Bogalusa, Louisiana

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Bogalusa, Louisiana
Great Southern Lumber Company in Bogalusa Louisiana in the 1930s.jpg
Great Southern Lumber Company in Bogalusa, 1930s
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Washington
Elevation 95 ft (29.0 m)
Coordinates 30°46′50″N 89°51′50″W / 30.78056°N 89.86389°W / 30.78056; -89.86389Coordinates: 30°46′50″N 89°51′50″W / 30.78056°N 89.86389°W / 30.78056; -89.86389
Area 9.5 sq mi (24.6 km2)
 - land 9.5 sq mi (25 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 1.05%
Population 12,232 (2010)
Density 1,287.6/sq mi (497.1/km2)
Incorporated July 4, 1914
Mayor Wendy O'Quin Perrette[1]
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 985
Location of Bogalusa in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States

Bogalusa is a small city in Washington Parish, Louisiana. The population was 12,232 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Bogalusa Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Washington Parish and is also part of the larger New OrleansMetairie–Bogalusa Combined Statistical Area. The name of the city derives from the Choctaw words bogue lusa, which translates to dark water in English.[2]


1911 Bogalusa Maps

In 1908, the Great Southern Lumber Company (1908–38) sawmill began operation,[3] and the Goodyear (Frank Henry Goodyear and Charles W. Goodyear) interests of New York built the city of Bogalusa to house workers for the sawmill. William H. Sullivan, the sawmill manager for the Goodyears, was town boss when the city was built (1906–1907) and then mayor until he died June 26, 1929. The city, designed by New Orleans architect Rathbone DeBuys and built from nothing in less than a year, with several hotels, a YMCA and YWCA, churches of all faiths, and houses for the workers and supervisors, was called the Magic City due to its rapid construction. Bogalusa was incorporated as a city on July 4, 1914. At its peak in 1960, the city had over 21,000 residents.

Bogalusa (top) in regional map, northeast of Baton Rouge and Hammond, north of New Orleans.

The Great Southern Lumber Company's sprawling sawmill produced up to 1,000,000 board feet (2400 m3) of lumber a day. The sawmill closed in 1938, but was replaced as the city's main industry by a paper mill and a chemical plant run by Gaylord Container Corp. The Crown Zellerbach Corp. acquired Gaylord's operations in 1955. An attempt to keep the sawmill open with California redwood proved too costly, and the mill was closed. Crown Zellerbach was the target of a hostile takeover in 1985, and the succeeding company for its container division was a new Gaylord Container Corporation, which operated for 16 years until acquired by Temple-Inland in 2002.

In the mid-1960s, Bogalusa was a center of activity for the Deacons for Defense and Justice.[4]

In 1995 a railroad tank car imploded at Gaylord Chemical Corporation, releasing nitrogen tetroxide and forced the evacuation of about 3,000 people within a one-mile (1.6 km) radius. Residents say "the sky turned orange" as a result. Emergency rooms filled with about 4,000 people who complained of burning eyes, skin, and lungs. Dozens of lawsuits were filed against Gaylord Chemical and were finally settled in May 2005, with compensation checks issued to around 20,000 people involved in the accident.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit this city with winds of about 110 mph (175 km/h), downing numerous trees and power lines. Many buildings in Bogalusa received damage from falling trees, and several were destroyed. Most of the houses, businesses, and other buildings suffered roof damage from the storm's ferocious winds. Some outlying areas of the city were without power for over a month.


Bogalusa has an elevation of 100 feet (30.5 m).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.5 square miles (24.6 km2), of which, 9.5 square miles (24.6 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) of it (0.52%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 8,245
1930 14,029 70.2%
1940 14,604 4.1%
1950 17,798 21.9%
1960 21,423 20.4%
1970 18,412 −14.1%
1980 16,976 −7.8%
1990 14,280 −15.9%
2000 13,365 −6.4%
2010 12,232 −8.5%
Est. 2015 11,933 [6] −2.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 13,365 people, 5,431 households, and 3,497 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,407.6 people per square mile (543.8/km²). There were 6,300 housing units at an average density of 663.5 per square mile (256.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 57.18% White, 41.21% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.75% of the population.

There were 5,431 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% were married couples living together, 23.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 82.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $19,261, and the median income for a family was $24,947. Males had a median income of $26,716 versus $17,992 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,476. About 26.1% of families and 32.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.1% of those under age 18 and 22.0% of those age 65 or over.


Bogalusa was founded by the Goodyears of Buffalo, New York, who chartered the Great Southern Lumber Company in 1902.[3] The sawmill was, for many years, the largest in the world, and the company was famous for its reforestation program.

