Preserving the Past for Our Future
Empire of the Seed is a company that trusts in preserving and regenerating the best of the past while contributing to a clean, sustainable future. The company believes that diversity of ideas leads to a diversity of activities and cultural enrichment that enhances our community. As an umbrella organization, Empire includes preservation of older buildings for adaptive reuse, such as the Lake Charles Calcasieu Marine Bank (originally opened in 1928) and the nearby Cash & Carry building (circa 1936). These two buildings act as the host for creative individuals, functions and projects for the preservation and creation of cultural events. Such events include a farmers’ market, art shows, weddings, social gatherings, and public service development initiatives for Lake Charles’ downtown and lakefront.
Calcasieu Marine Bank
The Calcasieu Marine National Bank, built in 1928, is one of a group of buildings in Lake Charles designed by the noted New Orleans architectural firm of Favrot and Livaudais. This prominent, prolific firm received numerous major commissions beginning in the wake of the Fire of 1910 and continuing through the 1920s. Their extant work includes the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse, the Lake Charles City Hall, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, the Calcasieu Marine National Bank, and various other schools and residences. The Calcasieu Marine National Bank is a three-story limestone-faced building.
Historic Cash & Carry
The Cash and Carry building, or the “Cash Grocery and Sales,” building as it was once known, is a faithfully restored, 9,600 square-foot warehouse built in the 1930s to house what has been described as the “Sam;s Club” for small grocery businesses. Wholesale goods were sold to local businesses; however, it was eventually opened for retail consumers before it was eventually abandoned. Designed by Dunn & Quinn, well known architects who designed nearly 2,000 schools, banks, churches and public facilities, the original plans called for a sturdy, utilitarian building featuring a skylight for light and ventilation.
Capture a time of underground jazz and optimistic growth in Lake Charles with the 1920s Paramount Room, another responsibly revitalized historic property under the Empire of the Seed umbrella. Its essence – and name – is in honor of the city’s elegant Paramount Theatre, and it is located in the shadow of the towering Calcasieu Marine National Bank. What began as an auto garage in the 1920s eventually flourished into one of the city’s most unique event venues while preserving the historic soul of downtown Lake Charles. This mixed use of indoor and outdoor space allows for an intimate, rich setting while connecting directly to the downtown life.