History People & Places Places St Landry History

Photo From The Past: Plonsky Opera House – Washington, LA

CAROLA LILLIE HARTLEY
Contributing Writer

Photograph courtesy of Tommy Lafleur

The Plonsky Opera House, pictured here in the early 1900s, is from Ophelia Pitre Lafleur’s photo album, owned by Tommy Lafleur. The original opera house/store in Washington, built during the 1800s, was owned by Jacob & Caroline Alexander Plonsky. In 1902, the Plonsky home, store and opera house were among the forty buildings lost in a horrible fire that destroyed the commercial district in the town. The opera house and other buildings were reconstructed following that fire. When Jacob Plonsky died, his son Sam and Sam’s wife Maude took over the business and moved into the family home. Sam was also the postmaster in Washington for a while, and after his death Maude was postmistress.

The Plonsky Opera House was located on the corner of Main and Saizan (now called Dejean) streets in Washington. It was a place where the community gathered for events, celebrations and meetings. On Wednesday, November 21, 1934, a wind storm heavily damaged the opera house. The front of the building caved in when the wind struck. A fire broke out that further damaged the opera house building as well as other town buildings.  J. Austin Perkins purchased the property sometime after that storm and he sold it to the town of Washington in March of 1939. A new Washington municipal building was erected on that property using some of the bricks from the old Opera House. Years later when the new Washington City Hall was built, the old municipal building became the Washington Museum. (Thanks to Connie Plonsky for information she provided to go with this photograph.)