Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point Grand Opening

Willie Grace | 4/20/2015, 12:29 p.m.
The new Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point attraction and satellite convention & visitors bureau office in Sulphur is a place ...
Left to Right: Kyle Edmiston, director of tourism, Office of the Lieutenant Governor; Mayor Randy Roach of Lake Charles; Sen. Ronnie Johns; Monte Hurley, chairman of the Creole Nature Trail District; Rick Richard, CVB board; Ryan Bourriaque, parish administrator of the Cameron Parish Police Jury; Evette Gradney, CVB board; Mike Dees, CVB board member and building committee chair; Shelley Johnson, executive director of the CVB; Mayor Chris Duncan; Rep. Mike Danahay; Paul Guillory, Creole Nature Trail Board; Sandy Treme, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Vice President; and Todd Landry, Creole Nature Trail Board. Building committee members not pictured: Gary Cooper, Rob King and Donna Richard.

SULPHUR, La. (April 17, 2015)— The new Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point attraction and satellite convention & visitors bureau office in Sulphur is a place to learn about the nature and traditions of Southwest Louisiana as well as our thriving art community.

The Creole Nature Trail Exhibit

The Creole Nature Trail Exhibit

The facility showcases paintings, drawings, ceramics and multi-medium pieces from artists throughout Calcasieu Parish including Melinda Antoon Cormier, Candice Alexander, Ellen Anthony, Robbie Austin, Julie Dallas, Ali Hay, Susan Hebert, Elton Louviere, Fred Stark and Sue Zimmerman as well as bird prints from the John James Audubon collection.

“Displaying the works of these talented local artists is, in essence, a continuation of the interpretative nature of Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point. The pieces illustrate the artists' creative perspectives on the culture, people, and ‘dwellers’ of Southwest Louisiana,” said Susan Reed, art consultant for the project and Director of the Imperial Calcasieu Museum.

The exhibit space inside Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point is designed to tell a story of the Creole Nature Trail as well as the culture and people of Southwest Louisiana. The Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) teamed up with Split Rock Studios of St. Paul, Minn., to create the interpretive experience.

The demand for visitor services along the western side of the trail became great after Hurricane Rita destroyed the visitor center at the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge nearly 10 years ago.

The exhibits inside Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point fill that need. “The Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau realized the significance of providing an educational experience for visitors who come to the area to immerse themselves in the outdoors and our culture after losing the visitor center at the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge,” said Shelley Johnson, executive director of the CVB.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge staff is excited to share in the opening Adventure Point with our tourism partners. Adventure Point's location, just off I-10 at the Sulphur entrance to the Creole Nature Trail All American Road, makes it the ideal location for birders, crabbers, fisherman, hunters, photographers, hikers and sight seers heading to our National Wildlife Refuges and other destinations to stop and learn more about the area,” said Diane Borden-Billiot, Visitor Services Manager of the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

The outside of the building is nautical in nature with the Gumbeaux Too shrimp boat, primed for a photo opportunity for visitors. Upon entering the center, visitors are greeted by Adventure Guides that are situated at a desk area that resembles a live oak tree in realistic detail. Surrounding the tree and throughout the exhibit space, visitors walk along a roadway path, designed to remind them that the Creole Nature Trail is a driving tour.

Louisiana Music Exhibit in The new Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point

Louisiana Music Exhibit in The new Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point

Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point Exhibits

The entire space has elements that communicate the driving attraction with guardrails, highway signage as well as a gas pump that features three videos:the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, Birds of a Feather and Louisiana Flavors.

Other displays communicate the differences between a marsh and a bayou, with realistic representations of flora and fauna and sounds of nature with birds chirping overhead. In between the marsh and bayou displays, there is a duck blind where visitors can use binoculars to peek through to see the displays, pose for a picture wearing camouflage jackets and boots and wrap their arms around a trusty hunting dog.