This article is based on the corresponding article in another wiki. For Familypedia purposes, it requires significantly more historical detail on phases of this location's development. The ideal article for a place will give the reader a feel for what it was like to live at that location at the time their relatives were alive there. Also desirable are links to organizations that may be repositories of genealogical information..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can.

Bienville Parish, Louisiana
Courthouse of Bienville Parish, Louisiana.jpg
The Bienville Parish Courthouse in Arcadia, Louisiana
Map of Louisiana highlighting Bienville Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded March 14, 1848
Named for Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, founder of New Orleans
Seat Arcadia
Largest city Arcadia
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

822 sq mi (2,128 km²)
811 sq mi (2,100 km²)
11 sq mi (29 km²), 1.35%
 - (2000)
 - Density

19/sq mi (8/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Veterans Memorial at Bienville Parish Courthouse

Bienville Parish (French: Paroisse de Bienville) is a parish located in the northwestern portion of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Arcadia and as of the 2000 census, the population is 15,752.

The highest natural point in Louisiana, a hill known as Mt. Driskill, 535 feet (163 m) in elevation, is located in north central Bienville Parish. The mountain is located on private land with public access by walking trail. It is named for James Christopher Driskill, a 19th century landowner. Nearby is Jordan Mountain, with an elevation of 493 feet (150 m).

Lake Bistineau and Lake Bistineau State Park embrace parts of Bienville and neighboring Webster and Bossier parishes.

History[edit | edit source]

During the American Civil War, Bienville Parish was strongly Confederate but was spared fighting in its immediate area. Instead Bienville Parish participated in the building of fortifications on the nearby Red River. Much of this work was done by slaves hired out by planters.[1]

In 1864, Governor Henry Watkins Allen named Dr. Bartholomew Egan of Bienville Parish to establish a laboratory for the manufacture of medicines. Egan bought out the former Mount Lebanon Female Academy and nearly a hundred acres of land to turn out turpentine and medicinal whisky. He also produced castor oil (The Bienville Parish community of Castor was established in 1900.) and a quantity of opium. Winters explains that the "native wild white poppy produced an opium equal in strength and effectiveness to the imported product."[2]

The notorious bandits Bonnie and Clyde were shot dead in Bienville Parish on May 23, 1934. The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland contains memorabilia about the killing. It is operated by Ted Hinton, son of one of the officers involved in the ambush.

Law, government, religion[edit | edit source]

Bienville Parish is a traditional Democratic stronghold though it supported the Republican presidential nominees, Barry M. Goldwater in 1964 and Richard M. Nixon in 1972. It is one of three parishes—the others are neighboring Red River and St. Bernard near New Orleans -- to have rejected the successful GOP gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Representative Bobby Jindal in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007. However, President George W. Bush secured a close victory in the parish in 2004. He polled 3,612 votes (50 percent) to 3,399 (47 percent) for Democrat John F. Kerry. In 2008, John McCain won in Bienville Parish by a 187-vote margin over the Democrat Barack Obama, 3,776-3,589.[3]

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church and Cemetery in Bienville Parish; land for the church and cemetery was donated in the 19th century by William Thomas Corley.[4]

Bienville Parish was represented in the Louisiana State Senate from 1948-1960 by a fiery segregationist and unsuccessful 1959 Democratic gubernatorial candidate William M. Rainach of neighboring Claiborne Parish.

Lorris M. Wimberly, a Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, was a native and resident of Arcadia. Wimberly served in the House from 1928–1940 and again from 1948–1956; he was Speaker from 1936–1940, 1950–1952, and briefly in 1956. His father, Joseph Rush Wimberly, I, served in the legislature from 1900–1908 and was thereafter a judge.

The last state representative whose district included only Bienville Parish was John Len Lacy of Castor, who served a single term from 1964–1968 and had been a member of the Bienville Parish School Board for thirty-two years.

Bienville Parish has various churches, mostly of the Baptist denomination. Many are in rural areas and often have cemeteries adjacent to the sanctuaries. For instance, the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church and Cemetery is located south of Ringgold off Louisiana State Highway 4. The Louisiana Baptist Convention was founded in 1848 at historic Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in the community of Mount Lebanon, originally settled by pioneers from South Carolina. The First Baptist Church and the First United Methodist Church in Arcadia are particularly impressive structures for a smaller community.

Geography[edit | edit source]

The parish has a total area of 822 square miles (2,129.0 km2), of which 811 square miles (2,100.5 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28.5 km2) (1.35%) is water. The highest natural point in Louisiana, Driskill Mountain (535 ft), is located in Bienville Parish. Driskill Mountain is 11 miles (18 km) south of Arcadia at Latitude 32 degree, 25 minutes North; Longitude 92 degree 54 minutes West.

Loggy Bayou flows south from Lake Bistineau and traverses Bienville Parish west of Ringgold before it enters Red River Parish and thereafter joins the Red River.

Major highways[edit | edit source]

Adjacent parishes[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Census Pop.
1850 5,539
1860 11,000 98.6%
1870 10,636 −3.3%
1880 10,442 −1.8%
1890 14,108 35.1%
1900 17,588 24.7%
1910 21,776 23.8%
1920 20,977 −3.7%
1930 23,789 13.4%
1940 23,933 0.6%
1950 19,105 −20.2%
1960 16,726 −12.5%
1970 16,024 −4.2%
1980 16,387 2.3%
1990 15,979 −2.5%
2000 15,752 −1.4%
2010 14,353 −8.9%
Bienville Parish Census Data[5]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 15,752 people, 6,108 households, and 4,214 families residing in the parish. The population density was 19 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 7,830 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 54.92% White, 43.78% Black or African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.32% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 0.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,108 households out of which 31.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.70% were married couples living together, 17.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.00% were non-families. 28.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the parish the population was spread out with 27.30% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 22.50% from 45 to 64, and 17.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.80 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $23,663, and the median income for a family was $30,241. Males had a median income of $28,022 versus $18,682 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $12,471. About 21.80% of families and 26.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.00% of those under age 18 and 23.20% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[edit | edit source]

Cities and towns[edit | edit source]

Map of Bienville Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Education[edit | edit source]

The Bienville Parish School Board operates area public schools.

Media[edit | edit source]

Bienville Parish is served by the weekly Bienville Democrat newspaper, edited in Arcadia by Priscilla Smith. The former editor was Wayne E. Dring.

Notable people[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Left4Dead 2: This video game was set in Bienville Parish.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 164
  2. ^ Winters, pp, 408-409
  3. ^ "Louisiana election returns, November 4, 2008". Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Obituary of Lucille Pate Wheeler (1911-2009)". Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  5. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Louisiana Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". Retrieved 2008-02-02. ; Report on the Population of the United States at the Eleventh Census, 1890. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1895.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Abrams, Morris Newton". Louisiana Historical Association, A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography ( Retrieved December 24, 2010. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 32°21′N 93°04′W / 32.35, -93.06

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Bienville 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.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.