Natalie McLendon

Natalie McLendon

Natalie covers public meetings and environmental news for Southwest Louisiana Journal and Southerly. She is a sociology graduate of McNeese State University.

A fallen tree sits atop the Epps Annex Library in Lake Charles after Hurricane Laura struck in August 2020.

Frustration mounts as storm-damaged Lake Charles library remains closed

By: - July 27, 2023

LAKE CHARLES — A gray trailer sits in the parking lot of the hurricane-battered library in north Lake Charles, Louisiana. Placed on the property in March 2021 through a grant by the American Library Association Disaster Relief Fund, the Epps Express Library offers limited services and has a maximum capacity of five people, including staff. […]

A Pride flag reads "Abide No Hatred" is hung at the entrance of Castaways, venue for the third annual SWLA Pride Fest weekend

Concern, community mark Pride gathering in rural Louisiana

By: - June 25, 2023

BIG LAKE —  Fifteen miles south of downtown Lake Charles, past the Devil’s Elbow community and over the Black Bayou Bridge, the small unincorporated area of Big Lake is an unlikely setting for an LGBTQ+ celebration. Yet hundreds of people found this remote corner of Calcasieu Parish for Pride of SWLA’s third annual Pride Fest, […]

The exterior of the home where Carolyn Dunham Bryant died April 25, 2023

Neighbors shocked woman whose complaint led to Emmett Till’s death lived quietly nearby

By: - May 4, 2023

WESTLAKE — Emmett Till was lynched as a child, and his horrific death sparked the nation’s move toward the Civil Rights era. Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman whose accusation led to Till’s death, lived a long life that came to a quiet end last week — much to the surprise and disgust of some Calcasieu […]

A sign at the entrance of KIK Consumer Products' BioLab Division, the site of a chlorine gas leak Wednesday, March 22, 2023.

Chlorine leak reveals gaps in Lake Charles area’s alert system

By: - March 29, 2023

LAKE CHARLES — Every Monday at noon for years, the sirens would ring out. To the residents of Westlake, Lake Charles, and surrounding areas, it was nothing unusual—just a test of the Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER) system. But Hurricane Laura in 2020 damaged many of these sirens. Unfortunately, that meant there were no […]