Lake Charles, city (1990 pop. 70,580), seat of Calcasieu parish, SW La.; inc. 1867. It is located on Lake Charles at the mouth of the Calcasieu River in a rice, timber, oil, and natural gas region. The city is an important producer of petrochemicals and has a variety of manufactures, including machinery, concrete, transportation and oil-field equipment, food products, barges, and tugboats. There are also petroleum refineries and riverboat casinos, as well as fishing for crawfish, shrimp, and crabs. Lake Charles is an important deepwater port and port of entry. A 30-mi-long (48-km) channel connects it with the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway. Petroleum products, chemicals, rice, and cotton are shipped from the port. In the city is McNeese State Univ. The city suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Rita in 2005.
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