Former mayors discuss past presidential visits to SWLA

Former mayors discuss past presidential visits to SWLA

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - President Trump is set to visit Southwest Louisiana Tuesday, but it isn’t the first presidential visit our area has seen.

Others have come to Lake Charles during both Willie Mount and Randy Roach’s terms as mayor.

“You know, whether you were for or against that president, the fact of the matter was the president of the United States chose to come to Lake Charles, Louisiana, so it was really a fun time for all ages, it really was," Mount said.

Mount was mayor when then President Bill Clinton visited Lake Charles in 1996 during his reelection campaign. Clinton was the first sitting president to ever make a stop in the Lake Area.

“We had a very engaging conversation talking about municipal government, and, you know, talking through all of what I did and how I enjoyed it because I love hands on, I love people. So, and he said, ‘you know, someday I’d like to be a mayor’ and I went ‘well, good luck,’" Mount recalled, laughing.

In 2005, then President George W. Bush came just days after Hurricane Rita hit Southwest Louisiana.

“This was about three or four days after the storm and we were still going through a lot,” Roach said.

Roach said being able to sit in a two-hour long meeting during that time was extremely special.

“There were some things that we needed help with and he made sure we had access to that. He was very attentive and listened. The bottom line in all of that was he said ‘how can I help you?" Roach said.

It wasn’t long after that visit that Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, visited South Cameron Memorial Hospital. The Bush-Clinton Foundation donated $2 million for recovery from Hurricane Rita.

“That’s when he and former president Bill Clinton had put together their foundation. They were doing a lot for hurricane recovery, but he made sure that Cameron and our area was a part of that recovery effort," Roach said.

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