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Red River Parish, Louisiana
Map of Louisiana highlighting Red River Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Seat Coushatta
Largest city Coushatta
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

402 sq mi (1,041 km²)
389 sq mi (1,008 km²)
13 sq mi (39 km²), 3.18%
Population
 - (2000)
 - Density

9,622
25/sq mi (10/km²)
Founded 1871
Named for Red River
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
The Red River Parish Courthouse in Coushatta

Red River Parish (French: Paroisse de la Rivière-Rouge) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Its seat is Coushatta. It was one of the newer parishes created in 1871 by the state legislature under Reconstruction. The plantation economy was based on cotton cultivation, highly dependent on enslaved labor before the American Civil War.

In 1880, the parish had a population with more than twice as many blacks as whites.[1] They were essentially disfranchised after the white Democrats regained power in the state in the late 1870s. Most of the former slaves worked as sharecroppers and laborers, cultivating cotton. Due to mechanization of agriculture, many blacks left the parish during the mid-20th century Great Migration to seek better opportunities elsewhere. By 2000, the parish population was 9,622, with a white majority.

Contents

History

As in many other rural areas, Red River Parish and the Red River Valley were areas of white vigilante and paramilitary violence after the Civil War, as insurgents tried to regain power after the South's defeat. The state legislature during Reconstruction created the parish in 1871, one of a number established to develop Republican Party strength through new parishes.

Marshall H. Twitchell was a Union veteran who moved to the parish from Vermont and married a local woman. With the help of her family, he became a successful cotton planter and local leader. He was elected in 1870 as a Republican to the state legislature and filled four local offices with his brother and three brothers-in-law, the latter native to the parish. He won support from freedmen by appointing some to local offices and promoting education.[2][3]

During the 1870s, there were regular outbreaks of violence in Louisiana, despite the presence of 2,000 federal troops stationed there.[4] The extended agricultural depression and poor economy of the late 19th century aggravated social tensions, as both freedmen and whites struggled to survive and to manage new labor arrangements.

The disputed gubernatorial election of 1872 increased political tensions in the state, especially as the outcome was unsettled for months. Both the Democratic Party and Republican candidates certified their own slates of local officers. Established in May 1874 from white militias, the White League was formed first in the Red River Valley in nearby Grant Parish. It grew increasingly well-organized in rural areas like Red River Parish. Soon White League chapters rose across the state. Few people in rural areas could resist their enforcement.[5 ] Operating openly, the White League used violence against officeholders, running some out of town and killing others, and acted at elections to suppress black and white Republican voting.[5 ]

Map of Red River Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

In August 1874 the White League forced six white Republicans out of office in Coushatta, the parish seat of Red River Parish, and ordered them to leave the state. Members assassinated them before they left Louisiana. Four of the men murdered were the brother and three brothers-in-law of Marshall H. Twitchell, the area Republican state legislator.[6] The White League also killed five to twenty freedmen who had accompanied the Twitchell relatives and were witnesses to the vigilante acts.[3][7 ]

Historians came to call the events the Coushatta Massacre. The murders contributed to Republican Governor Kellogg's request to President Grant for more Federal troops to help control the state. Ordinary Southerners wrote to President Grant at the White House describing the terrible conditions of violence and fear they lived under during these times.[7 ]

With increased voter fraud, violence against blacks and whites, and intimidation at the polls preventing people from voting, white Democrats regained control of the state legislature in 1876. The population of the parish in 1880 was 8,573, of whom 2,506 were whites and 6,007 were blacks.[1] In 1898 the state achieved disfranchisement of most blacks and many poor whites through a new constitution that created numerous barriers to voter registration.[8]

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20th century

To seek better opportunities and escape the oppression of segregation, underfunded education, and disfranchisement, thousands of African Americans left Red River and other rural parishes in the Great Migration north and west. As may be seen in the census table below, most left from 1940-1970, when the parish had steep population decreases. Regional agricultural problems contributed to outmigration, especially after increasing mechanization in the 1930s reduced the need for laborers.

Additional outmigration from the parish occurred as late as the 1980s, when African Americans from Louisiana migrated within the South to jobs in developing metropolitan areas of New South states.[9][10]

Red River Parish has been a Democratic Party stronghold since the party reestablished dominance in the late 1870s. As in other southern states, recent decades have brought a realignment in politics in Presidential elections, with the conservative white majority of the parish voting for Republican U.S. President George W. Bush in his 2004 reelection. The majority of the parish, however, has continued to support Democratic candidates at the state and local level.

