This glossary is a living document of agencies and programs you may want to better understand if you’re living in southwest Louisiana.

We’ll be updating periodically. Submit any acronym, term, or program you’re curious about here by emailing community@southerlymag.org.

Federal agencies

To find out more about federal agencies including FEMA and HUD, and learn about laws that impact disaster recovery in Louisiana, read our disaster glossary here.

State agencies

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ): Provides “service to the people of Louisiana through comprehensive environmental protection in order to promote and protect health, safety and welfare while considering sound policies that are consistent with statutory mandates.” LDEQ oversees air, land, and water quality in the state.

The department is divided into five offices and regional offices:

Office of the Secretary: Facilitates achievement of environmental improvements by coordinating the other program offices’ work to reduce quantity and toxicity of emissions, representing the Department when dealing with external agencies, providing legal counsel to the Department, communicating effectively with the public, and by promoting initiatives that serve a broad environmental mandate.

Office of Management and Finance: Budget, personnel, contracts, and general operational duties are the responsibility of the Office of Management and Finance, managed by the Undersecretary, who is appointed by the Governor.

Office of Environmental Services: The stated mission is to “ensure that the citizens have a clean and healthy environment to live and work in for present and future generations. This will be accomplished by regulating pollution sources, providing permitting activities consistent with laws and regulations, providing interface between the department and businesses and customers, providing permit support services and improved public participation.”

Office of Environmental Compliance: The stated mission is to ensure “the public and occupational welfare of the people and environmental resources of Louisiana by conducting inspections of permitted facilities and activities, responding to environmental emergencies and issuing sound enforcement actions.”

Office of Environmental Assessment: Consists of leadership from the following departments who work together to resolve issues: Assistant Secretary; Air Planning and Assessment – Administrator; Remediation – Administrator; Underground Storage Tanks – Administrator; and the Water Planning and Assessment Division – Administrator.

Regional Offices: There are eight regional offices across Louisiana.

Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP):The state agency that oversees and coordinates emergency preparation and response following hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. (Source)

read more about environmental regulation in louisiana here

Parish agencies

Calcasieu Parish School Board (CPSB): The 5th largest school district in the state. The school system employs 4,500 residents, 2,500 teachers, and has 25,000 students. (Source)

The board is tasked with hiring the superintendent, adopting policies, approving the budget, and holding their executive and themselves publicly accountable for how well their students are achieving.

Police Jury: The mission of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is to provide the people of Calcasieu Parish with high-quality services and actions that benefit present and future generations throughout Southwest Louisiana. Services include but are not limited to: Animal Control and Adoption, Emergency Preparedness (Homeland Security), Public Works, Human Services, Public Health, etc.

Police Jury consist of 15 Jurors who are elected to serve 15 single-member districts covering the entire parish. Terms are four years.

Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness: This department is responsible for the preparation before an emergency or crisis occurs, the responding and managing of the event, and the supporting and rebuilding afterwards. Dick Gremillion is the director. (Source)

Planning and Zoning Commission: The Calcasieu Parish Zoning and Development Ordinance was adopted to “promote the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community.” Comprehensive zoning was established in the early 1980s, and the commission is tasked with setting ordinances and regulatory standards for growth and development.  (Source)

SWLA Regional Planning Commission (formerly IMCAL): The Regional Planning Commission (RPC) promotes economic growth in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis Parishes, and greater Lake Charles. (Source)

City agencies

City Council, Lake Charles: The City of Lake Charles operates under a mayor-city council government as established by the city charter. The city is divided into seven districts with each district having an elected official who resides within that district. Council members are responsible for and responsive to the citizens who elected them.(Source)

Lake Charles Planning and Zoning: This agency, like its parish counterpart, handles zoning and land use enforcement, historic preservation, downtown development, subdivision administration and floodplain management. (Source)

Port Board: The Port of Lake Charles is a seaport in Lake Charles on the Calcasieu Ship Channel. It’s the nation’s 14th-busiest port district, based on tonnage. The channel runs 36 miles and extends out into the Gulf of Mexico another 32 miles. The Port of Lake Charles’ official name is the Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal District, which is 203 square miles. The main focus of the port’s website is promoting industry and growth, especially major LNG exports. (Source)

Here’s an example of the minutes for the port board, which updates the public about lobbying, economic growth, and monthly reports about the port and channel. (Source)

Civil Service Board: A seven-member body that regulates state personnel activities, and hears appeals from state employees and agencies. Commission meetings and hearings are held monthly and are open to the public. Six of the Commission members are appointed by the governor; the seventh is an employee representative elected by fellow state employees. Each member serves a six year term. When choosing an appointed member, the Governor must select from a list of three people nominated by the president of one of the state’s major private universities. (Source)

DeQuincy City Council: Similar goals as Lake Charles City Council, but for the small town of Dequincy. Here’s the website.

Sulphur City Council: Similar goals as Lake Charles City Council, but for the small town of Sulphur. Here’s the website.

Iowa City Council: Similar goals as Lake Charles City Council, but for the small town of Iowa. Here’s the website.

Westlake City Council: Similar goals as Lake Charles City Council, but for the small town of Westlake. Here’s the website.

curious to learn more?