5 LAKE CHARLES, LA. – A mosquito is biting my ankle as I watch the Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach play washboard with a zydeco band while two women dance with a guy dressed as an alligator. Earlier in the day, a live gator was spotted lounging behind Steamboat Bill’s restaurant. Lake Charles may be only a 30-minute drive from the Texas state line on Interstate 10, but it’s 100 percent Louisiana, complete with alligators, gumbo, zydeco music and a mayor who has way too much fun. Lake Charles is on the way to New Orleans, so I often stop here for a cup of flavorful gumbo, some huge Gulf of Mexico fried shrimp or thick, perfectly fried catfish fillets at Steamboat Bill’s, a restaurant on the access road. This time, I’ve decided to stick around and see what all’s here. Answer: a good weekend’s worth of fun and fascination. The city wraps around the banks of Lake Charles, Prien Lake and the Calcasieu River. (That last one is pronounced “cal-cash-ew”.) To find out what makes the city tick, visit the Imperial Calcasieu Museum . Located on the former home site of Lake Charles founding father Charles Sallier, it’s full… Read full this story
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