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city, seat (1852) of Calcasieu parish, southwestern Louisiana, U.S., on the Calcasieu River about 70 miles (113 km) west of Lafayette. Adjacent to the town of Sulphur, it is a port of entry on a 34-mile (55-km) deepwater channel (completed 1926) and is linked to the Gulf of Mexico via the 20-mile- (32 km-) long Calcasieu Lake. Initially a port for pirates, especially Jean Laffite, the site was first settled about 1781 and named for Charles Sallier, an early lakeside settler. In the 1880s it was promoted as a base for exploring the heavily timbered pinelands to the north and west. The advent of railroads stimulated the timber industry and brought grain farmers from the Midwest, who developed nearby what is now the principal rice-growing area of the United States.