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Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center
Favrot and Livaudais of New Orleans, with Lake Charles architect Ira C. Carter as associate, designed this former city hall, which replaced an earlier building destroyed in a fire of 1910 that devastated much of the city’s downtown. The building is one of the more flamboyant of the firm’s designs. Organized in a symmetrical five-part composition, it rises in stages from low flanking wings to a tall square clock tower in the center of the facade. The dark red-brick exterior is covered with off-white terra-cotta and stucco detailing, including cartouches around the clock, quoins, window moldings and sills, a small balcony over the entrance resting on oversized consoles, and balconies around the open top of the tower. Massive paired wooden brackets beneath the projecting eaves of the red pantile roofs add an Arts and Crafts flavor to the building. All this ornamentation gives the former city hall a presence that outweighs its modest size. Its monumentality is also enhanced by being set well back from the street behind landscaped grounds. Originally the first floor accommodated the city court and mayor's office, and council chambers occupied the second floor. From 1978 to 1999, the building was adapted for use by the city court, after which it was extensively renovated and opened in 2004 as an arts and cultural venue for Lake Charles, a most appropriate use for such an artistically designed structure.
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