Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
|Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana|
Calcasieu Parish Courthouse
Location in the state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
|Founded||March 24, 1840|
|Named for||Atakapa word for crying eagle|
|Largest city||Lake Charles|
|• Total||1,094 sq mi (2,833 km2)|
|• Land||1,064 sq mi (2,756 km2)|
|• Water||31 sq mi (80 km2), 2.8%|
|• Density||181/sq mi (70/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
Calcasieu Parish is part of the Lake Charles, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 194,138. It is also located near the Beaumont–Port Arthur (Texas), Lafayette, and Alexandria metropolitan areas.
Calcasieu Parish was created March 24, 1840, from the parish of Saint Landry, one of the original nineteen civil parishes established by the Louisiana Legislature in 1807. The original parish seat was chosen as Comasaque Bluff, that was east of the river and later called Marsh Bayou Bluff. On December 8, 1840, the seat of justice was named Marion. Jacob Ryan was successful, in 1852, in having the parish seat moved from Marion to the east bank of Lake Charles. As the population in this area grew over the years, the original Calcasieu Parish has since been divided into five smaller parishes. The original area of Calcasieu Parish is called Imperial Calcasieu.
- 1 History
- 2 Law and government
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Politics
- 6 Education
- 7 National Guard
- 8 Communities
- 9 Notable residents
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The name Calcasieu [p] comes from the Atakapan word, "quelqueshue", meaning "crying eagle". It was originally the name of an Atakapa chief, but became the name given to what was formerly the Rio Hondo River (Rio Stondo or "Deep River"), now the Calcasieu River. The parish then inherited this name.
The early history of the parish dates back to the time of the Spanish occupation of Louisiana, when, in 1797, Jose M. Mora was granted a large tract of land between the Rio Hondo (now Calcasieu River) and the Sabine River, known for years as the "Neutral Strip". The area became a refuge for outlaws and filibusters from Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi. A long in dispute between Spain and the United States, after France had ceded Louisiana to the American government in 1803, was definitively acquired by the United States with the Adams-Onis Treaty in 1819. The treaty was formally ratified on February 22, 1821. By an act of Congress, approved on March 3, 1823, this strip of land was attached to the district south of the Red River.
Early settlers to the area included the Ryans, Perkins, LeBleus, Deviers, and Hendersons. Acadian settlers, from the eastern parishes of Louisiana, also emigrated to this area, resulting in a diverse ethnic mix in the population, consisting of Creoles, Acadians, Anglo-Americans, and Indians.
When "Imperial Calcasieu Parish" was created in 1840 from the Parish of Saint Landry, it actually comprised the area of what is now five parishes. On August 24, 1840, six men met to organize as representatives for six wards that later became five parishes. The meeting was held in a private dwelling, that was the rough-hewed home of Arsene LeBleu near present-day Chloe. The first jury men were David Simmons, Alexander Hebert, Michel Pithon, Henry Moss, Rees Perkins, and Thomas M. Williams. They first order of business was the elected officers, a parish clerk, and a set of simple parliamentary rules which would give the president authority to keep the meetings orderly and progressive. The jury adopted all of the laws then in force in Saint Landry Parish. Appointments were made for a parish constable, a parish treasurer, two parish assessors, and an operator of the ferry at Buchanan's crossing. The assessors were given two months and to assess all of the property in the parish and given a salary of $90. On September 14, 1840, a survey was authorized of land known then as Marsh Bayou Bluff for the purpose of establishing a seat of justice and for the erection of a courthouse and jail. On December 8, 1840 it was resolved that the seat of justice be given the name of Marion. In 1843, the Legislature authorized a vote on moving the parish seat, but it was not until 1852, that Jacob Ryan was successful in having the parish seat moved from Marion to the east bank of Lake Charles. This parish seat was incorporated as a town in 1857 as Charleston and was reincorporated in 1868 as Lake Charles. It is located about six miles (10 km) from the original parish seat of Marion, which is now known as Old Town. The name, Lake Charles, perpetuates the memory of one of the first settlers, Charles Sallier, an Italian who took up land in this area at the beginning of the 19th century.
In 1870 Cameron Parish was taken from the south portion of Imperial Calcasieu that remained until 1912, at which time it comprised an area of over 3,600 square miles (9,300 km2), was the largest parish in the state, and for this reason is sometimes called "Imperial Calcasieu". In 1912, the three parishes of Allen, Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis, with a total area of approximately 2,548 square miles (6,600 km2), were formed from the Parish of Calcasieu. Being the last parishes created in Louisiana it is believed to be the reason for the apparent population decline of Calcasieu Parish, between 1910 and 1920, as seen in the censuses for those years.
