First Licensed Doctor of Calcasieu Parish
Dr. Erastus J. Lyons was born in Calcasieu parish on March 17, 1839, near Eunice on Bayou Plaquemine. Erastus Lyons completed his initial education in public school, then attended school for three years in Jasper, Texas. He returned to Louisiana to attend the University of Louisiana, now known as Tulane University, in 1861. After receiving his M.D. there, he returned to Calcasieu Parish and enlisted in the Confederate Infantry. He served as an assistant surgeon with the rank of captain for eleven months before the people of Calcasieu parish petitioned the Confederate government for his release on the grounds that he was the only resident practicing physician of the parish. He was the first regular physician with a diploma to practice in Calcasieu Parish. After returning from the Confederate Army, he settled in Big Woods settlement and practiced there until moving into the city of Lake Charles in 1879. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, the Knights of Honor, and less secretive societies such as the Louisiana state and Calcasieu parish medical societies.
There was an increase in secret societies after the end of the Civil War. Societies such as the Masons and Knights of Honor had extremely large membership and funds. In the late 1800s, their membership was increasing rapidly. It was very common for members of the community who could afford the fees to be a member of at least one such society. As an active member of the community, Dr. Lyons would have been expected to be involved in at least one such society.
He retired in 1911 after a little more than fifty years of constant practice. He was very active in the community, serving several times on the City Council and once as the parish health officer. The street that bears his name is located in Lake Charles, running north of Interstate 10 to Channel Street.