I grew up roughly forty-five minutes north of Lake Charles, LA. Since it was the largest city nearby, my parents would often take us down there on the weekend to check out a movie or do a little shopping. We also had relatives in the city, so we would visit with them as well.
As I grew older, Lake Charles became a bigger part of my life. I eventually attended college there and graduated from McNeese State University. While in college and after graduation, I fell in love with the city and its surrounding area. For this reason, I now live about ten miles out of the city limits in a small community that is rural enough to remind me of home but close enought to the action in Lake Charles so that I can quickly get a metro fix.
I've worked numerous jobs in and around the city and have tried to partake in just about everything the area has to offer. When Louisiana is mentioned on television or in other types of media, New Orleans obviously gets top billing. Other major cities mentioned include Baton Rouge and Lafayette, and once in awhile Shreveport also gets a nod. Lake Charles, however, has managed to remain relatively unknown outside of southwestern Louisiana and southeast Texas.
The city and its surrounding area have plenty of things going for them, including the two week long Contraband Days festival that is celebrated every spring in the city and the huge Red, White, Blue, and You celebration held ever Fourth of July. Lake Charles also features the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the state (behind New Orleans). Other festivals and activities that occur yearly include the Cal-Ca-Chew Festival, the Fur and Wildlife Festival, the Marshland Festival, BayouCon (a science fiction and pop culture convention of which I am the vice president of), and the Cajun French Music Association Festival.
On top of all of that, the city and the surrounding area has plenty of nightclubs, dance halls, and a whole lot of places to eat. Everything from Cajun food to Tex-Mex can be found in the area.
Lake Charles is also home to two casionoes and the neighboring city of Vinton is home to Delta Downs Race Track where you can bet on the horses if you wish.
The rural areas surrounding Lake Charles also feature some of the best hunting and fishing in the state, and you're just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico if you want to take in a bit of saltwater fishing. The Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, the largest coastal marsh refuge in the United States, and Holly Beach, are just a car drive south out of Sulphur, a city that borders Lake Charles.
Sports teams in the area include the McNeese State University Cowboys and Cowgirls, who compete in everything from football to soccer, and the Louisiana Swashbucklers, an indoor football team that hosts home games at the Lake Charles Civic Center.
If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of life, but still want a few luxuries within arm's reach, Lake Charles is an excellent city to visit. And if you do ever visit the Lake Charles area, feel free to contact me, I'd be happy to show you around!
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About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot (kfontenot)
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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