As temperatures settled in the mid-90s last Tuesday afternoon, Girard Park's pool buzzed with activity. Two parents and their little girl lounged under a blue-and-white striped umbrella, watching a teen-aged boy do a cannonball off the diving board. The best part: The water was cool and sparkling blue.

On the first official day of summer, June 21, there's no better way to celebrate ' and cool off ' than diving into a refreshing pool of water. Don't have one in the back yard or belong to a health club? Don't sweat it. Lafayette has four public pools around town, and they're all open for swimming at a minimal cost of $2 for adults and $1 for kids.

Three out of the four pools are outdoors and feature diving boards, while the Earl J. Christ Pool at Robicheaux Center on Eraste Landry Road is indoors and open year-round. It's the newest pool, built six years ago, and is also used for water aerobics, high school swim team training and marine survival training. The O.J. Mouton Pool, off Mudd Avenue, is one of Lafayette's oldest, and was just repainted a year ago.

In addition to Girard Park, one of the busiest pools of the summer is the Martin Luther King Pool off Willow Street. It's currently closed for repairs but should open this week. Pool hours are staggered because of a lack of lifeguards (the city is still accepting applications), so the Earl J. Christ and O.J. Mouton pools are open Mondays and Wednesdays and on weekends, while the Girard Park and Martin Luther King pools are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and weekends. All pool hours are 2-6 p.m., and outdoor pools will be open through Aug. 13.

As kids splashed in the Girard Park pool outside his office window last week, athletic programs and maintenance manager Greg Gautreaux remembered his own lazy summer days in the water. "I know when I was a boy, I would spend a lot of the weekend at the Mouton pool," says the 52-year-old Gautreaux. "There was a snowball stand across from the pool, and every day when I'd go swimming I'd leave with a snowball on my bike."


For more info, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 291-8374.

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