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I'm much much much younger than you John ;), so I can't quite go back all the way to the early 70's. But I remember going to the McNeese basketball games, Harlem Globetrotters, Circus, Gallagher, Rick Springsteen, boxing matches, etc. Although not major events relative to other cities', they made for lasting memories. I think that the Lakefront development will only improve and develop the Civic Center further. Joe Toups has done a great job managing it, and I think that he can continue to grow it with support of new hotels and conferences that will move into the area with the development.

How can we get McNeese Basketball back in the Civic Center? Let's try to do that.

John Bridges

Chris: I had forgotten about the Globetrotters and Gallagher! The hits just keep on coming. I agree Joe Toups and his staff (don't forget Denver Kaufman)do a great job and are always willing to work with groups who rent the civic center. Now that improvements on the way, we should see even more activity.


Oh yes, one of my fondest memories is the night our daughter was crowned Miss Mardi Gras - what a fun time that was - all the Mardi Gras activities we attended was so enjoyable.


My memories of the Civic Center include my high school graduation-Go Wildcats! Class of '74!! Elvis-3rd row seat and I was lucky enough to receive one of his infamous scarves! John Denver, Reba, Grand Funk Railroad, just to name a few as well as a Christmas high school dance, too!


I recall seeing Dolly Parton, The Oakridge Boys, George Jones, and Rita Cooledge, and Bob Hope.


I vaguely remember the Jeanne Dixon prediction. Does anyone remember the date the building was supposed to cave-in?


I remember my mother telling me when the civic center was built that it was going to sink into the lake because it was built on sand and not solid ground. My favorite memories of the civic center were the dance recitals for my daughters,and McNeese graduation.



May 4, 1975

That was the day when Elvis played two -- not one -- of his sold-out concerts!

I was twelve years old at the time. I also remember that the tickets cost a whopping ten dollars a person! I know that because my dad complained about it when he bought them. In fact, a while back, I paid ten dollars a ticket to see our own Elvis-impersonater at one of the local casinos.

I also have many other memories of da "Civic Center," some better than others. Maybe we can construct a new arena in front of the current structure, which in-turn could be gutted and converted into a new convention hall. Just an idea.

John Bridges

James: I remember the Elvis concert. I had classmate who worked at the Sheraton Chateau Charles, where Elvis stayed while he was in SWLA. He came to school the next day talking about how the motel had brought in a special mattress for "The King." I wonder how many of their famous sweet rolls he had delivered to his room?


Actually, I thought the first concert was Sonny and Cher. I remember everyone saying that the Civic Center would collapse again because of the vibrations of the music. My friends and I did go to the concert, and thank goodness, nothing happened. Some of the good bands that played were America, Chicago (2 times), Rare Earth, John Denver, Jackson 5, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, Reba MacIntyre (2 times), and the Carpenters, to name a few. Yes, I also saw Elvis.


i KNEW i wasn't just a paranoid kid. i have scary memories of worrying if the building would sink every time i visited the civic center as a child. even today, i look at the outer "rock" covering and i imagine the sand between the rocks pouring out.....someone must have made a comment about it in the 70's when i was 5 or 6.
as a teen my favorite times were on the grounds during contraband days. now i take my own children to millenium park.

Paula Bray

The Elvis Concert was my first memory, but there are others, too. Does anyone remember "Boogie Bashes" on Friday nights?

Paul Ardoin

Yes I remember when they were building the Civic Center and when it first opened. I was about 13 years old. I think I'm about the same age as John Bridges. The first concent I saw at the Civic Cente was America. It was the first concert I ever went to with my friends and I thought I was a big kid then. I also remeber seeing Alice Cooper there. I remember when the Prien Lake Mall open. That was a big deal when your 13 years old. I use to ride my bike all the way over there and walk around visiting all the stores Pier 1, Montgomery Wards, MaCorry's the Orange Slice J C Penny,s. My fovorite store was Pier 1 with the Black Light posters and all the werid stuff they had in there.

John Bridges

Paula: I remember the "Boogie Bashes"...they were presented by KAOK's "Dave the Mouse."

Paul: Thanks for the "mall memories." I was just talking to my wife the other day and we remembered the "McCrory's" store but couldn't think of the name. If I remember right, they served the best caramelcorn at their snack bar. By the way, I just turned 48 today!

Tracey Quinn

I remember concerts that I attended, Chicago, Reba, Ronnie Milsap, Air Supply, and of course my graduation class of 1978. I remember my first born being in the diaper derby there during contraband days, 23 years ago.

Dennis Thibodeaux

I have many fond memories of rock concerts in the early '70's. The first concert I saw there was a group called Bloodrock. Does anyone remember the gruesome song titled "DOA"? They opened for with Rare Earth. Of course there were the Grand Funk Railroad shows that were so loud I couldn't hear for a week after the show. But my favorite all time was the first ZZ Top concert - where I met my wife. I think the concert was in 1973 or 1974. In November we'll celebrate our 30th wedding anniversery!

P.S. Our last concert was a couple of years ago - ZZ Top playing the last concert in what used to be the Summit in Houston. Of course it's now the HUGE Lakewood church.


DOA was Bloodrock. The first concert after the Guess Who cancelled was Ted Nugent. I think it cost 1 dollar.

Dollie Arsement

I actually saw the beams fall the day that a section of the civic center collasped. I was about 18 and worked at Lakeside National Bank, which is now Wendy's. I was walking across the lobby back to my teller window and one of my co-workers was standing by the glass doors watching the construction crew working. I stopped and we were watching and talking about the progress being made. Suddenly the beams began to fall and we were horrified. Amazingly no one was hurt. Today I work at the Civic Center and I believe that my office is very close to where those beams fell!


I'm 30 years old. I grew up in Welsh and moved to Lake Charles permanently when I started at McNeese in 1993. Living in Welsh, Lake Charles was where we "went out." I've loved all the Mardi Gras things we've attended at the Civic Center. We've also attended a few shows - tools, boats, etc. and those make for a great thing to do on your weekend off from work. I can't believe no one mentioned Hank Williams, Jr. (I saw him at the Civic Center when I was in college, among others.) The concerts used to be something to look forward to, but I haven't seen anything I was interested in available lately. The last event I attended at the Civic Center was a show by comedian Rodney Carrington - he was AWESOME. I wish there were more shows like that; it made for a perfect date night for me and my husband.

Bill Conway

Ah the Boogie bashes! I was Program Director of KAOK when we began them every month with DJ Dave The Mouse (Petrik). Dave dreamed it up and owner Ed Prendergast supported them. I was at AOK twice form late 72-early 74 and agin from July 75 to July 77. I did play by play for the McNeese Cowboys at the Civic Center for many years too. Great fans and teams. Visitors included Robert Parish and Calvin Natt. We did lots at the Civic Center- ZZ top, BTO, War. I spoke with Barry Leff of Beaver Prodcutions and we remembered Freddy LeBlanc.
I am still in radio in San Francisco as PD of KOIT.

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