Museum History

David R. O'Quinn, Anne G. Monlezun, and the captains of various Krewes initially conceived the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu in the early 90s. Founder of the Krewe of Illusions in 1990, David O'Quinn was well-known for designing oversized and elaborate costumes. Founder of the Krewe de la Famille in 1980 and known as the mother of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana, Anne G. Monlezun was also responsible for starting the Krewe of Krewes organization, the Krewe of Krewes parade and the first Miss Mardi Gras pageants. 

While each worked in the costume design field for their respective krewes, they collectively dreamed of a space to display krewe costumes and history. In 1997, the museum began as a temporary exhibit, expected to be open for six months to a year, and contained enough costumes to fill two classroom spaces in Lake Charles' Historic Central School. The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, filling six classrooms at Central School, opened on January 6th (12th Night) for the 1998 Mardi Gras season until forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Back-to-back hurricanes in Fall 2020 damaged the Historic Central School Arts & Humanities Center, and the building was closed for extensive repairs, necessitating the Mardi Gras Museum to make other arrangements.

From 1998 to the present, the collection has grown to more than 350 costumes on display, with an additional 250 in storage. It is known as the most extensive Mardi Gras costume collection on display worldwide. In addition to costumes, the museum shares the local history of Mardi Gras, from traditional Mardi Gras to the Cajun Mardi Gras, Courir de Mardi Gras, and Washington D.C. Mardi Gras.

The Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau (dba Visit Lake Charles) applied for and was awarded a grant by the Economic Development Agency (EDA) to build a new free-standing facility for the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu. Matching funds for the facility's construction were provided by Visit Lake Charles, the City of Lake Charles, and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. The board of the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu is currently raising funds for exhibits and to operate the facility, which is expected to open in early 2025. The museum will be located at 641 Enterprise Blvd, Lake Charles, LA, in the Historic Nellie Lutcher District and across the street from the Nellie Lutcher Memorial Park.

Mardi Gras Museum Photo Gallery

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641 Enterprise Blvd.
Lake Charles, LA 70601


Visitors with limited mobility are able to use our designated parking area and may easily access the facility by using our wheelchair-friendly pavement. All public areas of the museum are wheelchair accessible.

Free, convenient parking is available for museum visitors.

Board & Staff
  • Anne G. Monlezun – President
  • Randy Lanza – Vice President & Lighting Director
  • Dr. Lee J. Monlezun – Treasurer
  • Brenda Wilkinson – Secretary
  • Lisa S. Smith – Volunteer Director
  • Jana Meaux – Design Director
  • Sybil Irving – Public Relations Consultant
  • David J. Faulk – Museum Director

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