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Bienville Parish, Louisiana facts for kids

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Bienville Parish, Louisiana
Parish of Bienville
The new Bienville Parish Courthouse building in Arcadia is located to the north of Interstate 20.
The new Bienville Parish Courthouse building in Arcadia is located to the north of Interstate 20.
Flag of Bienville Parish, Louisiana.svg
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Region North Louisiana
Founded March 14, 1848
Named for Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville
Parish seat Arcadia
Largest municipality Bienville (area)
Arcadia (population)
 • Total 2,130 km2 (822 sq mi)
 • Land 2,100 km2 (811 sq mi)
 • Water 30 km2 (11 sq mi)
 • percentage 3 km2 (1.3 sq mi)
 • Total 12,981
 • Density 6.097/km2 (15.792/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code 318
Congressional district 4th

Bienville Parish (French: Paroisse de Bienville) is a parish located in the northwestern portion of the U.S. state of Louisiana. At the 2020 census, the population was 12,981. The parish seat is Arcadia.

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.


In the 1830s, Ruben Drake moved his family from South Carolina to what he named Mount Lebanon, the first permanent settlement in the parish. As the Drakes were devout Baptists, they established a church and school, which evolved into Mount Lebanon University, the forerunner of Louisiana College in Pineville in Rapides Parish in Central Louisiana.

On March 14, 1848, the Louisiana State Legislature created Bienville Parish from the lower portion of Claiborne Parish. Bienville Parish was named in honor of the French Canadian explorer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, who was governor of French Louisiana for a total of thirty years.

The original parish seat was Sparta, a defunct community located between Bienville and Ringgold. All that remains of Sparta are two cemeteries. Among the early settlers of Sparta were the brothers Green and James Huckaby, ancestors of later U.S. Representative Jerry Huckaby of Louisiana's 5th congressional district. The courthouse was moved to Arcadia in 1893.

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

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, established in 1900 is named for castor oil.) 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."

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, the son of Ted Hinton, one of the officers involved in the ambush.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 822 square miles (2,130 km2), of which 811 square miles (2,100 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (1.3%) 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


  • I-20.svg Interstate 20
  • US 80.svg U.S. Highway 80
  • US 371.svg U.S. Highway 371
  • Louisiana 4.svg Louisiana Highway 4
  • Louisiana 9.svg Louisiana Highway 9


Historical population
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%
2020 12,981 −9.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990

2020 census

Bienville Parish racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 6,901 53.16%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 5,273 40.62%
Native American 61 0.47%
Asian 21 0.16%
Pacific Islander 5 0.04%
Other/Mixed 509 3.92%
Hispanic or Latino 211 1.63%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 12,981 people, 5,812 households, and 3,586 families residing in the parish.


Map of Bienville Parish Louisiana With Municipal Labels
Map of Bienville Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels



Unincorporated community

  • Fryeburg (formerly Hope)


The Bienville Parish School Board operates area public schools.

Notable people

  • Henry Newton Brown Jr., judge of the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeals (1992-2012) and district attorney of Bossier and Webster parishes (1976-1991), was born in Bienville Parish in 1941.
  • Bill DeMott, a professional wrestler, maintains a house in Bienville Parish.
  • Caroline Dormon (1888–1971), a Louisiana botanist and preservationist, grew up in Bienville Parish.
  • Jamie Fair, member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1980 to 1984
  • Charlie Hennigan, American Football League player from the 1960s
  • Billy McCormack (1928-2012), Baptist pastor from Shreveport, director and vice president of the Christian Coalition of America, was born in Bienville Parish and is interred at Ringgold.
  • C. L. McCrary (1905-1989), Arcadia businessman and state representative from Bienville Parish from 1960 to 1964
  • Garnie W. McGinty (1900–1984), Louisiana historian
  • Danny Roy Moore (1925–c. 2020), represented Claiborne and Bienville parishes in the Louisiana Senate from 1964 to 1968; resided in Arcadia
  • W. C. Robinson, mathematics professor and second president of Louisiana Tech for the 1899 to 1900 academic year; Robinson Hall on campus is named in his honor; from the Mount Lebanon community.
  • Lee Smith, pitcher
  • Sam Smith (1922-1995), Member of the Washington House of Representatives was born in Gibsland.
  • Jesse N. Stone, president of the Southern University System from 1974 to 1985; civil rights activist
  • Marshall H. Twitchell, Reconstruction era state senator who helped to establish Coushatta, the seat of neighboring Red River Parish
  • Rush Wimberly, former member of both houses of the Louisiana legislature, lawyer in Arcadia and Shreveport

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Parroquia de Bienville para niños

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