Mayor Nic Hunter
- Lake Charles, LA
A life-long resident of Lake Charles and small business owner, Nic Hunter was elected to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury in 2011 and was in his second term when he was elected to the office of Mayor of Lake Charles on Saturday, April 29, 2017.
Early in life Mayor Hunter acquired his work ethic by bussing tables and washing dishes at his grandparents’ restaurant, Harlequin Steaks & Seafood, which they opened in 1956. With his grandmother’s blessing, he began running the restaurant full time at the age of 17. Today he is a partner in The Villa Harlequin restaurant.
Mayor Hunter graduated from St. Louis Catholic High School in 2002. In 2007, he received a Bachelor of Arts in History from McNeese State University. Mayor Hunter credits his experience at McNeese for sparking an interest in public service; and so he established an endowed scholarship through the McNeese State University Foundation, the Dr. Robert Forrest History Scholarship.
Since taking office on July 1, 2017, Mayor Hunter has successfully enacted a number of key initiatives, including increasing funding for drainage improvements by 93 percent. He launched the Partners in Parks Initiative in July 2018, securing more than $750,000 in private donations and grants. These funds have been used to transform several City parks and re-invigorate programming while inspiring various community and civic organizations to partner with the City. The Partners in Parks Initiative received a first place Community Achievement Award from the Louisiana Municipal Association in August 2019.
Since taking office, Mayor Hunter has had a steady focus on infrastructure and economic development.
Making good on his promise to “turn dirt on the lakefront,” Mayor Hunter announced the lakefront development project Port Wonder, a $20 million plus science and nature center and state of the art children’s museum. This historic project was made possible by securing dozens of public and private funding partners. An official groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site on June 30, 2021. Port Wonder was a catalyst for an additional lakefront announcement. The Crying Eagle Brewery development partners will be breaking ground on a restaurant and micro-brewery in the first quarter of 2022.
With a deep love for the community and a passion to give back to the City Mayor Hunter has always looked for ways to encourage philanthropy and the entrepreneurial spirit in others. Several efforts that he has focused on specifically have been children in need in SWLA, efforts to support active military and military veterans, and encouraging animal adoption. Working with United Way and the Community Foundation, Mayor Hunter has rallied hundreds of thousands of dollars for such efforts in his tenure as mayor.
Mayor Hunter has passionately led the community through a string of natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey (August 2017), the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 2020- Present), Hurricane Laura (August 2020), Hurricane Delta (October 2020), Winter Storm Uri (February 2021) and a 1,000 Year Rain Event/Flash Flood (May 2021). His tireless efforts have given citizens a voice as he has staunchly advocated for the needs of Southwest Louisiana at the local, state and federal levels.
Opening Keynote session with special guests