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Bienville Parish, Louisiana
Map of Louisiana highlighting Bienville Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the USA highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded March 14, 1848
Seat Arcadia
Largest town Arcadia
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

822 sq mi (2,129 km²)
811 sq mi (2,100 km²)
11 sq mi (28 km²), 1.3%
 - (2015)
 - Density

18/sq mi (7/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Named for: Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville
County flag Flag of Bienville Parish, Louisiana
Revised Bienville Parish Courthouse, Arcadia, LA IMG 5707
The former Bienville Parish courthouse building in Arcadia is adjacent to the parish library.
Bienville Parish (LA) Library IMG 5705
Across from the former courthouse is the Bienville Parish Library.
Veterans Memorial at Bienville Parish Courthouse IMG 0772
Veterans Memorial has been removed to the new Bienville Parish Courthouse.
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Bienville Parish, LA IMG 0703
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.

Bienville Parish (French: Paroisse de Bienville) is a parish located in the northwestern portion of the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,353. 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%
Est. 2015 13,786 −4.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census 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.


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



Unincorporated community

  • Fryeburg (formerly Hope)
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