War Memorial Civic Center reopens after renovations

<p class="p1">Veteran Carlos Archield recalled memories from his time serving as he looked over military memorabilia housed inside the museum at DeRidder’s War Memorial Civic Center. Officials hosted an open house event at the civic center earlier this week to highlight recent renovations made to the facility.</p>Pamela SleezerBeauregard and Vernon Parish Reporter
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{{tncms-inline alignment="left" content="&amp;lt;p class=&amp;quot;p1&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;strong&amp;gt;‘You can look this stuff up online, but to be able to see in person the gear and the uniforms that someone’s grandparent or great-grandparent wore in those days just makes it that much more real and personal.’&amp;lt;/strong&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt; &amp;lt;p class=&amp;quot;p3&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;strong&amp;gt;Mark Anger&amp;lt;/strong&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt; &amp;lt;p class=&amp;quot;p4&amp;quot;&amp;gt;War Memorial Civic Center board member&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;" id="100adfa9-daad-443d-99e9-de13773ea32c" style-type="quote" title="Pull Quote" type="relcontent"}}

<p class="p1">Officials opened the War Memorial Civic Center in DeRidder Monday evening for a special open house to showcase the latest renovations performed at the historic armed services building. 

<p class="p1">Director Faith Scott said multiple projects have been completed over the past few months, including new flooring throughout the building, as well as complete renovations to restrooms and improvements to the auditorium stage’s lighting and dressing rooms, just to name a few. 

<p class="p1">“It has been a lot of work, but work that myself and the board of directors are proud of and felt that was very much needed and deserved here,” Scott said. 

<p class="p1">The work was funded through a 10 percent property tax approved by voters in 2011. Board member Mark Anger said he felt the board was being “good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars” by utilizing the most they could with those funds. 

<p class="p1">“To be able to have this building here is a great thing for this community. It’s keeping the history of so many local families for future generations to be able to see in person,” Anger said. “You can look this stuff up online, but to be able to see in person the gear and the uniforms that someone’s grandparent or great-grandparent wore in those days just makes it that much more real and personal.”

<p class="p1">Another project Anger said he hoped to see come to fruition in the near future would expand the building’s parking lot around all sides of the building. Scott said because the building is logged on a national registry of historic places, that is the extent of work that can be done to the exterior of the building. 

<p class="p1">Also on Monday, Scott and the board of directors announced that alcohol consumption would now be allowed at events held at the facility. 

<p class="p1">Crowned as the first off-base USO in the nation, the building was opened on Nov. 27, 1941, to provide support to the young men drafted into the military. It was later renamed to honor 47 men from Beauregard Parish who died serving during World War II. 

<p class="p1">Today, the civic center serves as both a museum filled with World War II and Korean War memorabilia, and as a community service building. 

<p class="p1">Scott said the building is utilized throughout the week by a VA representative and out-of-town doctors’ offices, and as a polling place during elections. On weekends, she said that it serves as a popular venue for events and even weddings.

<p class="p1">“Really, this building serves so many purposes to the community and we wish that more people realized just how versatile it is,” she said. 

<p class="p1">Scott said when looking to the future, she hopes she can bring more statewide recognition to the historic building. 

<p class="p1"><strong>‘You can look this stuff up online, but to be able to see in person the gear and the uniforms that someone’s grandparent or great-grandparent wore in those days just makes it that much more real and personal.’</strong>

<p class="p3"><strong>Mark Anger</strong>

<p class="p4">War Memorial Civic Center board member

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