Lake Charles, Louisiana is the fifth largest city in the state. In the southwest region of the state it is a major educational and cultural center. The population of the city was over 71,000 according to a census performed in 2000.
Lake Charles is considered a major center for gaming, petrochemical refining and education. Lake Charles is home to McNeese State University and SOWELA Technical CC. McNeese State University is a public university in Lake Charles and is a part of the Louisiana School System. The University offers a wide range of courses and well-respected schools including the education, nursing, engineering and biology colleges. The university is home to over 8,000 students.
The city is home to over 75 annually held festivals, and is known as the Festival Capital of Louisiana.
Southwest Louisiana is home to Mardi Gras which has a history that dates back to 1882. It was established when the King of Mardi Gras, Momus, landed his yacht downtown Lake Charles at the foot of Pujo Street.
Mardi Gras downsized due to lack of participation during the two World Wars but was revived in 1964 where the first Mardi Gras Ball was held in the Lake Charles area. The Mardi Gras of Imperial Calcasieu Inc. was established in 1985 by a group of civic-minded residents to preserve and further aid in the festival and its history.
The city experienced industrial growth after WWII with petrochemical refining industries built in the area.
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