A 50-Year Resilience Master Plan for Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes

Overview of Bayou Greenbelt
and the 10 Catalytic Projects

Watch this video to learn more about Bayou Greenbelt and the Six Recovery Projects the National Parks Service is working on in SWLA.

Watch this video to learn more about the 10 Catalytic Projects being proposed as a part of the Just Imagine SWLA Resilience Master Plan process. Descriptions for these projects can also be found below.

Bayou Greenbelt

An interconnected network of blue and green trails, the Bayou Greenbelt will transform quality of life, resilience, drainage, and connections to the natural environment and recreation. Trailheads and boat launches will provide access to new multi-use trails and bayous and coulees that are currently not accessible. The Bayou Greenbelt could become a beloved amenity, connecting people to that natural environment that makes SWLA special.

Coastal Flood Risk Reduction

Sea-level rise and increased intensity of tropical storms are the largest threat to the long-term viability and protection of assets in Calcasieu and Cameron Parish. Coastal Risk Reduction focuses on protecting the coast in Cameron, while also ensuring that investments in both parishes are shielded against future devastation. Risk reduction projects layer structural and non-structural interventions to reduce loss of life and property from surge events, lower flood insurance, and build on Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s ongoing work.

Waterfront Development

The region’s waterfronts are an untapped asset for quality of life and economic development. Exciting new projects like the Port Wonder Children’s Museum and Nature Center and a new Crying Eagle Brewery restaurant will activate the lakefront. Making a transformative public investment in a continuous public edge from the Lake Charles Civic Center, across the new I-10 bridge, to Westlake would connect over 4 miles of pedestrian promenades with vibrant restaurants, recreation, and entertainment activating the waterfronts.

Mid-City Neighborhood Transformation (Quality Housing for All)

Mixed-income housing is the best practice for transforming neighborhoods and creating quality housing that increases choices for everyone. Older subsidized housing is redeveloped into high-quality housing to serve a mix of low-income, workforce, and market-rate individuals and families. All families live in identical high-quality homes and enjoy beautiful amenities.

A mixed-income housing approach can help a neighborhood compete for HUD’s $40-$50 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, leveraging over $200 million of additional investment to a neighborhood in five years. This approach is being explored for the Lake Street area between I-210 and W. Sallier Street.

Nellie Lutcher District

Enterprise Boulevard can become a new cultural destination district and gateway for economic development along the I-10 corridor. New and existing dining, entertainment, and cultural uses will attract people who are traveling along I-10 as well as residents looking for a creative and vibrant district. Streetscape improvements to Enterprise Boulevard and Broad Street would connect from Downtown to the Nellie Lutcher District to North Lake Charles.

McNeese AREA Resilience District

McNeese State University is a valuable anchor for SWLA. The Contraband Bayou project that is under construction will enhance resilience and provide access to the water, as the first phase of the Bayou Greenbelt. The LNG Center of Excellence, retail center renovations, new student housing, and a road diet for Common Street would have economic development benefits while enlivening the edges of campus. A Resilience District would tie multiple projects together and target available funding.

Chennault/SOWELA Resilience District

Chennault and SOWELA are planning to invest in bringing more jobs and businesses to the area, enhancing parking lots, and building new educational buildings. Sewer, water, and road upgrades are needed to support new development. A resilience district for Chennault and SOWELA would encompass multiple projects and help make infrastructure upgrades eligible for funding. In the future, the Chennault/SOWELA Resilience District could be a destination with restaurants, housing, and destinations to serve students and employees at Chennault and SOWELA.

Strong Downtowns

Walkable, active downtowns are vibrant locations for nurturing new and existing small businesses, jobs, and services. They also foster cultural identity and offer spaces for community gatherings and festivals. This project offers a toolkit for strengthening the downtowns in SWLA with walkable streets, stormwater management, drainage, active infill uses, and public spaces for gathering and celebration.

Community Resilience Hubs

The safety of residents during and after disaster events continues to be a critical need for SWLA. Resilience hubs are community-serving facilities that support residents, coordinate communication, distribute resources, and enhance quality of life. In emergencies, Community Resilience Hubs would provide places for food and water distribution, shelter, charging, cooling, and disaster response coordination. During non-disaster times, these facilities can serve as community buildings for gatherings and recreation. Parishes can start by identifying existing facilities, publicly-owned land outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area, and each community’s specific needs to develop a customized strategy.

Resilient Housing Toolkit

Increasing resilient, affordable housing is a critical issue for this region. Residents are facing the high cost of flood insurance, rising sale prices and rents, and insufficient practices in rebuilding post-disaster. The Resilient Housing Toolkit is a short, easy-to-navigate document that combines valuable resources from FEMA and others to outline the steps needed to build and rebuild resilient housing in the region.

Growing Home: A Development Authority for SWLA

A development authority is an entity created by the state legislature to preserve and redevelop distressed areas to promote public safety and welfare. A development authority can assemble land, clear title issues on adjudicated (tax delinquent) properties, and help secure funding for projects. It’s important that SWLA have a functioning development authority to work on returning the hundreds of vacant, abandoned, and adjudicated properties to productive uses that support community needs, like housing.