Yesterday, I wrote about moving to Lake Charles, and about how much I love it here. Today, I thought I’d tell you a few things I’ve learned about this wonderful city. Or haven’t learned, as the case may be.

To start with, Ryan Street is a thoroughfare of madness and despair, and should be avoided at all costs. But you can’t, because there’s a ton of great places on it. There’s even a Ryan’s on Ryan Street that I want to invite my friends named Ryan to because it’d just be so meta for Ryan and Ryan to eat at Ryan’s on Ryan that I can't even stand it.

There’s also a crazy traffic light on Ryan that haunts my soul. You probably know the one I’m talking about: at the East and West School Street intersection. Going either way down Ryan, the second light at that intersection is like a mysterious ninja lurking in the shadows. You know it’s there; you just don’t know when it’ll jump out of the bushes and try to murder you in the face.

It’s called a louver light, which was news to me but probably everyone in Louisiana already knows because it’s a French word, which is a language I probably should’ve studied in college because my dad told me it was basically the same as the Spanish I took in high school, just with different words.

He’s always been great with the wisdom, my dad.

Scott Olson
Scott Olson

Anyway, it’s designed so that drivers can’t see what the light’s doing until they’re right up on it. I guess the logic is so people either don’t get confused about which light at which part of the intersection is green, or it’s to get people to drive slowly and pay attention before just blowing through the intersection like they were going to do anyway.

Which brings me to another thing I’ve learned about Lake Charles: A lot of drivers around here believe that the speed limit is something that happens to other people. I’m pretty sure my stubborn refusal to speed has triggered some kind of murderous rage lurking deep in the reptilian brains of every single person who has angrily zoomed past me like I’d just set their house on fire.


But the roads here are crazy. Turn lanes are so rare they’re probably on some kind of federally protected list or something, and there’s a conspicuous lack of feeder roads. Or frontage roads, if you swing that way on the terminology tree.

On a return trip to Texas during our move, I thought I was going to get onto 210 West, so I drove beneath the underpass and prepared to turn left. Except that I couldn’t, because there wasn’t a road there.

What I should’ve done was turn left before going under 210, because the feeder road is two-way and bounces back and forth between which side of the highway it’s on like I DON’T KNOW.

Confused young man in the car stopped by policeman

I’m learning my way, though. The roads actually start to make sense after you drive them for a while, and I’m using my GPS less and less as I familiarize myself with where things are. (And also because I can’t always do what the little computer woman is yelling at me to do because I'm sorry, but I'm not brave enough to try turning left across several lanes of madcap drivers doing Mach 5 down Common Street at 7:30 in the morning.)

Mostly, I’m learning where things are in relation to all the great local restaurants that dot the area. When I needed to get my water switched on, I looked up where to go and figured out that City Hall was over near Cotten’s Downtown. The last turn I make on my way home from work is right past Darrell’s. Paper Heroes (a comic book store I’ll go to a lot because I’m a huge nerd) is near Southern Spice. The mall is next to KD’s Diner.

You get the idea.

I’m going to get so fat here, it’s ridiculous.

Also, why are there so many mattress stores? And does the fact that there’s so many have anything to do with all the “adult” shops I’ve seen? And what’s the deal with all the Wendy’s? And holy crap, there’s a PIRATE FESTIVAL next month?!

I have so much to learn.

More From 92.9 The Lake