The Harrah’s Garage Is Cool and All, but How About a Buc-ee’s?
People have been talking about building up the lakefront for years, but nothing ever really happens. There are probably Reasons for this that above my limited understanding of whatever backroom voodoo goes on behind the scenes of Louisiana politics, but it doesn’t really matter. In the end, the most recognizable part of the lakefront remains the decaying husk of the old Harrah’s parking garage. And, as nice as the graffiti that adorns it is, we could probably do better.
Which is where Buc-ee’s comes in. Everybody loves whatever Beaver Nuggets are - and the science is still out on that, although everyone generally agrees that they’re made up of equal parts Magic and Wonder - and travelers love clean bathrooms. Tearing down the parking garage and slapping a Buc-ee’s in its place just makes sense. After all, considering the nightmare traffic just before our infamous bridge that people would have to drive through just before getting there, a lot of folks might be in dire need of clean bathrooms. And also Beaver Nuggets.
The nearest Buc-ee’s is about 120 miles away over in Baytown, TX. Alabama is getting two of the things soon, in Baldwin County and Mobile, with the latter being the closest to us at 325 miles away. The distance from Baytown to Mobile is about 450 miles, which would put the perfect halfway point between them somewhere around Baton Rouge.
With that in mind, you might think that’s where they should build the first Louisiana Buc-ee’s, but come on. Have you tried driving in Baton Rouge lately? It’s best avoided altogether if possible, and besides, Baton Rouge already has plenty of stuff. It’s time for Lake Charles to get something cool.
Then again, Buc-ee’s has been looking at Louisiana since at least 2016 when, according to Chron.com, they were considering a location in - big surprise - Baton Rouge. However, since then, they’ve announced no plans to build anything in the Bayou State, choosing instead to skip over us entirely to go Roll Tide with Alabama.
I guess even a whimsical cartoon beaver doesn’t have the teeth to chew through all of Louisiana’s red tape, which is a shame because a Buc-ee’s in Lake Charles would bring good-paying jobs to our area, and inject a ton of new money into our local economy through sales taxes alone. It would also entice people off of the highway and potentially lure them into our great downtown area we’ve put so much work into over the years. And, who knows? After it’s successful, maybe those dreams of a Kemah-style boardwalk on the lakefront could finally come true, once investors see our potential.
But hey, at least we’ve got a grim reminder of economic decay towering above the city to showcase the unique talent of our local graffiti artisans in the meantime.
So there’s that.