Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Southwestern exposure in Lake Charles

Courtesy Monsours Photography

The year 2014 will be a big one for Lake Charles, La. Several major projects are slated to wrap up then, including construction of another casino, an overhaul of the Burton Coliseum and a major streetscape project.

But there’s no need to wait until 2014 to visit; recent years have been good to the city’s meeting facilities. There’s been a complete facelift of the Lake Charles Civic Center, two historic buildings have become meeting venues and a luxury yacht has been added.

“We have so much to see and do and so much diversity to offer to a client,” said Tico Soto, director of sales for the Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.

With about 72,000 residents, Lake Charles is the hub of a six-municipality parish in southwest Louisiana. About 3,000 of the parish’s  5,400 guest rooms are in Lake Charles.

And another 800 guest rooms are on the way, 700 of them from a single project, the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Lake Charles. The $500 million project will include meeting space and a theater and is set to open in the summer of 2014.

Meanwhile, work is ongoing at Burton Coliseum after a $9 million renovation of the city’s other 1970s-era venue, the Lake Charles Civic Center.

The $5.1 million coliseum renovation will refurbish concession and lobby areas and update meeting rooms, lighting and audiovisual systems. The coliseum has 24,000 square feet of floor space and can seat up to 8,400 in its arena. A separate meeting room can seat 200 people; a 168,000-square-foot exhibit hall is next to the coliseum.

The civic center’s upgrades, completed last year, updated its interior and its technology. The civic center has a 7,450-seat arena, a  2,000-seat theater, an exhibition hall and several meeting and conference rooms for 75 to 800 people.

Downtown, a streetscape project will make walking around downtown Lake Charles more enjoyable as parking and more traffic controls are added. And, it is likely that more events will be held downtown with the addition of two venues in historic buildings, the Cash and Carry building, a former cotton warehouse, and the 1928 Calcasieu Marine National Bank, a three-story, limestone-faced building.