On April 23, 1910, Lake Charles bore witness to a fire that spread the width of two blocks and a half mile long. The fire started behind a soda shop and the French Opera House on a Saturday afternoon. After raging for four hours, the fire consumed 109 buildings, both commercial and residential, and caused property damage in the amount of $750,000 (in 1910 currency). Some of the commercial buildings that were destroyed included the Courthouse, the City Hall, the St. Claire Hotel, the Catholic Church, its school, the convent and the rectory. Rising from the ashes, Lake Charles was reborn. A noteworthy architectural firm out of New Orleans, Favrot and Livaudais, rebuilt the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse on the same site as the burned building. It was completed in 1912. Other major commissions of the firm include the Lake Charles City Hall, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and the Calcasieu Marine National Bank.
The story of the Phoenix Building cannot be told without first knowing about the fire. After all, the building is meant to be a testament of rising from the ashes! As a nonpracticing lawyer, Richard saw the potential in property located across from the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse. As a member of the Downtown Development Authority, he viewed the site as a prime location for offices. He chose a design for the building that would complement the downtown “building-scape,” while serving as a memorial of sorts for the Great Fire of 1910.
Richard has watched the progress of the Phoenix Building from his second story office window at the Calcasieu Marine National Bank. He had this to say in regards to the new development in Downtown Lake Charles:
“Downtown Lake Charles is like a garden of flowers. Some of the flowers are in full bloom – older than others, yes, but at their peak of beauty. Now that our soil is tilled, we have room for more seeds. We need to develop and grow as a city. The flower of tomorrow is a seed today.”
The building boasts walls of brick, wings of sage and cream stucco, balconies featuring Juliette wrought iron guardrails and arched windows and doors that showcase iron valences. Views from the office windows capture sights of downtown Ryan Street, the Calcasieu Marine National Bank, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, the intersection of Ryan Street and Kirby Street, and the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse. The Phoenix Building is now leasing.
You can learn more about the happenings of the Phoenix Building by visiting us on Facebook, or you can click the below links to learn more about the current tenants:
For long term leasing information contact:
Tommy Eastman, [email protected] 337-478-8530
For event rental information contact:
Ashley Gatte, [email protected] 337-310-0405