></p> <p>• Caretaker: Dr. Janet Allured</p> <p>• Earline Ball Carter;
Reenactor: Emily Ashworth</p> <p>• Professor J.E.L. Hoskins;
Reenactor: Brian Pitre</p> <p><strong>Orange Grove and Graceland Cemeteries</strong></p> <p>• Caretaker: Cathy Chapman</p> <p>• Toni Jo Henry;
Reenactor: Jennifer Spees</p> <p>• Maude Reid;
Reenactor: Amy Nyberg</p> <p>• Capt. Adolph Wehrt;
Reenactor: Chad Crain</p> <p>• Hardy Coward Gill;
Reenactor: John Chavanne</p>” id=”dfee1615-df50-44d4-9a3b-2c1e3e026ff8″ style-type=”fact” title=”Here’s who you’ll meet at each stop:” type=”relcontent”}}

An evening spent in a cemetery watching the dead come back to life may sound a bit spooky to some, but don’t expect Friday night’s Living History Cemetery Tour, taking place from 5-8:30 p.m., to be scary at all. Educational, yes. Scary, no.

Attendees will visit historic city cemeteries, where reenactors dressed in period costume will portray notable people from the area’s past beside that person’s final resting place.

Expect to hear from “Father of Lake Charles” John Jacob Ryan Jr., historian Maude Reid and infamous murderess Toni Jo Henry, among others.

Here’s how it will work: At each cemetery, attendees will be greeted by a lantern-toting caretaker.

“That person will give you a short history of the cemetery and tell you about some of the people buried there. Then a tour guide will lead you to the first headstone, where you’ll meet our first reenactor. The process will continue for each remaining reenactor,” said Matt Young with the City of Lake Charles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Each cemetery will take approximately 30 minutes.

Featured cemeteries include Bilbo Cemetery on Lakeshore Drive; Goos Cemetery and Huff and Thomas Cemetery on N. Shattuck Street near Goos Boulevard; Orange Grove and Graceland Cemeteries on Broad Street; and Catholic Cemetery at Common and Iris streets.

Attendees may drive to each cemetery in whichever order they wish. Attendants will assist with parking at each cemetery.

A few practical considerations: It will get dark and mosquitoes may be biting.

“We’re encouraging attendees to apply bug spray before they come and bring a flashlight or use their phone’s flashlight,” said Young.

“One other thing: wear comfortable shoes. You’ll need them at Orange Grove. There’s a three-
minute walk from each headstone to the next there.”

Young said that like many good ideas, the idea for the “Living History” Cemetery Tour came about at a happy hour after work one day.

“Erica McCreedy and I wanted to spotlight some of our historic cemeteries in Lake Charles. Sites like Bilbo Cemetery on the lakefront have such unique and rich history. At the same time, Mayor Nic Hunter, who’s a member of the Catholic Cemetery Restoration Board, suggested shortly after being elected that we plan an event that would reconnect the community with our city’s oldest cemeteries.”

Once the idea was conceived, others quickly got on board with the project. Nearly 175 volunteers have made it happen.

Tickets to the event are $12 and can be purchased at www.cemeterytourlc.eventbrite.com or at the office of the Arts and Humanities Council at Central School Arts & Humanities Center, 809 Kirby St.

On Friday night, attendees can bring their Eventbrite tickets to any cemetery and exchange them for a brochure, which will serve as the ticket into each subsequent cemetery.

Proceeds benefit the Arts Council.For more information, contact Matt Young at 337-375-7373.


Online: www.cemeterytourlc.eventbrite.com

Catholic Cemetery

• Caretaker: Sue Durio

• Mary Ann Kaough Clooney; Reenactor: Amy Brassette

• Ozeite Guillory Touchy;
Reenactor: Pam McGough

• Paul Pujo;
Reenactor: John Coffman

• Miguel Rosteet;
Reenactor: Nic Hunter

Bilbo Cemetery

• Caretaker: Stephanie Spain

• John Jacob Ryan Jr.;
Reenactor: Randy Partin

• Thomas Joel Bilbo;
Reenactor: Scott Foreman

• Uncle George Ryan;
Reenactor: Cornell Thomas

• Margaret Bilbo; Reenactor: Scott Foreman’s daughter

Goos Cemetery

• Caretaker: Robert Goodson

• Katherine Moeling Goos; Reenactor: Amanda White

• Capt. Daniel J. Goos;
Reenactor: Erik Jessen

• Juan Martinez Pla;
Reenactor: Devan Corbello

• Ellen Goos Lock;
Reenactor: Carol Anne Gayle

Huff and Thomas Cemetery

• Caretaker: Dr. Janet Allured

• Earline Ball Carter;
Reenactor: Emily Ashworth

• Professor J.E.L. Hoskins;
Reenactor: Brian Pitre

Orange Grove and Graceland Cemeteries

• Caretaker: Cathy Chapman

• Toni Jo Henry;
Reenactor: Jennifer Spees

• Maude Reid;
Reenactor: Amy Nyberg

• Capt. Adolph Wehrt;
Reenactor: Chad Crain

• Hardy Coward Gill;
Reenactor: John Chavanne

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