Introduction to Lake Charles, Louisiana
Lake Charles is situated along the banks of the Calcasieu River and is the parish seat of Calcasieu Parish. Its notable port is connected with the Gulf of Mexico by a channel. The city is known as "The festival capital of Louisiana" due to hosting more that one hundred festivals and carnivals. Lake Charles is known for gambling, rhythm and blues music and excellent cuisine. The town serves as the major educational center for the southwest portion of Louisiana. The city is a primary petrochemical refining area and features casino gambling. In 2005 Hurricane Rita caused extensive damage.
The first settlers reached the area in the 1760's. In the early days, the major factor for the economy was the timber industry. The city experienced significant growth beginning in 1855 due to the construction of a lumber mill and a schooner dock by Captain Daniel Goos. His schooner was utilized for trading opportunities with ports located in Texas and Mexico.
After the Civil War ended Lake Charles resumed its role as a major lumber provider. Numerous Victorian mansions were constructed from the pine wood produced from the city's mills. The town experienced the destruction of the Great Fire of 1910. When World War II ended the petrochemical refining industry became a significant factor for the economy.
- Central School Arts and Humanities Center
- Imperial Calcasieu Museum
- The Children's Museum of Lake Charles
- Mardi Gras Museum
- Lake Charles Symphony Orchestra
- Historic City Hall
- Bord du Lac Park
- Lake Charles Civic Center
- Margaret Place and Shell Beach Drive
- Louisiana Peace Memorial
- Artisans Gallery
- Black Heritage Gallery
- DeQuincy Railroad Museum & City Park
- Arts Associates Gallery
The Contraband Days festival features Cajun food, activities for families, music and is one of the biggest festivals in the state. The Mardi Gras is also a prominent event. The city hosts a vast number of festivals and celebrations including:
- International Food and Music Festival
- Cajun Music and Food Festival
- Veteran's Day Parade
- Cal-CA-Chew (Calcasieu) Festival
- Marshland Festival
- Southwest Louisiana Christmas Lighting Festival
- Celtic Nations Heritage Festival
The downtown area provides numerous opportunities for dining and enjoying live music and is well known for having a thriving nightlife. Lake Charles is a prominent region for hunting and fishing and features the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Riverboat casinos and horse racing are available. There are numerous locations featuring noteworthy art exhibits. Tourists enjoy visiting the historic Charpentier District which showcases some of the best Victorian architecture in Louisiana. The Lake Charles Boardwalk is located along the lake and is popular for walking and enjoying the views. Sam Houston Jones State Park provides opportunities for camping, fishing and boating.