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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.
Founded 1871
Named for Red River
Seat Coushatta
Largest city Coushatta
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

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

25/sq mi (10/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

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.

A notorious resident[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Adjacent parishes[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Map of Red River Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

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

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