Lake Charles assess city park damages

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 10:44 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Tuten Park, home to many native flowers and trees, is one of many parks in Lake Charles that was damaged by Hurricane Laura.

Ten community centers and around 20 parks throughout the city have all sustained some level of damage, according to Katie Harrington with the City of Lake Charles.

“All of those city parks and community centers are closed,” Harrington said. “Just as we continue to do damage assessments and begin the process of repairing and rebuilding those.”

Drivers on Nelson Road can see the line of snapped trees at Tuten Park, which will take awhile to clean up.

“Nelson road was a rock gravel road when we moved here,” Glen Lavergne, 68, said, remembering what it was like over 30 years ago.

“Tuten Park was a wilderness which we hunted and actually have killed quail and dove right off of Nelson road back then.”

Twenty-four acres of woodlands were stripped away by Hurricane Laura, right across Lavergne’s house.

“Oh wow, the tree devastation is not gonna be easy to recover," Lavergne said.

City officials have a lot of work to do, including repairing things that were just fixed.

“Just last summer, last June, we were able to reopen the back portion of the park where the nature trail is," Harrington said. “For me personally, my first thought when I thought about post Hurricane Laura, was how bad it was.”

Despite tree damage, Harrington said Mother Nature will take care of herself and thankfully, the pollinator and rain gardens at Tuten held up “pretty well.”

“There are some tiny saplings and seedlings that are in there and they did survive the storm," Harrington said. "And now without some of the taller trees around it, they’ll be able to see the sunshine and grow. Just as Mother Nature can kind of deal us a blow like Hurricane Laura, it does repair itself.”

As Lavergne rebuilds his home across the park, he said he hopes it stays the way he remembers it.

“I hope it stays a nature park."

Parks inside the city limits of Lake Charles will remain closed until further notice, but Calcasieu Parish announced the reopening of parish parks.

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