Rayville, Louisiana

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Rayville, Louisiana
Bodock tree, the oldest in Rayville, is located between the Civic Center and the Rhymes Memorial Library.
Bodock tree, the oldest in Rayville, is located between the Civic Center and the Rhymes Memorial Library.
Location of Rayville in Richland Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Rayville in Richland Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Coordinates: 32°28′25″N 91°45′27″W / 32.47361°N 91.75750°W / 32.47361; -91.75750Coordinates: 32°28′25″N 91°45′27″W / 32.47361°N 91.75750°W / 32.47361; -91.75750
CountryUnited States
 • MayorHarry Lewis (D)

Police Chief Willie Lee Robinson, Sr. (D)
Rayville City Council: James "Jay" Brakefield (No Party)
Paula Buie Crumpton (D)

Debra K. James (D)
 • Total2.34 sq mi (6.06 km2)
 • Land2.31 sq mi (5.98 km2)
 • Water0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
82 ft (25 m)
 • Total3,695
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,573.16/sq mi (607.49/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s)318
FIPS code22-63680
Rayville welcome sign
Kalil Municipal Building is named for former Rayville Mayor Joe Kalil.
Rayville Civic Center
U.S. Post Office in Rayville
Richland State Bank in Rayville; bank president Jerome Vascocu
Abandoned Joy Theater on U.S. Highway 80 in Rayville
First Baptist Church of Rayville; pastor Eddie Wren
Rayville Presbyterian Church at 824 Julia Street

Rayville is a town in and the parish seat of Richland Parish in northeastern Louisiana, United States.[3] The population, which is 69 percent African American, was 4,234 at the 2000 census, but it had declined by nearly 13 percent in 2010 to 3,695.[4]

The City Hall, located next to the U.S. Post Office across from U.S. Highway 80, is named for former Rayville Mayor Joe Kalil (1922–1996).


Rayville is located at 32°28′25″N 91°45′27″W / 32.47361°N 91.75750°W / 32.47361; -91.75750 (32.473580, -91.757387).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²), of which 2.2 square miles (5.8 km²) is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1 km²) (1.32%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20163,634[2]−1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 4,234 people, 1,504 households, and 1,004 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,880.1 people per square mile (726.6/km²). There were 1,629 housing units at an average density of 723.4 per square mile (279.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 31.44% White, 67.26% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.50% of the population.

There were 1,504 households out of which 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.5% were married couples living together, 34.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.32.

In the town, the population was spread out with 32.3% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 22.8% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 76.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 66.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $14,309, and the median income for a family was $16,480. Males had a median income of $21,000 versus $16,107 for females. The per capita income for the town was $8,589. About 44.2% of families and 48.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 65.9% of those under age 18 and 28.6% of those age 65 or over.


Public schools in Richland Parish are operated by the Richland Parish School Board. Three campuses serve the town of Rayville - Rayville Elementary School (Grades PK-6), Rayville Junior High School (Grades 7-8), and Rayville High School (Grades 9-12). Rayville is also served by Riverfield Academy (Grades PK-12) a non-denominational private school.

James "Terry" Watson[edit]

James "Terry" Watson (born c. 1971), a native of Holly Ridge in Richland Parish, was an agent for thirteen years of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. On June 20, 2013, he was murdered by a gang during an armed robbery in Bogotá, Colombia. His funeral at the Richland Arts Center in Rayville drew dozens of law-enforcement officers, including from Washington, D.C., United States Attorney General Eric Holder and DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.[8]

"It's an honor to join this community in paying tribute — and our last respects — to a brave public servant who devoted his life to helping those around him; a patriot who never hesitated to incur great risks and face grave dangers in order to protect the country he loved; and a hero who was taken from us far too suddenly and far too soon," said Holder.[8]

Holder noted that Watson volunteered for the most dangerous missions. Fellow agents Frank Tarentino, Phil Welcome, and Scott Rowan told stories of the heroism of their friend, who served in more than a half dozen countries. He made three tours of duty in Afghanistan, including Farah Province in June 2009, where he had demonstrated particular heroism. Leonhart said that Watson's "finest virtues — integrity, humility, loyalty — helped him succeed throughout his career and life itself."[8]

Watson graduated from Holly Ridge High School and later procured a criminal justice degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, then known as Northeast Louisiana University. He served in the Louisiana National Guard and in 1989 began his law enforcement career with the sheriff's office in Richland Parish, where he became a narcotics investigator. Watson then joined the U.S. Marshal's service, and c. 2000 the DEA. He is survived by his parents, a brother, three nephews, and his wife, the former Fadia Margarita de la Rosa, whom he had recently married in Cartagena, Colombia. He is interred at McKnight Cemetery in Holly Ridge.[8]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ "Rayville, Louisiana Population". censusviewer.com. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  8. ^ a b c d "Cole Avery, "Watson remembered as national hero", June 26, 2013". Monroe News-Star. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ "Cole, Frank Estes". A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography (lahistory.org). Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

External links[edit]