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Lake Charles is a deepwater port and center for the lumber and petrochemical industries, and suffered considerable damage in the 2005 Hurricane Rita. Prior to the storm, the city had a mostly industrial small-town feel with some historic areas, including the Victorian-era Charpentier District and a nice boardwalk area. Some casinos had arrived on the waterfront, including the large L’Auberge du Lac resort and casino.
The coastal marshlands in the Sabine National and Rockefeller State wildlife refuges to the south offer excellent wildlife viewing. Major air service and city amenities are distant—Houston, 150 miles west, or Baton Rouge, 130 miles east, are the choices.
The terrain is a flat, level plain. Extensive marshes begin to the south and extend to the coast. Elevations range from near sea level to about 25 feet above sea level. The climate is humid subtropical with a strong marine influence. Winter months are normally mild with brief cold spells. Temperatures of 20 degrees or below rarely occur. Rainfall is substantial in all seasons, most arriving as brief showers and thundershowers. Spring and fall are mild and pleasant, usually dry and sunny. Severe local storms occur most frequently in spring with hurricanes in late summer and fall.
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