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Calcasieu Parish, founded March 24, 1840, is located in southwest Louisiana. Calcasieu means "Crying Eagle" which is said to be the name of an Attakaoas chief. Its parish seat, and largest city, is Lake Charles. Calcasieu has a population of 175,364 and an area of 1,071.2 square miles. Twenty percent of
Calcasieu's population is Cajun
Rice and cattle are major products, and the Port of Lake Charles is an important industrial center, particularly because of its oil and chemical plants. Attractions include the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, Brimstone Museum, Delta Downs thoroughbred racetrack, and several river boat casinos.
Lake Charles holds a Mardi Gras Parade, Contraband Days in May. On July 4th you can attend the "Red, White, Blue, and You concert, parade, and fireworks. The Cajun French Music and Food Festival is in July and the Calca "Chew" Food Festival in September. Sulphur hosts St. Theresa's Cajun Bon Ton Festival in May and Taste of Louisiana Festival in June, plus the Sulphur Mines Festival.
In addition, Vinton offers its Cajun Festival the third weekend in September. 20.27 percent of
Calcasieu's population is Cajun. Calcasieu is also home to many Cajun and Zydeco musicians including Wayne Toups, Boozoo Chavis, and Marcia Ball.
One of the first settlers to the area was Charles Sallier, originally from, the province of Savois, France. He married the daughter of Barthelemy LeBlue. The community around the lake became known as "Charley's Lake" (now called Lake Charles). Those who settled between 1780 and 1819 acquired their land from the Indians. During this time it is believed that the privateer Jean Lafitte used the Calcasieu River and Charley's Lake to smuggle stolen contraband. It is know that he was good friends with the Salliers.
During the Civil War the Sabine River was an important route for blockade runners and battles took place at Sabine Pass and Calcasieu Pass. Strong Confederate earthworks were built along the river. Some can still be seen today at Niblett's Bluff in Vinton.
A large sulphur deposit was discovered in the late 1860s near the present city of Sulphur. Herman Frasch was instrumental is beginning one of the largest sulphur industries in the world. Sulphur has one of the finest recreation facilities in the state with more than 50 ball fields for baseball, softball, soccer, football, plus basketball gyms, tennis courts, and pools. The city plays host to baseball world series, Softball state tourneys, and the 56 team High School State Girl's Softball Tournament.
...began as a stopover on the Old Spanish Trail and as a
"schooner port," which was tied in with the mythical
stories of the famed buccaneer, Jean Lafitte. Jacob Ryan, often
called the "father of Lake Charles," was the town's
first real estate man. Lake Charles, the cultural and education
center of the area, is the home of McNeese State University.
Sources: www.CajunCulture.com, Evangeline: A Study in Cajun Culture, the Louisiana Almanac, and personal experiences.
Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, From Wikipedia
Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, From Enlou
Calcasieu Parish, Political Graveyard
Calcasieu Parish, School site
Calcasieu Parish, Quick Facts
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