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5 Jobs You Can Only Find in Lake Charles

Let’s face it — there’s just some jobs that only exist in Louisiana, for better or worse.  I took a poll around the office and some of our sister stations, and here’s what we got.

Flickr / Benimoto

1. Muskrat-Skinning Contest Judge

If you ever make it to Louisiana’s coldest festival — The Cameron Parish Fur and Wildlife Festival, to be exact — beware! My first time there, I saw three teenaged girls standing on a stage behind a long table. I wondered what was going on. Then, a gentleman fired a starting pistol and each of the girls quickly picked up a dead animal from a nearby basket. The first thing these little girls did was chop of the critters’ heads. Then, they ran a knife down the dead animals’ undersides and pulled the animals’ skin off.  I was watching a skinning competition. Talk about a job I would not want to have — I would not want to be the person who had to clean up after the competition! I would not even want to be the guy who fired the starter pistol, as he was close enough to get splattered. I also wanted to pass along some advice to you in case you ever attend this festival — do not eat anything except the shrimp! — Don Rivers

2. Drive-Thru Daiquiri Shop Attendant

Flickr / Steve Snodgrass

Alright, so I have been in Lake Charles for over 10 years now, and one of the biggest surprises that I got was the fact that there was a shop where you could actually get a daiquiri by going through the drive-thru. Now although I am not a big drinker, I have to admit I loved this concept. There are a few here that I like, but there is one in particular and they specialize in a few familiar favorites, but there are also some that I had never heard of before. The drive-thru attendants are always nice and ready to take your order at the drop of a dime. What’s Ironic about the entire situation is the fact that once you get your daiquiri, there is a small strip of tape on the top of the cup that you dare not to open while driving.  It’s the Louisiana way around the open container law. But it’s almost too hard to resist getting just a sip of your favorite beverage. I tell you, there are plenty of places to visit in the world — but there is absolutely nothing like having a drive-thru daiquiri shop in Lake Charles. If you want a great frozen drink with a touch of ‘BAM,’ then this is the place to be. — Erik Tee

Flickr / lsgcp

 

3. Roadside Shrimp Vendors

If you are looking for fresh seafood — especially fresh shrimp — and don’t feel like going to a store to buy them, then only in Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana can you just drive down the road and see someone at the corner of an intersection in a truck selling them.  They are always set up with the necessities, too — you know, a pop up tent to cover the shrimp and themselves from the sun, a scale, a few beat up ice chests full of shrimp, and a big ol’ sign.  Plus, the guys selling them look like they fell out of the show “Swamp People,” and will usually have a cold beer in their hands and a cigarette hanging out of their mouths!  But with all that said, the guys on the side of the road selling the fresh shrimp give you the best deals, the freshest shrimp, and a firm handshake!  Here’s to you, Mr. Lake Charles Intersection Shrimp Seller guy! — Mike Soileau

Steamboat Bill's Parking Lot Pointer Guy
David Kaye

4. Steamboat Bill’s Parking Lot Pointer Guy

Another one of the jobs that you will only be able to find in SWLA is the ever-popular Steamboat Bill’s Parking Lot Pointer Guy! It’s a job that’s been filled for the past 3 years by Mark Charles, who found the job by being in the right place at the right time with the right hat on his head! Mark knows the parking lot of Steamboat Bill’s better than the swampcats that roam it at night, and he has every pothole more memorized than his children’s birthdays! And the hardest part of being Steamboat Bill’s Parking Lot Pointer Guy is not the heat or the long hours, but finding a place to put all the tour buses that pull in — those things are long! — David Kaye

Flickr / princedd

5.  Mardi Gras Bead Cleaner-Upper

It’s a lonely job, being the Mardi Gras Bead Picker-Upper — long late hours, inescapable stains, cooties…  I even know a guy who handled some beads off the ground a few years ago and ended up catching Scarlet Fever! But someone has to go through the parade route, searching after every loose set of beads and the random cups that were missed by old and old alike. Does a job like this need to exist? Can’t a street cleaner come along and suck these beads into the city’s sewer system? Well, yes it can, but a street sweeper can’t go through all the Walmart bags of free-roaming beads and necklaces, find all the good ones and clean them lovingly with water from the Lake, wrap them up with a paper collar and turn around and sell them back to the Krewes to be used again, kind of like a Cajun Circle of Life. (With a parade tossed in, instead of a dead lion and Elton John song.)  And what happens to all the broken necklaces that can’t be re-used that the Mardi Gras Bead Picker-Upper finds up and down Ryan Street? Raise your eyes, everybody, and look at the telephone wires — now you know where those beads that have been hanging there since you graduated high school came from. Hakuna Matata, everyone! – David Kaye

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