Cameron, Louisiana

Coordinates: 29°47′45″N 93°19′15″W / 29.79583°N 93.32083°W / 29.79583; -93.32083
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Cameron, Louisiana
Cameron, Louisiana is located in Louisiana
Cameron, Louisiana
Cameron, Louisiana
Location of Cameron in Louisiana
Coordinates: 29°47′45″N 93°19′15″W / 29.79583°N 93.32083°W / 29.79583; -93.32083
CountryUnited States
StateLouisiana
ParishCameron
Area
 • Total12.60 sq mi (32.64 km2)
 • Land11.43 sq mi (29.60 km2)
 • Water1.17 sq mi (3.04 km2)
Elevation
3 ft (0.9 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total315
 • Density27.57/sq mi (10.64/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
Zip code
70631
Area code337
FIPS code22-12000

Cameron is a census-designated place (CDP) in and the parish seat of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, United States.[2] It is part of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area. After sustaining extreme damage from Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008, in the 2010 Census Cameron was recorded as having a population of only 406, a 79% drop since 2000.[3]

History[edit]

Aerial view of Hurricane Ike's destruction of Cameron Parish, captured on September 23, 2008.

The town of Cameron was originally called Leesburg, although the post office was designated Cameron, like the parish.[4] Its location at the mouth of the Calcasieu River made it a transhipment location for mail, cattle, and other goods to be taken by ship to Lake Charles.[5][6] After the sinking of the first successful oil well in Louisiana in 1901, Cameron became a center of petroleum extraction.

In 1957, Cameron was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Audrey. A storm surge of 12 feet (3.7 m) and winds of 125 miles per hour (201 km/h) devastated nearby oilfields[7] and caused the deaths of more than 300 residents of the town.[8]

Nearly fifty years later, in late September 2005, Hurricane Rita hit Cameron with 120-mile-per-hour (190 km/h)[9] winds and the highest storm surges ever recorded in the state, 17.8 feet (5.4 m) at Cameron[10] and possibly 18 feet (5.5 m) in some locations.[11] Much of the town was destroyed, but everyone had evacuated beforehand.[9]

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike leveled Cameron with a 12-foot (3.7 m) storm surge while the town was still recovering from Rita in 2005.[12] Ike destroyed more than 90 percent of the homes in the parish seat and caused catastrophic flooding in every part of the parish.

After Rita and Ike, the parish instituted stricter building codes, and insurance rates rose dramatically, making rebuilding too expensive for many residents. The population of Cameron fell 79 percent between 2000 and 2010.[3][13] By 2010, when the First Baptist Church was rebuilt, the town had lost its grocery stores and drug store and had only a gas station and a bank, and the post office and a restaurant, both housed in trailers. Most residents were still living in mobile homes.[14] The main parish library, destroyed by Rita and again by Ike, was rebuilt on tall stilts;[15] South Cameron Memorial Hospital, destroyed by Rita, was also rebuilt to withstand tropical storms.[16] A new government complex was completed in 2015 but repairs to the parish courthouse were still needed.[13]

On August 27, 2020, at 1:00 am CDT, Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour (240 km/h), a category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.[17] A storm surge measured between 9 and 12 feet inundated the immediate areas surrounding Cameron according to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.[18] Much of the town was again destroyed or severely damaged, including the hospital.[16][19]

Six weeks later, Hurricane Delta made landfall not too far east of Cameron as a category 2 storm. It caused further damage following Laura. Clean up from Laura was paused in preparation for Delta.

Geography[edit]

Cameron is located in south-central Cameron Parish at 29°47′17″N 93°18′42″W / 29.78806°N 93.31167°W / 29.78806; -93.31167 (29.788055, -93.311764),[20] along the Gulf of Mexico at an elevation of 4 feet (1.2 m) above sea level. State highways 27 and 82 pass through the community as Marshall Street, crossing the Calcasieu Ship Channel just west of town. Highway 82 leads east 93 miles (150 km) to Abbeville and west 48 miles (77 km) to Port Arthur, Texas. Highway 27 leads west then north 48 miles (77 km) to Sulphur. Lake Charles is 52 miles (84 km) to the north.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 12.6 square miles (32.6 km2), of which 11.4 square miles (29.6 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.0 km2), or 9.31%, is water.[21]

