Sharing the knowledge: LC recovery story will be recounted at summit

Published 6:58 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

By the end of the year, based on per capita, the city of Lake Charles will have the most resilient housing of any city in the state of Louisiana, according to an announcement by Mayor Nic Hunter on Monday.

How did Lake Charles go from “America’s Most Weather-Battered city — as described by The Weather Channel four years ago — to one of its most resilient?

Hunter said the city’s recovery story – the good, the bad and the ugly – will be shared at the The 2024 LC Resiliency Summit scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 27. The event will bring together an A-list of disaster, recovery and planning experts, as a way to share information to help others along the coast.

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“We’ve learned from other communities and we’ve  learned from what we went through,” Hunter said. “That information, that knowledge is most impactful if it doesn’t stay here. We want to share our experiences.”

The panel will be filled with representatives from the Office of Community and Development, Community Foundation SWLA, HRI, GOHSEP and more. Topics will include Navigating and Maximizing Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funds, Envisioning Sustainable Futures, Unlocking FEMA, Strengthening Community Lifelines and the State of Insurance in Louisiana. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell will bring the keynote speech.

Hunter used the summit announcement as an opportunity to share some of the city’s recovery highlights.

“Thanks to partnerships with Gravity Drainage and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury,, drainage inside the City of Lake Charles has received more attention and investment over the last couple of years than at any other point in this current generation.  “Unprecedented investments” have been made in the wastewater and water systems.

Housing programs administered by the City and the State of Louisiana have resulted in 300 homeowners with brand new or renovated homes since Hurricane Laura.

“2020 and 2021 were interesting times with the City and we would never wish on anyone what we went through,” Hunter said, “and I’m always cautious when I say this publicly because we still have strides to make. There’s still a lot of work to do out in this community. There are still Lake Charles people who are suffering in response to what happened in 2020 and 2021. However, we are at a moment where we’re seeing a lot of  silver linings….”

Without the disasters, he said, there wouldn’t be a discussion of those silver linings.      

“I know it’s a little cliche when people are saying ‘Build Back Better,’ but I truly do believe we are, “ the Mayor said.

Seating is limited for the one-day summit that begins at 8 a.m. and concludes with a 5 p.m. reception. Lunch is included in the $50 cost to attend.