Project History

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August of 2005 and has hyper-focused Americans on hurricanes ever since. Then just three weeks later, Hurricane Rita slammed onto Louisiana's shores. These two Category 5 (Category 3 at landfall) hurricanes caused $91 Billion in damages and killed more than 1,800.

But the National Hurricane Museum & Science Center project was underway well before that, beginning in 2002 in preparation for the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Audrey, itself a deadly storm which ushered in the modern era of weather reporting. Here is a chronology of the NHMSC project to date...

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Scenic Byways grant received to preserve historic documents, contract with museum consultants for conceptual phase, and create sponsor/partnership materials for the Hurricane Audrey Memorial Museum
FHWA Scenic Byways grant received for design/fabrication consultant for the Hurricane Audrey Memorial Museum
June 2005
Contract with project coordinator for NHMSC project
August 2005
Request for proposals for exhibit design concepts
November 2005
Post Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the Creole Nature Trail Board of Commissioners agrees to broaden scope of project and renames project the National Hurricane Museum & Science Center
December 2005
Review of exhibit design RFP’s and date set for top 5 (of 14 proposals submitted) companies to make oral presentations
February 2006
Southwest Louisiana Design Team (SLDC) chosen to create Master Plan.
February 2006
Submittal of $1.36 million grant request, through Federal Highway Administration National Scenic Byways program, for partial funding of architectural and exhibit schematic design and programing
February 2006
Creole Nature Trail All-American Road District meetings with congressional delegation, NOAA and National Weather Service
April 2006
Meetings with mayors, police juries, Southwest Louisiana legislative delegation, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and other stakeholders to ask for their support
April 2006
SLDT begin work on feasibility study and site selection criteria
May 2006
Louisiana Senate Concurrent Resolution 49 to commend and express support for the creation of the NHMSC in Southwest Louisiana
June 2006
SLDT facilitation of design charrettes
June 2006
Work with Congressman Charles Boustany and Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter to obtain congressional resolution to commend and express support for the creation of the museum/science center, and on future appropriations
July 2006
Creation of nonprofit, 501(c)(3) status for National Hurricane Museum & Science Center, Inc.
August 2006
SLDT final market feasibility report, site selection weighting and exhibit concepts
September 2006
Announcement of project plans, market feasibility and Congressional Resolution to media and public in Washington, DC, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles
September 2006
The Office of Natural and Human Environment announced that Acting Secretary Maria Cino had awarded (among others) the $1.36 million request for the National Hurricane Museum & Science Center, Phase III. This grant, which is an 80% Federal, 20% local match funding, represents the largest request ever made in the history of Louisiana Scenic Byways
January 2007
SLDT finalized site criteria for location of NHMSC
February 2007
Issued RFP for documentary production to record survivors and rescuers from hurricanes Audrey, Rita and Katrina
April 2007
Contracted with Fresh Media, LLC, to produce documentary raw footage to be used for promotional content for the Center and fund raising purposes. Footage includes testimonials from survivors of Hurricanes Audrey (1957), Katrina (2005) and Rita (2005)
May 2007
Hosted (two) public review and input meetings of top four sites for NHMSC
Summer 2007
Met with property owners of top four sites for NHMSC to determine feasibility/costs for each site
September 2007
Received documentary work from Fresh Media Click here to view
December 2007
Announcement of recommended sites for NHMSC: Lake Charles downtown lakefront area and Cameron Courthouse  Square
December 2007
Sent final draft of RFQ for NHMSC schematic design ($1.36 million grant) to Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for approval
June 2008
RFQ for NHMSC schematic design ($1.36 million grant) made available, through Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, for proposals from architectural firms and exhibit designers
August 2008
Hired Chora Creative, LLC, to consult on fund raising and board development organization. Conducted workshops with Creole Nature Trail organization.
October 2008
SmithGroup, Inc. and Eisterhold Associates, LLC, chosen as building and exhibit schematic design team. In addition to the design work, the team will produce focus group research and a branding package for the project. Bernstein-Rein chosen to conduct research and logo design
November 2008
Schematic design work began; will continue through 2010.
Jan-Mar 2009
Focus group research conducted in Houston, Atlanta, Mobile, Chicago and New York City
April 2009
NHMSC concept reviewed with Bill Read, Director, National Hurricane Center, at annual National Hurricane Conference
November 2009
Initial plan and timeline for fund and board development reviewed by  in-houseCreative and Chora Creative.
November 2009
Cooperative Endeavor Agreement signed with City of Lake Charles, to provide funding, location and infrastructure improvements
Jan 2010
Begin work on NHMSC Business Plan and Demand Analysis
Jan 2010
Merger of NHMSC with Americas Wetland Center; present Board of Directors elected; Gray Stream, Chairman
May 2010
Publication of Updated Master Plan including demand analysis, economic impact study, financial feasibility, and organizational and  operating budgets.
November 2010
First publication of Schematic Design of building and exhibits; Smith Group (architects) and Eisterhold Associates (exhibit design).
June 2011
New website, Angel Donor Campaign local community public relations campaign to promote move from Tract II to Tract I–D on the lakefront in downtown Lake Charles.
September 2011
Formed Education Committee in conjunction with McNeese State University’s Burton School of Education led by Dean Wayne Fetter, Ph.D.; began work on K-12 digital-based curricula.
October 2011
City public referendum on the move to Tract I-D from Tract II on the lakefront in downtown Lake Charles approved by an overwhelming 70% positive vote.
January 2012
Rehired Chora, the DC—based consulting firm, to begin our local, regional and national fund raising campaign and board development process.
May 2012
Chora visits Lake Charles to outline top 100+ donor prospects and top 10 board member prospects. Board developed and submitted capital outlay request to State of Louisiana. State grants $5.3 million in capital outlay funding.




41 weeks 6 days ago
A free webinar on hurricanes will be offered to grades 4 - 6 on May 10 at 10:30 a.m. EDT. Register here:
1 year 4 weeks ago
Rumor has it that Hog Island near New York vanished because of a hurricane in 1893. Here's what really happened:
1 year 4 weeks ago
#Hurricane names Matthew & Otto have been retired, and will be replaced by Martin & Owen.
1 year 5 weeks ago
The return of El Nino is looking more & more likely - that means a less active hurricane season for U.S.
1 year 5 weeks ago
The NHC is changing the forecast cone to help you better understand the impact of a particular storm where you live.
1 year 5 weeks ago
This animation by NASA follows Hurricane Isabel (2003) from its birthplace in East Africa, to the United States.
1 year 6 weeks ago
NOAA put 170 years of hurricane history into one interactive site. If you're really into maps, this is for you:
1 year 6 weeks ago
Here's 5 changes coming to the way the NHC reports on #hurricanes this season.
1 year 6 weeks ago
#DYK A hurricane makes “landfall” when its center, not its edge, crosses the coastline.
1 year 7 weeks ago