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The Calcasieu Ship Channel, which allows large ocean-going vessels to sail up from the Gulf, also borders the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Lake Charles is tied with Port Arthur, Texas, and Astoria, Oregon, as the most humid city in the contiguous United States, and the second-most humid measured location behind unincorporated Quillayute, Washington.
Cleanup efforts of Lake Charles' waterways have been so successful that Prien Lake now supports both recreational and commercial fishing, and has a safe public beach.
Several petrochemical plants and an oil refinery are located nearby along the Calcasieu Ship Channel.
The Shaw Group has a manufacturing facility which manufactures and exports parts for nuclear power plants.
There were 28,228 households, out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.8% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families.
There are also urban tales he had planned to name the settlement Nouveau Cadix (New Cádiz)", after the city in Spain, but this is uncertain.
During and after World War II, Lake Charles experienced industrial growth with the onset of the petrochemical refining industries.
The city has its own symphony orchestra, the Lake Charles Symphony.
It was founded in 1938 and hosts concerts at the Rosa Hart Theatre, The Central School Arts and Humanities Center, located in the historical Charpentier District, is owned by the city.
In 2010, the population was spread out with 27% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 20 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 25% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median income for a household in the city was ,001. 20.9% of the population was below the poverty line.