Older maps as show the Calcasieu to have been called "Bayou Quelqueshue", which means "crying eagle" in English, is said to have been the name of an Attakapas Indian chief who gave a peculiar cry like an eagle as he went into battle.
Law and government
Calcasieu Parish is governed by an elected body known as the Police Jury. There are 15 single-member Police Jury districts with a population of approximately 12,200 persons per district (based on the 2000 Census), and each district has one Juror elected for representation. This is in line with the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court of the "one man, one vote" theory. The U.S. Department of Justice requires reapportionment (or redistricting) of the parish following each official census, which can change the boundaries of the single member districts, to ensure that each Juror represents approximately the same number in population.
The first courthouse erected at Marion, a crudely built log cabin, was completed in August 1841. When the seat of justice was changed to Lake Charles in 1852, Sheriff Jacob Ryan with the help of his slave, Uncle George, and the aid of his good friend and fellow landowner, Samuel Adams Kirby, loaded the log cabin courthouse on an ox and took the small building through the piney woods to Lake Charles. A new wooden courthouse was then completed within a year. This courthouse was replaced in 1891 by a colonial brick building erected at a cost of $20,000, and in 1902 an annex was added to this building. This building was destroyed by a disastrous fire on April 23, 1910, as well as most of downtown Lake Charles, and many of the records of the parish were burned or damaged. On April 4, 1911, the Police Jury decided to build a new courthouse on the old site.
The courthouse was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 2, 1989. It is a brick and terracotta structure completed in 1912 at a cost of $200,000 and is a replica of the famous Villa Copra, known as the Rotunda in Vicenza, which was designed by a noted Italian architect, Andrea Palladio, whose work became known in the 17th and 18th centuries. Calcasieu Parish's replica was designed by Favrot and Livaudais of New Orleans. The dome atop the courthouse is of solid copper.
An annex containing two additional court rooms and additional space for the Clerk of Court and the Police Jury was added in the year 1958, and another annex for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals of the State of Louisiana was completed in 1960.
In 1967, a Parish Government Building was completed to house the various offices of the Police Jury. This building was expanded in 2003, and houses the following departments: Office of the Parish Administrator, Records Department, Division of Finance/Purchasing, Facilities Management, Human Resources Department, Division of Planning and Development, Division of Engineering and Public Works, and the Government Access Channel.
In 1987, a new building was constructed to house the District Attorney's Office. A new state-of-the-art correctional center was completed in 1990 to replace the old jail which was constructed in 1956, and a separate building was completed in 1991 for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. A newly constructed Judicial Center to house the Fourteenth Judicial District was completed in March 1994, and sits on the site of the old jail.
Between 1993 and 1998 an extensive interior and exterior restoration and renovation was performed on the Parish Courthouse originally built in 1912. The Courthouse houses several offices including the Clerk of Court, Juvenile and Family Court, Registrar of Voters, Sheriff's Civil Division, Veterans Affairs Office and others.
Adjacent counties and parishes
- Beauregard Parish (north)
- Jefferson Davis Parish (east)
- Cameron Parish (south)
- Orange County, Texas (west)
- Newton County, Texas (northwest)
- Lake Charles
- Calcasieu River
- Intracoastal Canal
- Ouiski Chitto Creek
- English Bayou
- West Fork
- Calcasieu Lake aka "Big Lake"
As of the census of 2010, there were 192,768 people, 73,996 households, and 50,490 families residing in the parish. The population density was 176 people per square mile (66/km²). There were 75,995 housing units at an average density of 71 per square mile (27/km²). 70.8% of the population were White, 24.9% Black or African American, 1.1% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 0.9% of some other race and 1.9% of two or more races. 2.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 24.9% were of French, French Canadian or Cajun, 8.4% American, 6.2% Irish, 6.2% English and 6.1% German ancestry. 5.98% reported speaking French or Cajun French at home, while 1.56% speak Spanish.
There were 73,996 households out of which 35.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.60% were married couples living together, 14.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.50% were non-families. 24.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the parish the population was spread out with 27.40% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 28.70% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 11.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 94.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.30 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $35,372, and the median income for a family was $41,903. Males had a median income of $36,569 versus $21,390 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $17,710. About 12.80% of families and 15.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.90% of those under age 18 and 14.20% of those age 65 or over.
