- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - Nellie Lutcher, a rhythm and blues legend and Lake Charles native who died in 2007, is the inspiration behind a proposed cultural district in north Lake Charles.

Representatives from the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance said the district, which will honor the area’s musical heritage, will rehabilitate a historic section of the city, bring job opportunities and attract tourism.

The American Press reports (https://bit.ly/1eOXZNb ) the city council approved on Wednesday an ordinance allowing the city to make an application to the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to establish the district.

Lutcher was born in 1912, and her family’s home was located on Enterprise Boulevard. She learned to play music in Lake Charles and in the mid-1930s moved to California to continue her career. Some of her most well-known songs are “Hurry on Down” and “Lake Charles Boogie.” While the district will bear Lutcher’s name and commemorate her extensive music career, officials said the plan is to shed light on an entire segment of Southwest Louisiana culture.

“We think this could be a generational project that will enhance the quality of life and provide opportunities for economic development for all citizens,” said George Swift, alliance president and CEO.

The cultural district will highlight much of the music the region has been known for, including zydeco, Cajun music and swamp pop. The district will stretch through what officials have identified as under-utilized sections of the city.

“It includes Railroad Avenue from Ryan Street all the way east to Lyons Street. Then it comes down towards First Avenue and includes all the way to Lake Charles High and back up through Louisiana Avenue,” said Eric Cormier, special projects manager and assistant communications director for the alliance. “It encompasses residential, and it encompasses an area that doesn’t have much. We look at Enterprise Boulevard and Railroad Avenue as something that’s virgin territory.”

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Information from: American Press, https://www.americanpress.com


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