After hurricane Rita devastated Lake Charles – closing businesses, destroying homes across the city, taking out thousands of trees and sending a storm surge up into the businesses and homes that call the lakefront downtown area home – Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach stepped up and determined that a long term plan for recovery and growth was in order. Beyond just planning for dealing with the acute recovery needs from the hurricane, the plan would need to account for long-term economic growth and sustainable development in downtown Lake Charles.
As part of the Louisiana Speaks planning process undertaken by CPEX in 2006, and with support from the Louisiana Recovery Authority Support Foundation, CPEX helped consultants Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) go into Lake Charles and identify community needs for recovery and to devise a plan for getting there.
Along with DPZ, CPEX facilitated a series of charrettes in February of 2006 to solicit input from Lake Charles residents and stakeholders. The result was a visionary master plan for downtown Lake Charles that provided the city with direction for long-term, economically viable, hurricane resistant growth. Since that time, the mayor, city council, and downtown development team have worked hard to implement the ideas set forth in the vision. As a result, the lakefront is thriving with a new marina and boardwalk. New businesses and nightlife populate the downtown streets again, and more residential and mixed use developments are in the works.