Downtown Arcadia, Louisiana
|Official name: Town of Arcadia|
|Elevation||384 ft (117 m)|
|Area||7.9 km2 (3.1 sq mi)|
|- land||7.9 km2 (3 sq mi)|
|- water||0.0 km2 (0 sq mi)|
|Density||369.0 / sq mi (142.5 / km2)|
|Mayor||Eugene Smith (D)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
Arcadia is a town in and the parish seat of Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, United States. The population was 2,919 at the 2010 census. Arcadia has the highest elevation of any town in Louisiana.
In 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were sought throughout the Southeast for their robbing banks and associated crimes. They were killed near Arcadia by law-enforcement officers from Bienville Parish and Dallas County, Texas. Their bodies were brought for embalming to the former Conger Funeral Home in Arcadia. As word of the killing of the outlaws spread, large crowds of onlookers were drawn to the funeral home, which was also a furniture store. The owner's wife, Inez Conger, grew so angry at the many gawkers standing on the store's tables and chairs to try to get a look at the bodies, that she began splashing formaldehyde around the store in an attempt to drive the crowds away. The bodies were sent to Dallas for separate funerals and interments. The ambush occurred southwest of Arcadia on Louisiana State Highway 154 between Gibsland and Sailes. Gibsland has been a destination for tourism associated with Bonnie and Clyde. L.J. "Boots" Hinton, son of posse member Ted Hinton, operates the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum.
Arcadia has been a center of the poultry industry, with up to 300 independent growers for years supplying the feed mill of Pilgrim's Pride, a poultry company, in Arcadia. In 2009 the company announced the closing of the mill and ending of other operations in nearby Athens in Claiborne Parish, Choudrant in Lincoln Parish, and Farmerville in Union Parish. The closings were estimated to cost North Louisiana a combined 1,300 jobs. Several weeks later, Pilgrim's Pride accepted an $80 million offer from Foster Farms of California to purchase their operations. In addition to the 1,300 direct jobs, mostly in Farmerville, the purchase provides a continuing market for some 300 growers. Foster Farms put up $40 million and the State of Louisiana a matching $40 million. Foster Farms will invest $10 million in capital improvements at the Farmerville plant, to be matched by the state, in an agreement announced by Governor Bobby Jindal.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,041 people, 1,071 households, and 737 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,025.6 people per square mile (395.3/km²). There were 1,231 housing units at an average density of 415.2 per square mile (160.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 37.98% White, 60.57% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.61% of the population.
There were 1,071 households, out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 27.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.1% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the town of Arcadia, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 81.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 73.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $21,661, and the median income for a family was $26,250. Males had a median income of $25,885 versus $17,279 for females. The per capita income for the town was $10,962. About 27.1% of families and 31.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.7% of those under age 18 and 20.6% of those age 65 or over.
The Bienville Parish Courthouse is located in a residential section of Arcadia.
The weekly newspaper, The Bienville Democrat, is edited in the office on North Railroad Avenue in Arcadia by Priscilla Smith, printed on Wednesdays in Natchitoches, and then distributed across Bienville Parish. In 2013, Smith, who had been with the paper for thirteen years, was named "Woman of the Year" by the Bienville Parish Chamber of Commerce. She comes from a unique background. An Arkansas native born to a family of seventeen children, Smith was separated from her family at the age of nine and placed in foster care. Her father was a disabled veteran of World War II. While she was living in Oklahoma, she was reunited with her mother after many years. The two moved to Arcadia. Smith also was reunited with her missing siblings. In 1990, she married Don Smith; they have three children, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Arcadia is a part of the Bienville Parish School Board. Arcadia's two public schools are located in the Arcadia School Complex, which encompasses both Arcadia High School and Crawford Elementary.
Among the numerous churches in downtown Arcadia are First United Methodist Church and the First Baptist Church, both in large sanctuaries. The Louisiana Baptist Convention was founded in 1848 in nearby Mount Lebanon.
- H. Welborn Ayres, practiced law in Arcadia prior to becoming a Fourth Judicial District judge in 1942
- Marcus Fizer, professional basketball player, former collegiate All-American at Iowa State University (1999–2000) and McDonald's All-American from Arcadia High School (1996–1997)
- Berry Hinton, Louisiana Tech University baseball coach from 1943 to 1967; died in Arcadia in 2000
- Dub Jones, retired Pro Bowler born in 1924
- Henderson Jordan (1896–1958), Bienville Parish sheriff who participated in the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde
- Danny Roy Moore (born 1925), former state senator from Bienville and Claiborne parishes
- Prentiss Oakley (1905–1957), Jordan's successor as sheriff; also part of the posse that brought down Bonnie and Clyde
- Bob Reese, Republican political activist born in Arcadia
- Bettye Swann, soul singer best known for the 1967 hit "Make Me Yours"
- Lorris M. Wimberly, former four-time Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, farmer and insurance agent
- Rush Wimberly, lawyer in Arcadia and Shreveport, member of both houses of the Louisiana legislature from 1900 to 1912; former Bienville Parish attorney and school superintendent
- Mayor Eugene Smith is listed among the state and local officials who have endorsed the reelection in 2014 of Democrat U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
- "Landrieu’s GOP Endorsements Pale In Comparison To 2008 Election". thehayride.com. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Arcadia town, Louisiana". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Leeper, Clare D'Artois (19 October 2012). Louisiana Place Names: Popular, Unusual, and Forgotten Stories of Towns, Cities, Plantations, Bayous, and Even Some Cemeteries. LSU Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8071-4740-5.
- Greg Hilburn and Robbie Evans. "Pilgrim's Pride decision a bombshell: Sites closing in Arcadia, Athens, Choudrant, Farmerville". Shreveport Times. Retrieved March 1, 2009.[dead link]
- Greg Hilburn (March 21, 2009). "Saved: 1,300 jobs". Monroe News Star. Retrieved March 21, 2009.[dead link]
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Calatanello, Rebecca. "The Long Road to New Bethany and Back." The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on June 3, 2014. "Fifty miles east of Shreveport, wind whipped through the nearly empty parking lot outside the Arcadia courthouse. "
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Google Maps
- Mary K. Hamner, "Bienville C of C names Man, Woman of 2013", The Piney Woods Journal, Vol. 18, No. 12 (May 2013), pp. 1, 3, published in Winnfield, Louisiana
- FAA Airport Master Record for 5F0 ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective 30 June 2011.
- "Joseph Rush Wimberly, I". usgwarchives.net. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
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