The Diocese of Lake Charles encompasses five counties in southwestern Louisiana, on the Texas border. Life turned upside down in 2006, when the diocese took in evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, only to be blasted by Hurricane Rita a month later! Four parishes, four mission chapels and the Catholic Service Center were all destroyed. The local economy, once heavily dependent on the oil industry, now relies on agriculture, fishing, seasonal labor—and casinos. Poverty and unemployment are widespread, especially in the small towns. African Americans make up about 20 percent of the Catholic population, and form the majority in many small mission churches. Rural parishes and missions often need outside help just to pay ordinary expenses, since Offertory income is too low to fully cover salaries, utilities, insurance, and the occasional leaky roof.
The Diocese of Lake Charles has:
- 76,709 Catholics (27% of total population)
- 51 parishes and missions (20 without resident pastor)
- 39 active priests
P. O. Box 3223
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70602
fax: (337) 439-7413