Red River was one of only three parishes that did not vote for the Republican gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Representative Bobby Jindal in the October 20, 2007, jungle primary. The others were nearby Bienville and St. Bernard, located southeast of New Orleans. Jindal went on to win the statewide election by a large margin.

Despite its Democratic heritage, Red River Parish is represented in the Louisiana State Senate by a Republican, Gerald Long, the only member of the Long dynasty not to have been elected to office as a Democrat. Long defeated the Democratic candidate, Thomas Taylor Townsend, in the 2007 nonpartisan blanket primary. Both candidates came from Natchitoches.

Geography

The parish has a total area of 402 square miles (1,041 km²), of which, 389 square miles (1,008 km²) of it is land and 13 square miles (33 km²) of it (3.18%) is water.

Loggy Bayou flows south from Lake Bistineau, traverses Bienville Parish, and in Red River Parish joins the Red River.

Major highways

Adjacent parishes

National protected area

Demographics

Census Pop.  %±
1880 8,573
1890 11,318 32.0%
1900 11,548 2.0%
1910 11,402 −1.3%
1920 15,301 34.2%
1930 16,078 5.1%
1940 15,881 −1.2%
1950 12,113 −23.7%
1960 9,978 −17.6%
1970 9,226 −7.5%
1980 10,433 13.1%
1990 9,387 −10.0%
2000 9,622 2.5%
Est. 2006 9,438 [11] −1.9%
Red River Parish Census Data[12]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 9,622 people, 3,414 households, and 2,526 families residing in the parish. The population density was 25 people per square mile (10/km²). There were 3,988 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 57.87% White, 40.91% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. 1.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,414 households out of which 35.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.50% were married couples living together, 18.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.00% were non-families. Individuals made up 23.10% of all households, and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the parish the population was spread out with 30.10% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 24.80% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 90.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.40 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $23,153, and the median income for a family was $27,870. Males had a median income of $27,132 versus $17,760 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $12,119. About 26.00% of families and 29.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.10% of those under age 18 and 18.90% of those age 65 or over.

Cities, towns, and villages

Education

Public schools in Red River Parish are operated by the Red River Parish School District.

Notable residents

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Red River Parish History", Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana, Chapter IV, Chicago: The Southern Publishing Co., 1890, accessed 25 Apr 2008
  2. ^ Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, New York: Perennial Classics, 1988; edition 2002, pp.356-357
  3. ^ a b Danielle Alexander, "Forty Acres and a Mule: The Ruined Hope of Reconstruction", Humanities, January/February 2004, vol.25/No.1, accessed 14 Apr 2008
  4. ^ Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, New York: Perennial Classics, 1988; edition 2002, p.550
  5. ^ a b Nicholas Lemann, Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War, New York, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2006, p.76
  6. ^ Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, New York: Perennial Classics, 1988; edition 2002, p.551
  7. ^ a b Nicholas Lemann, Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War, New York, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2006, p.76-77
  8. ^ Richard H. Pildes, "Democracy, Anti-Democracy, and the Canon", Constitutional Commentary, Vol.17, 200, pp.12-13, accessed 25 Apr 2008
  9. ^ "African American Migration Experience: The Second Great Migration", New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, accessed 24 Apr 2008
  10. ^ William H. Frey, "The New Great Migration: Black Americans' Return to the South, 1965-2000," The Brookings Institution, May 2004, pp.1-3, accessed 14 Apr 2008
  11. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Red River Parish Quickfacts". http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/22/22081.html. Retrieved 2008-02-02.  
  12. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Louisiana Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". http://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/la190090.txt. Retrieved 2008-02-02.  
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  

Coordinates: 32°05′N 93°20′W / 32.09°N 93.33°W / 32.09; -93.33


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

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Red River Parish, Louisiana
Map
File:Map of Louisiana highlighting Red River Parish.png
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the USA highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the USA
Statistics
Founded 1871
Seat Coushatta
Largest City Coushatta
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

 sq mikm²)
 sq mi ( km²)
 sq mi ( km²), 3.18%
wikipedia:Population
 - (2000)
 - Density

9622
Time zone Central : UTC-6/-5
Named for: Red River

Red River Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Its seat is Coushatta. In 2000, the parish population was 9,622.

