Washington Parish, Louisiana

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Washington Parish, Louisiana
Map of Louisiana highlighting Washington Parish
Location in the U.S. state of Louisiana
Map of the United States highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1819
Named for George Washington
Seat Franklinton
Largest city Bogalusa
 • Total 676 sq mi (1,751 km2)
 • Land 670 sq mi (1,735 km2)
 • Water 6.4 sq mi (17 km2), 0.9%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 46,371
 • Density 70/sq mi (27/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website Washington Parish, Louisiana

Washington Parish (French: Paroisse de Washington) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 47,168.[1] Its parish seat is Franklinton.[2] The parish was founded in 1819.[3]

Washington Parish comprises the Bogalusa, LA Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the New Orleans-Metairie-Hammond, LA-MS Combined Statistical Area.


Washington Parish was formed in 1819 by splitting off from St. Tammany Parish. Franklinton became the parish seat on February 10, 1821.

Washington Parish is the most northeasterly of what are called the Florida Parishes. Great Britain took over control of French territory east of the Mississippi River in 1763 after defeating France in the Seven Years' War. But France had ceded some territory to Spain. This area was under contention, and English and American settlers tried to set up an independent state in 1810. The United States annexed it, later settling with Spain in a treaty. Through much of this period, the French influence remained strong in the region, especially in its former colonial cities.

This area was rural and forested with virgin longleaf pine (Pinus palustris L.) In the early 20th century, entrepreneurial brothers Frank and Charles W. Goodyear, already successful businessmen from Buffalo, New York]], purchased hundreds of thousands of acres of forest in this area and in southwestern Mississippi. They established the Great Southern Lumber Company, constructed a huge sawmill (the largest in the world at the time in the middle of the forest, and developed Bogalusa, Louisiana, as a company town. It had housing for workers (with sections for Americans and another for "colored" and foreign workers) and supervisors, several hotels, churches, a YMCA and YWCA, schools, and other services in a year, opening facilities in 1907. To access the timber and transport processed lumber from the mill to markets, they built the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad,[4] connecting Bogalusa to the port.

Before World War II, the virgin forest was harvested, and the sawmill run by Great Southern Lumber Company closed in 1938. The paper mill and chemical operations continued. Gradually in the late 20th century, these operations declined; as jobs left, the population dropped in such industrial towns. Some people moved to new or emerging industries in New Orleans and other major cities.


The Washington Parish Government is a Home Rule Charter or “President-Council” form of Government. Its current President is Richard N. Thomas, Jr.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 676 square miles (1,750 km2), of which 670 square miles (1,700 km2) is land and 6.4 square miles (17 km2) (0.9%) is water.[5]

Adjacent counties and parishes[edit]

Major highways[edit]

National protected area[edit]

State park[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 2,517
1830 2,286 −9.2%
1840 2,649 15.9%
1850 3,408 28.7%
1860 4,708 38.1%
1870 3,330 −29.3%
1880 5,190 55.9%
1890 6,700 29.1%
1900 9,628 43.7%
1910 18,886 96.2%
1920 24,164 27.9%
1930 29,904 23.8%
1940 34,443 15.2%
1950 38,371 11.4%
1960 44,015 14.7%
1970 41,987 −4.6%
1980 44,207 5.3%
1990 43,185 −2.3%
2000 43,926 1.7%
2010 47,168 7.4%
Est. 2016 46,310 [6] −1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 43,926 people, 16,467 households, and 11,642 families residing in the parish. The population density was 66 people per square mile (25/km²). There were 19,106 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 67.42% White, 31.53% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.11% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. 0.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,467 households out of which 32.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.30% were married couples living together, 17.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the parish the population was spread out with 26.80% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $24,264, and the median income for a family was $29,480. Males had a median income of $27,964 versus $17,709 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $12,915. About 19.40% of families and 24.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.20% of those under age 18 and 20.40% of those age 65 or over. Washington Parish has the second highest level of poverty in the state after Orleans Parish.


Washington Parish is currently known for its agriculture, particularly watermelons. Through much of the 20th century, its economy was based on its timber and paper industry.

In 1906, The Great Southern Lumber Company, founded by the Goodyear brothers from New York, purchased huge tracts of forest and established a sawmill in Bogalusa to harvest the local virgin pine forests. This company was the first to introduce reforestation in order to sustain the timber industry locally. Taken over by Crown Zellerbach, it later started a paper mill and chemical businesses in the area.

The local business passed through several hands as the lumber and related industries restructured through the late 20th century. In the 21st century, Temple-Inland Corporation is the largest employer in the parish.


Students outside the city of Bogalusa attend Washington Parish School System. Students within the city of Bogalusa attend Bogalusa City Schools.

Northshore Technical Community College is located in Bogalusa.


Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections operates the B.B. "Sixty" Rayburn Correctional Center in an unincorporated section of Washington Parish.[12]

National Guard[edit]

Bogalusa is home to the headquarters of the 205th Engineer Battalion of the 225th Engineer Brigade. Franklinton is the home of the 843rd Engineer Company.


Map of Washington Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Washington Parish". Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ Mississippi Rails: New Orleans Great Northern Railroad Retrieved 2013-11-23
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ "B.B. Rayburn Corr. Center." Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Accessed September 14, 2008.


External links[edit]


Coordinates: 30°51′N 90°02′W / 30.85°N 90.04°W / 30.85; -90.04