SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA IS A COMMUNITY OF DIVERSE PEOPLE AND INDUSTRIES.
Exemplified by downright southern hospitality, the fun and friendly atmosphere is coupled with a variety of activities and opportunities which will make your temporary, or permanent visit, to the area a great experience.
The area offers individuals and families a variety of choices as to where and how to live. It provides numerous services geared towards education, health, safety and enjoyment. An upward trend continues to be seen in the area's economy. Employment figures, total wages paid, taxable retail sales, and other economic indicators are on the rise. The cost of living in the area is below the national average, based on the American Chamber of Commerce Researcher's Association Report for 2013.
A unique and interesting blend of deep-south tradition, French-Acadian, English and Indian heritage, the area offers a multitude of activities, opportunities and experiences which makes Southwest Louisiana a great place to live, work and enjoy life.
The population of Southwest Louisiana is over 295,925. It is comprised of Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Beauregard and Jefferson Davis.
Calcasieu Parish is the center of the area with a population of 192,768. The City of Lake Charles is the financial, medical and entertainment center of the parish, with the major industry and workforce located within the metropolitan area. Other cities in the area are DeQuincy, Iowa, Sulphur, Vinton and Westlake.
Located on a strip of land that was unclaimed by the Spanish nor part of the Louisiana Purchase, Calcasieu Parish was originally comprised of all five parishes that make up Southwest Louisiana. Over the years, the parishes were broken off, but the region has remained unified in purpose and spirit since its settling. Calcasieu, which means "crying eagle" in English, is said to have been the name of an Attakapas Indian chief who gave a peculiar cry like an eagle as he went into battle.
The chemical and refining industries have long been the "bread and butter" of the Parish's and region's economy. These industries continue to expand while the economy of the region diviersifed due to the development of industrial areas through the Port of Lake Charles (34 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the shortest distance of any deep water port in Louisiana) and the Chennault Industrial Airpark (960 acres of land with buildings and aircraft hangars served by paved streets and utilities). With the approval of gaming in Louisiana, Calcasieu Parish has become the hub of a new gaming industry with multiple casinos which has significantly increased the number of available jobs and revenue for local governments.
Lake Charles is the home of McNeese State University, a four-year, fully-accredited institution which offers courses in liberal arts, commerce, science, agriculture, and engineering. Sowela Technical Community College, also located in Lake Charles, is one of Louisiana's largest vocational schools and is nationally recognized for its fine training program.
Miles of rivers, streams, and lakes offer excellent fishing, boating and swimming facilities. Two inland sandy beaches, one located on Lake Charles and the other located on Prien Lake, provide leisure opportunities for families. Duck, goose, dove, snipe, quail, rabbit, and squirrel are hunted in season. Sam Houston Jones State Park with an area of 1,220 acres is located on the West Fork of the Calcasieu River in the northern area of the parish, and offers boating, fishing, and camping. (information provided by the Calcsieu Parish Police Jury)
Allen Parish, created in 1912, is one of the newest parishes in the state. It is covered by dense forest and has rich agriculture as well as cattle and timber production. Comprised of the towns and cities of Elizabeth, Kinder, Oakdale, Oberlin, Reeves and the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, it has a population of 25,526. Its parish seat is Oberlin.
Diverse in culture and plentiful in natural resources and beauty, Allen Parish is where Cajun food and culture meet the timber-rich, piney woods of central Louisiana. Allen Parish is home to four natural and scenic Rivers, including the spring-fed Ouiska Chitto, which attracts canoeists and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the South. Near Kinder, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana operates the state’s premier land-based casino resort, The Coushatta Casino Resort, and nationally ranked 18-hole champion golf course, The Koasati Pines Golf Course. The gaming and hospitality industries, along with a plywood manufacturing facility, three prison facilities, and a natural gas relay facility are the major private sector employers in the parish. Allen Parish also hosts a 24-hour airport located just four miles south of Oakdale off Highway 65. Allen Parish has some of the most fertile farmland in the South, producing primary rice and soybeans.
Forestry and livestock are thriving enterprises in primarily rural Beauregard Parish. Comprised of the towns of DeRidder, Dry Creek, Fields, Longville, Merryville, Singer, Sugartown and Ragley, it has a population of 35,784. Its parish seat is DeRidder.
Situated atop one of the largest aquifers in the world, Beauregard Parish is home to such industries as paper, plastics, and chemical production as well as insurance providers. Located just minutes away from major industries, the Beauregard Parish Airport boats a 5,495-foot runway and the largest land area in the state and ranks as one of the largest in the nation at 4,200 acres. Beauregard Parish is a transportation link between the air and the ground intersected by major U.S. Highways 171 and 90. There are abundant opportunities for nature lovers with its lakes, wildlife preserve and natural scenic beauty. Just north of the parish is Fort Polk, the state’s largest military installation and home to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC).
Cameron Parish, Southwest Louisiana’s largest parish based on land area, is almost entirely Gulf marshland. Its economy is based on oil, natural gas, agriculture, fishing and trapping. The coastal town of Cameron has been the nation's leading commercial fishing port. The towns of Hackberry, Grand Lake, Grand Chenier, Johnson Bayou, Klondike, and Creole comprise the rest of the parish. It has a population of 6,841. Its parish seat is Cameron.
The beautiful natural scenery of Cameron Parish is something not to be missed. In fact, it is the home of the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, and the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. Cameron’s plentiful flora and fauna attract over 200,000 visitors each year, from nature lovers looking for native critters like alligators to photographers wanting to catch a breathtaking sunset or nautical scene, to bird watchers eyeing the vast variety of species found here, to beachcombers enjoying the shoreline. The parish has a total area of 1,932 square miles, of which, 1,313 square miles of it is land and 619 square miles of it is water. Cameron Parish’s natural backdrop offers great opportunities for hunting and fishing and with its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico; it is a natural fit for industries such as oil and gas. It is no wonder that LNG terminals, pipeline companies, marine support vessels, offshore drilling operations and associated businesses top the list of revenue-producing businesses for the parish. Cameron Parish is known for its recreation and relaxation, features that make it a great place to live and work.
Jefferson Davis Parish is among the foremost oil producing parishes in Louisiana with 15 oil and gas producing fields. It has a population of 31,528 and is comprised of Jennings, Elton, Lacassine, Welsh, Lake Arthur and Fenton. Its parish seat is Jennings.
People from all over the world visit Jeff Davis Parish to enjoy and experience rich Cajun and Native American culture. The film industry has long since discovered the unique scenery of Jeff Davis Parish and has featured the parish in many productions. Strategically located between the major markets of Baton Rouge/New Orleans and Houston, Jeff Davis plays a vital transportation role in the region as it is transected by four main roadways: Interstate 10, Highway 90, Highway 190 and Highway 165 as well as home to the Jennings Airport which has a 5,000 foot runway. The parish’s economic base includes health care services, shipbuilding, construction, agriculture, and oil field services. The Parish has many industrial sites available to business ventures including Lacassine located on the bustling business corridor of Interstate 10.