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Cameron, Louisiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
(29)
80
(27)
88
(31)
93
(34)
96
(36)
100
(38)
101
(38)
103
(39)
106
(41)
98
(37)
88
(31)
88
(31)
106
(41)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 60.4
(15.8)
63.6
(17.6)
70.1
(21.2)
76.6
(24.8)
83.3
(28.5)
88.4
(31.3)
90.3
(32.4)
91.0
(32.8)
87.6
(30.9)
80.2
(26.8)
71.2
(21.8)
62.8
(17.1)
77.1
(25.1)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 43.1
(6.2)
46.3
(7.9)
52.7
(11.5)
59.8
(15.4)
68.3
(20.2)
73.8
(23.2)
75.7
(24.3)
75.2
(24.0)
70.5
(21.4)
61.3
(16.3)
52.5
(11.4)
45.0
(7.2)
60.4
(15.8)
Record low °F (°C) 13
(−11)
11
(−12)
25
(−4)
27
(−3)
44
(7)
54
(12)
61
(16)
52
(11)
45
(7)
29
(−2)
20
(−7)
12
(−11)
11
(−12)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 5.68
(144)
3.46
(88)
3.84
(98)
3.93
(100)
4.93
(125)
6.50
(165)
6.47
(164)
5.43
(138)
5.58
(142)
4.32
(110)
4.71
(120)
4.41
(112)
59.26
(1,505)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.1
(0.25)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.25)
Source: [22]
Shrimping and fishing in the Gulf
Damage in Cameron from Hurricane Rita (photo taken in April 2006)

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
1890941
19001,32340.6%
19101,4076.3%
19201,220−13.3%
19301,42316.6%
19402,10948.2%
19502,2767.9%
19602,72119.6%
19703,20517.8%
19801,736−45.8%
19902,04117.6%
20001,965−3.7%
2010406−79.3%
2020315−22.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]

[24] [25] [26] [27] [28]

[29]

As of the census[30] of 2000, there were 1,965 people, 695 households, and 510 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 70.5 inhabitants per square mile (27.2/km2). There were 800 housing units at an average density of 28.7 per square mile (11.1/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 82.49% White, 11.86% African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.36% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.55% of the population.

There were 695 households, out of which 37.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.6% were non-families. 21.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 27.5% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.2 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $30,370, and the median income for a family was $33,661. Males had a median income of $24,762 versus $26,406 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $13,499. About 17.0% of families and 19.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.1% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.

Culture[edit]

Cameron is on the Creole Nature Trail, a National Scenic Byway.

Cameron is home to the Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival held in January.

Government[edit]

The United States Postal Service Cameron Post Office is located at 144 Adam Roux Street in the CDP.[31]

Education[edit]

The Cameron Parish School Board serves the town.[32]

Prior to Hurricane Rita's impact in September 2005, Cameron Elementary School served pre-kindergarten through 7th grade students,[33] while high schoolers attended Johnson Bayou High School. Hurricane Rita damaged both schools and also South Cameron High School, a K–12 school in Creole. Students from both high schools shared Grand Lake High School's campus with Grand Lake for nearly a year. In fall 2006, using portable buildings, high school students returned to the Johnson Bayou campus while Cameron Elementary, South Cameron Elementary, and South Cameron High School students were consolidated on the South Cameron High School campus.[34][35][36]

Hurricane Ike in 2008 caused varying degrees of damage to every school and library in Cameron Parish. Most were flooded by storm surge and sustained wind damage, and as a result, all schools were closed.[37] Four new schools were built over the following seven years, the last being a new Johnson Bayou High School near Cameron.[13]

The Cameron Parish Public Library operated the main Cameron Parish Library in Cameron. As of 2024 negative effects from a hurricane mean the library is not open.[38] The current building opened after a previous one was razed by Hurricane Ike, with yet another one razed by Hurricane Rita before it. In 2020 Rick Rojas of The New York Times described the current library as "like a fortress on stilts".[15] For a period beginning on April 1, 2010, the ex-Wendell Electric and Hardware Store served as the library.[39]

