CNNMoney ranks LC among 25 best places to retire

Published 6:00 pm Friday, September 16, 2011

A CNNMoney report has ranked Lake Charles as one of the best 25 best places to retire based largely on its outdoor appeal, numerous festivals and growing arts community.

It was ranked alongside much larger cities like Pittsburgh; Tucson, Ariz.; and Austin, Texas.

Among local assets, the report mentioned McNeese State University’s leisure learning courses and the new Shearman Fine Arts building that opened last year. The report’s sole negative about Lake Charles was the threat of floods and hurricanes.

Email newsletter signup

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said the recognition should not just reflect on Lake Charles, but all Southwest Louisiana.

“You have to give credit to the community,” he said. “We’ve built a level of trust with each other that creates a certain sprit of fun with the festivals and a good atmosphere for residential living.”

Roach said the rankings reflect the warm, friendly atmosphere of people who live in Southwest Louisiana.

“It’s a good place to live,” he said. “That’s what these rankings mean.”

Pat Diamond, past president of Southwest Louisiana Realtors Association, said the city’s low property taxes and outdoor amenities attract retirees.

“You have the ability to hunt and fish, and now you have a number of nice golf courses in the area,” he said. “The climate is also a big draw — people not sitting there digging themselves out of snow all the time.”

On the real estate side, Diamond said several clients have moved to Lake Charles from California because of the cheaper housing market.

“With a house that was normally $400,000 there, you can buy the same house for $150,000-$200,000,” he said. “They’re sitting a lot prettier here.”

Lake Charles’ proximity to larger cities like Houston and New Orleans is also a draw, he said.

Angie Manning-Istre, communications manager for the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in an email that the city’s qualities “revolve around the people and truly intrinsic qualities of Southwest Louisiana.”

“Everything that was listed … drives home the point that our area is special on an authentic basis,” she said. “That type of real connection resonates with people.”

George Swift, president and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said the city’s recognition from a national source is proof that Lake Charles is a special place.

“Many people who have been in management positions who have lived in other places have chosen to retire here,” he said. “When people come here and see the friendliness of the people, it’s contagious.”

Swift said the report will hopefully bring more retirees to Lake Charles, including military retirees.

On the Web: