In 1957 a group of local businessmen from the Downtown Division of the Lake Charles Association of Commerce (later known as the Chamber of Commerce) formed Lake Charles Contraband Days Inc (later known as Contraband Days Inc) for the sole purpose of developing a program to utilize the Lake Charles areas in recreational and cultural activities and to attract tourists. The group opted for a pirate theme with the LEGEND of Lafitte's Buried Treasure along Contraband Bayou thus the first Annual Contraband Days was held in June 1958 as a one day event with a boat parade, water ski show and boat races. A few years later this group of men formed another organization called the Buccaneers of Lake Charles, Inc and added entertainment by dressing in pirate attire and costume. A "Jean Lafitte" would be selected to lead the buccaneers to "Capture the Mayor and take over the City". Part of the buccaneer group would also dress in "City Militia" attire, armed with real cannons to try to ward off Lafitte & his buccaneers from landing as part of the entertainment.
The Buccaneers of Lake Charles is the primary part of the festivals "pirate themed" entertainment, begins and ends the festivities, and promotes the festival year round.
Contraband Days Inc. is the organization that plans, organizes, and budgets for the festivals events Forty eight years later Contraband Days has grown from a one day to a twelve day festival with close to 100 events.