The Contraband Corvette Club has had some ups and downs, but has managed to exist in one version of another since 1972. To honor our history and remember our roots, one of the original members of the very first Contraband Corvette Club wrote up this history of the early club days. As the club continues to move forward let’s all remember where we came from and live up to the example set by those early founders of the club.
The Original Contraband Corvette Club History
by Warren Schindler
Prior to July 1972 Lake Charles had never experienced having a Corvette club. A few of us Corvette owners decided that we needed to start a club so we began talking it up and got quite a few people interested. Our first club meeting was July 18, 1972. We decided on a name, which was CONTRABAND CORVETTE CLUB. The club became incorporated for liability purposes and although we were called Contraband Corvette Club we were actually incorporated as the Contraband Corvette Club of Lake Charles, Inc. We were a non-profit with our checking account not being an interest-bearing type. Meetings were set for the first Thursday of each month. A club function of some sort was to be held the last Sunday of each month. At the first meeting officers were elected and we agreed on a logo, the same logo that is presently being used by the current Contraband Corvette Club. Our meetings were held in the meeting room of Cagle Chevrolet on Broad Street. Our yearly dues were $24. Our first Corvette Club check was written on August 8, 1972 and our account was finally dissolved on May 31, 1996. Although the club wasn’t functioning in 1996 we did still have an active checking account. Active in a manner that meant he banks monthly fees finally used up everything we had.
In the early stages of our club we were introduced to some members of the San Jacinto Corvette Club from Houston, Texas. The San Jacinto club had been in existence for quite a long time and offered to guide us into becoming a fun-loving club. We were prompted by them to join the National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) as they were members. NCCC offered benefits such as $1,000,000 of insurance for any function that we held as a club. The yearly dues were $18 per person. Most Corvette clubs belonged to NCCC and there were quite a few NCCC functions throughout the year. The functions most often centered on showing and racing your Corvette. The racing consisted of a course laid out with pylons either in a parking lot or at an airstrip. Chennault airstrip was the scene of some good racing, both autocross and funkhana styles. We also did scavenger hunts where a driver and navigator were used, racing against time. Most of the events between Dallas and New Orleans were attended and entered by some of the members of the Contraband Corvette Club.
Local schools and cities were continually call on us to their parades and homecomings. Periodically our club was a unit entry in the parades and it really looked nice seeing 20 to 30 Corvettes all grouped up together. On occasion the Prien Lake Mall allowed the club to have car shows inside the mall. We would place the cars in the mall on Thursday night for viewing on Friday and Saturday. The cars were actually judged and the mall presented awards. Our main charity was Spina Bifida, and each year we would contribute to help fight this problem.
Some of the earliest members were: Jean Landry, Jim Venable, John Vaughn, Butch Elkins, Warren Schindler, Charles Fontenot, Lloyd Smith, Harry Kleinman, Manuel David, Mike Shell, Gary Peimeaux, Clyde Nelson, Bob Fruge, Randy Hudson, Clyde Nelson, Carl Louviere, Barbara Cormier, Charlene Arnold, Charlotte Comeaux.