Today I turn this space over to Jennifer Vick of West Monroe to tell her story about growing up around Lake D’Arbonne:
“I have plenty of stories about that lake. On the Downsville side about a mile from the lake was where I was born and raised. My dad, Charles Wainwright, and my uncle, Parky Albritton, worked on building that spillway. I have vivid memories of the construction. In the center of the dam was a walkway with no sides all the way through that is about three feet wide, I spent many days playing in there. Those concrete extensions that measure the depth of the lake, you couldn’t pay me now, but at one time my friends and I would use those as a diving board.
In the summer when the water was barely running over the spillway we would swim the entire length of the lake to the Farmerville side and back again. We had no fear!! We would also swim the backside where we would search the entire spillway for the money people threw off
Jennifer Vick with a 1961 newspaper outlining plans for Lake D’Arbonne
the top while making wishes. That’s how we got our summer spending money. The Spillway was a gathering place for all of us kids to meet and swim. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we walked through the woods to get there.
My dad had a fourteen foot aluminum boat with a 20 horse power motor and somewhere found the skis, rope, and life jackets (only then it was one that fit just around our waists). While we didn’t go skiing often on weekends because of too many people, we spent many days on the water during the week. My cousin & I would take turns, skiing from the spillway to the Farmerville bridge then the other would ski back. I can’t tell you how many times we fished the lake all these years. It’s always been a major part of our lives.
I have been fortunate to be well traveled but the spillway remains one of my favorite places. As I got older it was a place to go to get my thoughts together. While I am now a West Monroe gal, my mother still lives in the family home and when I visit I almost always have to go see the Lake. Even now when I turn that curve at the top of the hill I am still in awe of the beauty.
PS – Even when it was Bayou D’Arbonne I can remember going there to fish. Back then if we didn’t catch it, kill it, or grow it, we didn’t eat. To this day I refuse to go fishing. The reason I don’t fish is back then you didn’t have a choice, if you fished, you cleaned it and I hated cleaning those fish. So now my job is usually cooking and cleaning up.”
Thanks for sharing, Jennifer! Got a story you would like to share over the next few months to celebrate D’Arbonne’s 50th birthday? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org