January is National Hobby Month – the perfect time to think about taking up a new sport, craft, or activity. Clubs connect you with people who have similar interests. They provide opportunities to get out of the house and socialize.The Calcasieu Parish community offers plenty of options, depending on your interests. This is by no means a complete list of clubs in the region. To find a local club that matches your particular interests, do a quick Google search of your hobby in Southwest Louisiana. You just might make some new friends!
Service clubs offer opportunities to make a positive difference in the community. Look into the Kiwanis, Rotary, The Junior League of Lake Charles.
People in Southwest Louisiana take pride in their vehicles, and there are a variety of car clubs. Look into the Contraband Corvette Club, the Cajun Mustangers, the Seven Slot Society (jeeps), and the Antique Automobile Club of America Contraband/SWLA Chapter.
The Lake Charles Duplicate Bridge Club welcomes new members and visitors. Located at 1600 McNeese (behind Nina P’s), they host regular games on Monday and Friday at 10:00 a.m. and Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. The club is sanctioned by ACBL, the national organization for duplicate clubs. Research shows many benefits for playing bridge. Among them are intellectual and social stimulation on a routine basis.
The Lake Charles Lucky Tiles Mah Jongg Club meets at this same location.
Arts & Crafts
Gallery by the Lake is a group of artists who create works in acrylic and oil painting, charcoal, pencil, ink on paper, photography, mixed media, and three-dimensional paper and fabric art. They exhibit their work at Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center in Lake Charles.
Calcasieu Cut-Ups Quilt Guild gather around their favorite pastime, quilting. They meet the first Thursday of each month, 10:00 a.m., at First Baptist Church in Moss Bluff in a fellowship building located at the back of the church property. Visitors and new members welcome. They have members all ages and all levels of experienced quilters. Much of their work is made to benefit cancer victims, veterans, the homebound and elderly. They have also made Safe Sleep sacs for infants and countless masks during the pandemic.
Lake Charles Yacht Club is a sailing club that meets at their clubhouse on the far west end of North Beach. During Daylight Saving Time, they host sailboat races each Wednesday. They also often host Saturday regattas and monthly social events. No boat required to join, just an interest in sailing.
You can find the Pelican Paddlers of SWLA on their Facebook page. They are a group of kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts. They host no regular gatherings, but often post meet-up and other information on the Facebook page.
Lake Charles Power Squadron hosts boating activities, social events, learning opportunities, and other get-togethers for boaters with any type of boat (power, sail, and paddlers), novices and experienced boaters alike. No boat required.
Lake Area Runners was the original running group in the Lake Area providing a free opportunity to attend a weekly group run in downtown Lake Charles. Over time it evolved into the not-for-profit race organization that coordinates six of the local races throughout the year and one membership run.
Five years ago, RUN337 was started to continue the promotion of an active lifestyle. They host a weekly group run with another added option during the week. It is a free, unsanctioned, all-paces friendly group that meets twice per week (Mondays from Botsky’s and Wednesdays from Crying Eagle Brewing, both at 6:00 p.m.)
Bons Temps Triathletes make triathlons fun and accessible to everyone in the Lake Area – newbie or veteran, young or old, fast or slow. Whether a first timer or a Kona qualifier, you will be encouraged and supported. Bons Temps Triathlon club was created to be a supportive, social and affordable option for triathletes and aspiring triathletes in the Lake Area. Follow them on Facebook for current events!
Other Outdoor Activities
The Gulf Coast Bird Club promotes the knowledge and conservation of birdlife, other wildlife, natural habitats and natural resources; and fosters an appreciation of our natural environment and of the significance of its influence upon human life. Founded in 1983, they provide educational opportunities to the general public and other organizations regarding bird life. Anyone interested in birding and nature are welcome to attend their educational meetings and participate in their field trips September through May. The club meets September through May on the second Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in Frasch Hall on the McNeese State University Campus. Meetings include presentations on birding and nature. Field trip itineraries are announced at the Thursday meeting. The club also hosts a monthly Beginners Bird Walk at Sam Houston Jones State Park on the Fourth Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m.
Southwest Louisiana Master Naturalists promote awareness, understanding, and respect of Louisiana’s natural resources using unbiased, accurate, scientific information provided by a trained corps of volunteers. These volunteers provide education, outreach, and services dedicated to the conservation and management of our ecosystems. The focus of the SWLA Master Naturalists Program is on the plants, animals and habitats found in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon parishes. They host regular field trips and special Certification Classes each Spring.
Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people. They have special training in horticulture. In exchange for training, Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers. Any Louisiana resident with an interest in horticulture and a desire to volunteer for community service may apply to the Master Gardener Training Program.
Other gardening club options are the Diggers and Weeders Garden Club of Lake Charles or the Calcasieu Orchid Society and the Lake Charles Bonsai Society.
The Southwest Chapter of the Louisiana Dutch Oven Society (locally known as Le Chien Cookers Dutch Oven Group) use camp style black pots to cook their favorite dishes. Their monthly Dutch Oven Gathering (DOG) is held at Sam Houston Jones State Park on the fourth Saturday of each month and open to all, either to cook or to sample.