New Wildlife and Fisheries building opens in Lake Charles

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 8:28 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - State officials say the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is a vital government agency that makes sure the state lives up to its name, “Sportsman’s Paradise.”

And if the outdoors is paradise, the inside of the agency’s building in Lake Charles was far from it. But the long-awaited new building in Lake Charles is now open.

Elected officials and others, anxious to see the new building, crowded in Tuesday. It’s off Tom Watson Road off Broad Street and is a welcome change for employees and the public.

The crowded, dated building on Lakeshore drive is between 50 and 70 years old.

But a new era has begun. Agency Secretary Jack Montoucet says it was time.

“We were operating in cramped quarters. People were working four to an office that could only accommodate two and it was just time to rebuild a new facility where we could meet all of our needs,” Montoucet said.

Officials say the $3 million facility is better for public access and a staging area in emergencies. Wildlife biologist supervisor Kori Legleu-Buxton says it’s great.

“We’ll enjoy it quite a lot but more importantly, I think it will help us deliver more efficient services to the people of southwest Louisiana,” Legleu-Buxton said.

The new building is about 40 percent bigger. On this grand opening, Baton Rouge staff was here selling commercial fishing licenses.

Seafood business owner Loretta Meaux from Holly Beach says it’s more convenient.

“It’s really nice and really, really convenient for us and all the commercial fishermen who come to this place instead of having to go all the way to Baton Rouge. Sometimes when things are confused you don’t have the papers with you, in Baton Rouge it’s not easy, so this is so much more convenient,” Meaux said.

The location is leased from the Chennault International Airport for 99 years for the sum of $1.

Wildlife and Fisheries will remain in downtown Lake Charles through the Science and Nature Center coming to Port Wonder. City officials say the site of the former headquarters will provide opportunities for more lakefront development in the future.