If you drive north of Lake Charles on Martin Luther King Highway for about four and a half hours, you will arrive in Haughton, Louisiana. The small Bossier Parish town is known for its schools, parks and library. It's also famous for the 199-foot cross towering above its Church of the Cross.
You have to drive east of Lake Charles on I-10 for a few hours to get to St Tammany Parish. Last year, a sheriff's deputy known there for making drunk driving arrests pulled over a Slidell man and began conducting a field sobriety test. After the test, the deputy arrested the man on a drunk driving charge.
Parishes across Louisiana were shaken this winter by revelations that the LACE program, the goal of which was to strengthen local law enforcement, had developed into an apparent payroll scam.
Many regular readers of our Lake Charles legal blog will remember a joke President Ronald Reagan told years ago. "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are," the president said, "'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
In some ways, the lights atop a police car can appear festive when they flash. During the holiday season, police car lights might even remind you of a Christmas tree. But there is no doubt that when a police car lights up in your rear-view mirror, it causes a sinking feeling. If you were drinking before getting behind the wheel of your vehicle, being pulled over by Lake Charles police can mean that you will face arrest for drunk driving, jail time, fines, mandated installation of an ignition interlock device and more.
The goal of the statewide highway enforcement program known as LACE (Local Agency Compensated Enforcement) was three-pronged: it helped Calcasieu Parish and other jurisdictions enforce traffic laws, while also generating revenue and enabling state troopers to earn overtime pay.
Even young people with good jobs sometimes find themselves in legal trouble. Often that trouble comes in the form of a DUI arrest, which, depending on the circumstances, could threaten your livelihood.
Believe it or not, but the holiday season is rapidly approaching. That means it will be time to get together with your Lake Charles friends and family to enjoy conversation, laughter, football and big meals.
Lake Charles fans of pro basketball have likely traveled to New Orleans to see the Pelicans play. One of this season's most interesting NBA teams promises to be the Boston Celtics. The team's revamped line-up includes power forward Marcus Morris, who is finally joining the team after missing the early preseason to attend an aggravated assault trial with co-defendant and twin brother Markieff.
Most Lake Charles residents have been to New Orleans at least once. Just across the Mississippi River from the Crescent City's uptown area and Audubon Park Zoo sits the town of Westwego.