A majority of Calcasieu Parish voted for Republican John McCain. He won 61% of the vote and 50,449 votes. Democrat Barack Obama won 37% of the votes and 30,244 votes. Although McCain did very well in Calcasieu Parish, the majority of voters here chose Democrat Mary Landrieu to be their U.S Senator. She won 41,183 votes and 51% of the vote. Her challenger, Republican John Kennedy won 36,855 votes and 46% of the vote. In 2004, RepublicanGeorge W. Bush won 58% of the vote and 46,075 votes. Democrat John F. Kerry won 41% of the vote and 32,864 votes.
Public schools are operated by the Calcasieu Parish Public School System.
Elements of the 256th IBCT and the 139TH RSG (Regional Support Group) reside in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The 256th IBCT deployed to Iraq twice, 2004-5 and 2010. De Quincy, Louisiana is the home of both the HHC 3-156TH Infantry Battalion and F Company of the 199th Forward Support Battalion. These units deployed to Iraq with the 256TH IBCT.
- A.C. Clemons (1921–1992) was the first declared Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate since Reconstruction. His district included part of Calcasieu Parish. In the major first portion of his legislative tenure, he was a Democrat.
- Dan Flavin (born 1957) is a former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. He operates a real estate office in Lake Charles.
- Lether Frazar (1904–1960) was the fourth president of McNeese State University, the second president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He died shortly after vacating the lieutenant governorship, which he held in the third term of Governor Earl Kemp Long.
- Gilbert Franklin Hennigan (1883-1960), served in the Louisiana Senate from Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jeff Davis parishes from 1944 to 1956. He worked to establish McNeese State University as a four-year college and to enact the state teacher retirement act. He was born in Meadows in Calcasieu Parish and also lived in Beauregard Parish.
- Ronnie Johns (born 1949) is a State Farm Insurance agency owner in Sulphur who served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1996 to 2008 and is the unopposed incoming state senator from District 27.
- Robert G. "Bob" Jones (born 1939), a Lake Charles stockbroker, served in both houses of the Louisiana legislature between 1968 and 1976 and was an unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial contender in the 1975 nonpartisan blanket primary. He later turned Republican, son of Sam Houston Jones.
- Sam Houston Jones (1897–1978), though born in nearby Beauregard Parish, practiced law in Lake Charles prior to his election as governor in 1940.
- Alvan Lafargue (1883–1962) was a 50-year physician who practiced primarily in Calcasieu Parish. He delivered more than five thousand babies. He was the mayor of Sulphur from 1926 to 1932.
- Coleman Lindsey (1892–1968) was born in a part of Calcasieu Parish that is now the Dry Creek community of Allen Parish. He was a state senator from Bossier and Webster parishs, lieutenant governor from 1939–1940, and a state court district judge in East Baton Rouge Parish from 1950 until his death.
- Guy Sockrider (1921-2011), businessman and state senator from Jennings and Lake Charles from 1948 to 1964
- Victor T. "Vic" Stelly (born 1941), former Republican state representative from Calcasieu Parish and author of the Stelly Plan
- Martin Waldron (1925–1981), winner of the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on unchecked spending on the Florida Turnpike.
- Wilbert Rideau (born 1943), winner of the George Polk Award and editor of The Angolite, the Louisiana State Penitentiary's prisoner-produced newsmagazine and the first prisoner-produced publication to receive freedom from censorship in American penal history. Wilbert Rideau was sentenced to death for murder in 1961 by an all-white, all-male jury in a trial called “kangaroo court proceedings” by the United States Supreme Court, which threw out the conviction. On January 15, 2005, after a fourth retrial, this time by a racially-mixed jury, Mr. Rideau was convicted of manslaughter, a crime for which he had already served 23 years more than the maximum sentence, and was released immediately.
- History of Lake Charles, Louisiana
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
[p] - The name "Calcasieu" is pronounced "cal-cuh-shu" with even emphasis on all syllables.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Ellender, Allie (May 2007). "A BRIEF HISTORY OF CALCASIEU PARISH". http://ereserves.mcneese.edu. McNeese State University. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Calcasieu Parish Police Jury -Retrieved 2010-12-22
- NRHP -Retrieved 2010-12-22
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "American FactFinder"
- "House District 35", Louisiana Encyclopedia (1999)
- Staff. "MARTIN O. WALDRON IS DEAD AT 56; REPORTING LED TO A PULITZER PRIZE", The New York Times, May 28, 1981. Accessed July 13, 2010.
- Heinrich, P. V., J. Snead, and R. P. McCulloh, 2002, Lake Charles 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangle. Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
||Newton County, Texas||Beauregard Parish|
|Orange County, Texas||Jefferson Davis Parish|