Hopefully, more of old Jennings can be preserved
The Way I See It
by DON WEST
Having grown up and been a member of the community most of my life, I drive down Main Street and see the progress that is being made with the new city hall and I smile. Though government always has its critics, and I certainly can be counted amongst that group, our local governing body is doing a lot to help preserve some of the history of this city and this is commendable.
I can hear the critics now, saying that the city should not be spending all that money when we have streets that need paving; drainage that needs attention; etc., etc., etc. ad infinitum. The critics will always be in place to criticize, but most who do complain are the same ones who rarely lift a finger in support of their community. They are the ones who will criticize the law enforcement, then call upon them when in jeopardy. They will criticize drainage, then throw trash out of the car window and block the gutters. They will blow grass clippings and leaves from their driveway into the street and then complain that the drains are blocked with grass and leaves. Of course, most of us are guilty of criticizing our neighbor while our own back yard needs attention.
However, I smile at the work and anticipate the beauty that will be preserved for many years to come with the preservation of 100-plus year-old buildings that are reminders of our history. Then, I look across the street and see the demise of the beautiful old Heywood building and mourn its loss. Just as when we lost the old railroad depot where my grandfather once was the ticket master, I know that we cannot keep every bit of history. Progress, funding, legal exposure and other circumstances will cause some of the history to be lost. But I cheer the efforts when some can be preserved. The old building that once housed the Calcasieu Bank and Burt Tietje Photography also housed law offices where my mother worked. The Zigler Hotel has been renovated and is now set to be a historical landmark, though it is much younger in age than many of the buildings in downtown though it still has an historical story to tell.
The old More Mileage station is slowly being preserved and its future, though unknown, will hopefully be one more jewel in our crown of history. Our two libraries, the Ardoin’s Drug Store building and the row of buildings across from the Tupper Museum are just some of the places that, if they could speak, would tell of our colorful past. Today’s world of big-box stores and fast-food joints only leave shells and empty food wrappers behind, rarely remaining long enough to establish a history. The need for greed drives them, and community and legacy seem to be absent from their course of action.
So, I’ll hold on to childhood memories and relish the fact that I have played a small part in helping to preserve some of the history. And I’ll hope that future generations will take notice and thank the community leaders for having the foresight to save some of the legacy that is Jennings. Maybe future generations will have greater reason to stay here, raise and educate their children here and add to the history of a great place to live, work and play.
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