Southern Engineer, Volume 27. 1917

In 1938, the Goodyear families had ended their lumber operations at the Great Southern Lumber Company and sold the paper mill operations. The mill was owned by Crown Zellerbach until 1986 and its brown paper successor Gaylord Container Corporation until 2002, when Gaylord was acquired by Temple-Inland Corporation, the area's largest employer. As of 2012, the paper mill was owned by International Paper, which acquired Temple-Inland.

Bogalusa's economy revolves around the lumber and paper mills, as well as agriculture.


Bogalusa is home to the 205th Engineer Battalion of the Louisiana Army National Guard. This unit is part of the 225th Engineer Brigade which is headquartered in Pineville, Louisiana at Camp Beauregard.


Bogalusa operates its own public school system, Bogalusa City Schools. Northshore Technical Community College is located in Bogalusa. It was the first trade school established in the State of Louisiana in 1930 and is now a fully accredited community college.

Notable residents[edit]

  • Kenderick Allen, former NFL defensive lineman
  • Ernest Angelo, Texas oilman and Republican politician, was reared partly in Bogalusa.
  • Jacob Brumfield full name Jacob Donnell Brumfield (born May 27, 1965 in Bogalusa), is a former professional baseball player who played outfield in the Major Leagues from 1992-1999.
  • Al Clark, NFL player
  • Tom Colten, later the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, was the business manager of the thrice-weekly Bogalusa Daily News from 1948 until his relocation in 1955 to Minden in Webster Parish, where he served two terms as mayor.
  • Theodore "Ted" Jones, Louisiana lawyer, lobbyist, and political appointee from Baton Rouge; maintains voter registration in Bogalusa
  • Yusef Komunyakaa, winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, was born James Willie Brown Jr. in Bogalusa, Louisiana (April 29, 1947).
  • Beth Mizell, state senator for Washington Parish; born in Bogalusa in 1952.
  • Ben Nevers, state senator form Washington, St. Helena, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa parishes, 2004-2016.
  • Tom Thornhill, a Slidell attorney and member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1996–2000, was raised in Bogalusa and graduated from Bogalusa High School.
  • Henry "Tank" Powell represented Tangipahoa Parish in the state legislature from 1996-2008. He is now a member of the Louisiana Board of Pardons.
  • Jared Y. Sanders, Sr., former governor and Jared Y. Sanders, Jr., former U.S. representative and state legislator, practiced law in Bogalusa early in the 20th century.
  • Charlie Spikes, the "Bogalusa Bomber" was a Major League Baseball player from 1972 to 1980 for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, and Atlanta Braves.
  • Jerry Thomas, a physician in Franklinton, represented Washington Parish in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature from 1992-2004.
  • Professor Longhair, funky pianist who inspired artists such as Dr. John, from 1918-1980. Several of his songs are Mardi Gras anthems.
  • John McGeever, former NFL cornerback
  • James Crutchfield (1912–2001) - barrelhouse blues piano player - raised in Bogalusa.
  • Snoozer Quinn (1907–1949) - pioneer of jazz guitar - raised in Bogalusa.
  • Perry Brooks (1954–2010), American football defensive tackle, Washington Redskins (1977–1984), Super Bowl XVII Champion
  • Skip Manning (1934-) 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year
  • Malinda Brumfield White (born 1967), member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Bogalusa, effective January 2016
  • Dub Williams, New Mexico legislator
  • Curt Siegelin (1907-1982) - Four-term Mayor, City of Bogalusa, 1946–56, 1966–70; Two-term President, Louisiana Municipal Association,1949–50, 1950–51; Louisiana 'Mayor of the Year' 1956; Executive Director, Louisiana Department of Commerce and Industry,1956–60; Chairman, Louisiana State Parks and Recreation Commission, 1956–60; Member, Louisiana Stream Control Commission, 1956–60; Candidate, Louisiana Secretary of State, on the Noe-Long Democratic Gubernatorial Ticket, 1959; Louisiana Co-chairman for the U.S. Presidential Election of the Kennedy-Johnson Democratic Presidential Ticket, 1960; Louisiana Democratic Elector, casting a Presidential Electoral Vote for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at the official meeting of the Louisiana Presidential Electors, held in the City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1940.


  1. ^ City of Bogalusa: Mayor's Office Retrieved 2015-06-03
  2. ^ 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. 42. ISBN 978-0-8071-4740-5. 
  3. ^ a b LSU Libraries—Great Southern Lumber Company Collection Retrieved 2013-12-28
  4. ^ "» The Deacons". Gimlet Media. Retrieved 2016-11-24. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]