Ouachita Parish, Louisiana

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Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
Ouachita Parish Courthouse IMG 1301.JPG
Ouachita Parish Courthouse in Monroe is another project of the contractor George A. Caldwell
Seal of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
Seal
Map of Louisiana highlighting Ouachita Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the United States highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded March 31, 1807
Named for Ouachita people
Seat Monroe
Largest city Monroe
Area
 • Total 632 sq mi (1,637 km2)
 • Land 610 sq mi (1,580 km2)
 • Water 21 sq mi (54 km2), 3.4%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013) 156,220
 • Density 252/sq mi (97/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Ouachita Parish Public Library in downtown West Monroe

Ouachita Parish (French: Paroisse d'Ouachita) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 153,720.[1] The parish seat is Monroe.[2] The parish was formed in 1807.[3]

Ouachita Parish is part of the Monroe, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Prehistory[edit]

Ouachita Parish was the home to many succeeding Native American groups in the thousands of years before European settlements began. Peoples of the Marksville culture, Troyville culture, Coles Creek culture and Plaquemine culture built villages and mound sites throughout the area. Notable examples include the Filhiol Mound Site, located on a natural levee of the Ouachita River.[4]

Historic era[edit]

The parish bears the same name as the Ouachita River, which flows through southern Arkansas and northeastern Louisiana. In 1541, the first Europeans to set foot on the territory that is now Ouachita parish was the expedition of Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto. After crossing over onto the west bank of the Mississippi River near the White River, the expedition descended into Louisiana near the junction of the Ouachita and Tensas Rivers to avoid the muddy western banks of the Mississippi River. French settlers arrived in Ouachita Parish around 1720. In 1769, Alejandro O'Reilly claimed Ouachita Parish for Spain. A census of the parish was taken and the result was 110 people. In 1785, Juan Filhiol established the first European outpost in Louisiana, called Fort Miro, which became a city in 1805. Fort Miro was renamed the Ouachita Post in 1819, sixteen years after the Louisiana Purchase was signed. The Ouachita Post grew so large that it later became the city of Monroe around 1820, which is named for the first powered steamboat to sail the Ouachita River. On March 31, 1807, the Territory of Orleans was divided into 19 sub-districts. Ouachita Parish was one of these original 19 but was later broken up into eight other parishes (Morehouse, Caldwell, Union, Franklin, Tensas, Madison, East Carroll, and West Carroll). In 1853, Cottonport was formed in the northern part of Trenton. Finally, in 1882, Trenton was incorporated, only to surrender the town's charter in 1886. In 1883, the first railroad bridge across the Ouachita River was built. In 1916, the Monroe natural gas field was discovered. The field stretched over 500 square miles (1,000 km2) and was estimated to have 6,500,000,000,000 cubic feet (180 km3) of natural gas in it. This is what caused the city of Monroe to be known as the natural gas capital of the world for a time. The town of Sterlington was incorporated in August 1961, and in 1974 the town of Richwood was incorporated. Ouachita Parish's boundaries have changed 23 times during its history, mostly due to the formation of other parishes!

Geography[edit]

The Ouachita River separates Monroe from West Monroe near the parish courthouse.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 632 square miles (1,640 km2), of which 610 square miles (1,600 km2) is land and 21 square miles (54 km2) (3.4%) is water.[5]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent parishes[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 2,896
1830 5,140 77.5%
1840 4,640 −9.7%
1850 5,008 7.9%
1860 4,727 −5.6%
1870 11,582 145.0%
1880 14,685 26.8%
1890 17,985 22.5%
1900 20,947 16.5%
1910 25,830 23.3%
1920 30,319 17.4%
1930 54,337 79.2%
1940 59,168 8.9%
1950 74,713 26.3%
1960 101,663 36.1%
1970 115,387 13.5%
1980 139,241 20.7%
1990 142,191 2.1%
2000 147,250 3.6%
2010 153,720 4.4%
Est. 2013 156,220 1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 147,250 people, 55,216 households, and 38,319 families residing in the parish. The population density was 241 people per square mile (93/km²). There were 60,154 housing units at an average density of 98 per square mile (38/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 64.48% White, 33.63% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. 1.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 55,216 households out of which 34.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.70% were married couples living together, 17.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.60% were non-families. 25.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the parish the population was spread out with 27.90% under the age of 18, 12.00% from 18 to 24, 27.90% from 25 to 44, 20.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 89.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.50 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $32,047, and the median income for a family was $40,206. Males had a median income of $31,616 versus $23,139 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $17,084. About 15.80% of families and 20.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.70% of those under age 18 and 15.80% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit]

Republican John McCain won 41,741 votes (62 percent) in Ouachita Parish. Democrat Barack Obama trailed with 24,813 votes (37 percent). Other candidates polled the remaining 1 percent of the vote.

Education[edit]

Primary and Secondary Schools[edit]

Ouachita Parish School Board serves areas outside of the City of Monroe. Monroe City School System serves areas within Monroe. Monroe is also the home of The University Of Louisiana at Monroe.

Media[edit]

A documentary entitled The Gift of the Ouachita by filmmaker George C. Brian (1919–2007), head of the Division of Theater and Drama at the University of Louisiana at Monroe is a history of Monroe as the "gift of the Ouachita River."

National Guard[edit]

1022nd Engineer Company (Vertical) of the 527th Engineer Battalion of the 225th Engineer Brigade is located in West Monroe, Louisiana. 528th Engineer Battalion (To The Very End) also part of the 225th Engineer Brigade is headquartered the Monroe, Louisiana.

Communities[edit]

Map of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Ouachita Parish". Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Indian Mounds of Northeast Louisiana:Filhiol Mound". Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

Coordinates: 32°29′N 92°10′W / 32.48°N 92.16°W / 32.48; -92.16