Red River Parish is a Democratic stronghold. It was one of three parishes -- the others were neighboring Bienville and St. Bernard near New Orleans -- to reject the successful Republican gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Representative Bobby Jindal in the October 20, 2007, jungle primary. However, U.S. President George W. Bush won the parish in his 2004 reelection.

Contents

A notorious resident

Self-confessed killer Robert C. Browne (born 1953) grew up in and around Coushatta and the Fairview-Alpha community in northern Natchitoches Parish. In 2006, he confessed to 48 murders, four of which allegedly happened in Red River and Natchitoches parishes. The revelations stunned the Red River community.

In 2006, a controversy erupted over a white school bus driver who racially segregated students on her bus.[1]

The Fowlers of Coushatta

The Fowler family was the dominant political force in Red River Parish in most of the second half of the 20th century.

Douglas Fowler (1906-1980), Red River Parish clerk of court (1940-1952) and Coushatta mayor (1952-1954), was appointed the third Louisiana "custodian of voting machines" after the first two appointees of Governor Earl Kemp Long stepped down following brief tenures. Fowler was nominated to the post in the 1960 Democratic runoff primary and was thereafter a runaway victor in the general election. The office was renamed "commissioner of elections" under the 1974 Constitution. Fowler was elected five times statewide as head of the elections division.

Fowler was succeeded in the post in 1980 by his son, Jerry M. Fowler (born 1940), of nearby Natchitoches. Jerry Fowler, like his father, was also elected five times. Therefore, a member of the Fowler family had controlled the Louisiana elections office for a full four decades.

Douglas Fowler's brother, Hendrix Marion "Mutt" Fowler, Sr., was the mayor of Coushatta and later a Democratic state representative from 1972-1986. He resigned his House seat to become executive director of the Sabine River Authority in Many and was removed from the position amid a scandal involving the circumvention of state bid laws and spending limited funds on low-priority projects. He ultimately served 45 days in the Sabine Parish jail.

In his first election, Jerry Fowler defeated a Republican candidate from Franklin Parish, John Henry Baker, who campaigned on a promise to abolish the elections commissioner's office and return it to the jurisdiction of the Louisiana secretary of state. Long had stripped Secretary of State Wade O. Martin, of election duties and created the "custodian" position, which became the "commissioner" of elections. Baker polled 37 percent of the vote on the theme that voters should elect him to an office that he wanted to abolish.

Jerry Fowler pleaded guilty in 2000 to state and federal charges of malfeasance in office and conspiracy to launder kickbacks from overcharges to state voting machine vendors. He had been denied a general election ballot spot in 1999 by some 9,000 votes, was convicted of the charges, and imprisoned in Texas. The election commissioner's position went to Republican Suzanne Haik Terrell, who completed the proposal made by John Henry Baker more than two decades earlier and returned the duties to the secretary of state, effective in 2004.

Geography

The parish has a total area of 1,041 km² (402 sq mi). 1,008 km² (389 sq mi) of it is land and 33 km² (13 sq mi) of it (3.18%) is water.

Major Highways

Adjacent parishes

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there were 9,622 people, 3,414 households, and 2,526 families residing in the parish. The population density was 10/km² (25/sq mi). There were 3,988 housing units at an average density of 4/km² (10/sq mi). The racial makeup of the parish was 57.87% White, 40.91% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. 1.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,414 households out of which 35.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.50% were married couples living together, 18.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.00% were non-families. 23.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the parish the population was spread out with 30.10% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 24.80% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 90.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.40 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $23,153, and the median income for a family was $27,870. Males had a median income of $27,132 versus $17,760 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $12,119. About 26.00% of families and 29.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.10% of those under age 18 and 18.90% of those age 65 or over.

Cities, towns, and villages

Map of Red River Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Coordinates: 32°05′N 93°20′W / 32.09, -93.33


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Red River Parish, Louisiana. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
Facts about Red River Parish, LouisianaRDF feed
County names Red River Parish, Louisiana  +
County of country United States  +
County of subdivision1 Louisiana  +
Short name Red River Parish  +

This article uses material from the "Red River Parish, Louisiana" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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