Cameron Parish is in the service area of Sowela Technical Community College.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 19, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011.
  4. ^ William Henry Perrin, ed. (1891). Southwest Louisiana Biographical and Historical. New Orleans: Gulf Publishing. OCLC 5514506. Archived from the original on February 16, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020 – via Mike Miller, Cameron Parish history, Louisiana, USGenWeb (2000).
  5. ^ Robert Benoit; Archives Department, McNeese State University (2000). Imperial Calcasieu. Images of America. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia. p. 62. ISBN 9780738505817. Archived from the original on November 10, 2023. Retrieved November 5, 2020.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Donald J. Millet (Summer 1987). "Cattle and Cattlemen of Southwest Louisiana, 1860–1900". Louisiana History. 28 (3): 327. JSTOR 4232599. Archived from the original on November 10, 2023. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  7. ^ Tonja Koob Marking; Jennifer Snape (2012). Louisiana's Oil Heritage. Images of America. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia. p. 82. ISBN 9780738594071. Archived from the original on November 10, 2023. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  8. ^ Bob Henson. "Hurricane Audrey (August 19, 1998 Broadcast)". The Weather Notebook. Archived from the original on September 8, 2005. Retrieved September 28, 2005.
  9. ^ a b "Rita ravages region near state line". CNN. September 26, 2005. Archived from the original on October 1, 2005. Retrieved September 26, 2005.
  10. ^ John Snell (October 6, 2020). "Hurricane Laura surge was one for the record books". WAFB. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  11. ^ "Tropical Weather: Hurricane Rita". National Weather Service. Archived from the original on February 22, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  12. ^ "Hurricane History (Page 15)" (PDF). National Weather Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2017. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c Billy Gunn (September 27, 2015). "A smaller Cameron Parish emerges 10 years after Hurricane Rita's devastation". The Acadiana Advocate. Archived from the original on November 4, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  14. ^ Michael Kunzelman (September 23, 2010). "5 years after Rita hit, some left out of recovery". NBC News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 23, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Rick Rojas (October 6, 2020) [2020-09-23]. "After Storms, They Built Higher. They Dread Doing It Again". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 10, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Ashley Joseph (September 30, 2020). "Ravaged South Cameron Memorial Hospital to open as 'makeshift hospital' for the foreseeable future". KPLC. Archived from the original on October 3, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  17. ^ "Hurricane Laura Makes Landfall Near Cameron Louisiana". Twitter.com. National Hurricane Center. August 27, 2020. Archived from the original on August 27, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Latest: Laura makes landfall in southwest Louisiana". WTOP. August 27, 2020. Archived from the original on August 27, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  19. ^ Ashley Cusick (August 30, 2020). "Residents get first look at Cameron, La., nearly obliterated in Hurricane Laura". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 17, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  20. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  21. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Cameron CDP, Louisiana". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  22. ^ "Cameron, Louisiana Climate". www.bestplaces.net. Archived from the original on February 20, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  23. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  24. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 6, 2022. Retrieved July 29, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 30, 2023. Retrieved July 29, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 30, 2023. Retrieved July 29, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 31, 2021. Retrieved July 29, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 30, 2023. Retrieved July 29, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 30, 2023. Retrieved July 29, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 9, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  31. ^ "Post Office Location - CAMERON." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
  32. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Cameron Parish, LA" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  33. ^ "Faculty and Staff". Cameron Elementary School. Archived from the original on June 28, 2004.
  34. ^ Pam Dixon (May 19, 2006). "What's ahead for Cameron schools?". KPLC-TV. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012.
  35. ^ Pam Dixon (August 20, 2006). "Cameron students return to campus after hurricane". KPLC-TV. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012.
  36. ^ Pam Dixon (September 12, 2006). "Rebuilding Cameron schools". KPLC. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012.
  37. ^ "Ike Damage to Schools". Library Journal. November 15, 2013. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  38. ^ "About Our Branches". Cameron Parish Public Library. Retrieved February 29, 2024. Cameron Main Library 512 Marshall St Cameron, LA 70631
  39. ^ "Cameron Main Library". Cameron Parish Library. Retrieved February 29, 2024. 512 Marshall St Cameron, LA 70631
  40. ^ "Our Colleges". Louisiana's Technical and Community Colleges. Archived from the original on June 21, 2021. Retrieved June 3, 2021.

External links[edit]