From the outside, it looks just like a normal house. Nonetheless, once visitors step inside they’re greeted with a colorful tribute to someone very special – and the man behind it all is a true romantic who’s now in his 80s.
In 2011 an elderly gentleman from Mississippi lost his wife. His name is Charles Evans, but his nickname had always been “LaLa.” What’s more, he and his late wife, Louise, had enjoyed an extraordinary life together.
When he was young, LaLa was a shoe-shine boy. He visited the cafe opposite for lunch occasionally and that’s where he first set eyes on Louise, who he would later call “Miss Lou.”
According to LaLa, Louise was “bashful” at first, but it wasn’t long before the two became an item. LaLa described the time they met as “love at first sight” when he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016.
The couple subsequently lived a happy life that was full of dancing. Indeed, they nearly made it to 60 years of marriage together. Tragically, however, just one month before that milestone, Louise passed away at home.
LaLa then went on Ellen DeGeneres’ popular daytime talk-show to share his story with the nation. He even described the incredibly poignant moment that his wife died, just after Louise had told LaLa that she loved him.
However, that wasn’t the only reason that he appeared on the show. In addition, he was invited on to share the story of what he did after Louise died. It turned out that the 82-year-old had done something that truly makes the heart melt.
In fact, he decided to create a kind of tribute for his wife in the most appropriate place: their house. Moreover, it was something that he and Louise had actually discussed doing while they were married.
Over their many years together the couple had accrued a huge number of photographs between them. So, LaLa got started hanging them up around the house. HuffPost subsequently described it as a “museum of love.”
In the end, LaLa hung up around 1,000 photos of their happiest times as a married couple. The commemorative space is partly inside the house and partly outside, and both sections are filled to the brim with fond memories.
The walls inside are covered in photographs dating back decades, showing LaLa and Louise when they were young and carefree. Even on the bathroom mirror, there are photos to remind him of the good times.
Then, as visitors step outside there are plenty more sights to behold. In fact, LaLa has decorated the garden with brightly colored umbrellas, windmills and flowers, in a beautiful tribute to his late wife.
He has called the outside area the “Umbrella Grove,” while the memorial as a whole is aptly named “LaLa and Louise Land.” It now acts as a kind of free museum that other people are welcome to enjoy.
What’s more, LaLa was already well-known in his hometown of Starkville, Mississippi. He was a mailman for 30 years, before he became a shuttle bus driver at state university. Now he has opened up his home to those who want to see the vibrant memorial.
His story even touched the hearts of rock band Mutemath, who asked LaLa to appear in their latest music video. In it he is seen dancing around the house and garden, something he and Louise always used to do.
Indeed, dancing is the main theme of the memorial, with many of the photographs depicting the couple strutting their stuff over the years. His favorite image is one of the couple’s last ever dances together, he told Today.
LaLa seems delighted to welcome people into his shrine-like home, something that many people might prefer to keep private. He, on the other hand, clearly feels quite the opposite. “If someone wants to stop by and dance with me around it, I’ll dance with them,” LaLa said.
He explained that soon after his beloved Louise died, he knew that he had to build the tribute. LaLa recalled feeling as though he simply must make their dream a reality, even if he had to do it alone.
It seemed as though the process of creating the shrine has been therapeutic for him, too. Hanging up all the photographs gave LaLa a constant reminder of all the good times. This consequently allowed him to “reflect and say, ‘Wow, we lived,’” he told Today.
LaLa and Louise’s story is a truly heartwarming one that seems to have touched many people around the world. For now, though, LaLa has stopped the building, because as it stands there is enough room for him to dance around and “that’s all that matters.”