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Bogalusa, Louisiana
Great Southern Lumber Company in Bogalusa Louisiana in the 1930s.jpg
Great Southern Lumber Company in Bogalusa, 1930s
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Washington
Elevation 95 ft (29 m)
Coordinates 30°46′50″N 89°51′50″W / 30.78056°N 89.86389°W / 30.78056; -89.86389
Area 9.5 sq mi (24.6 km²)
 - land 9.5 sq mi (25 km²)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km²), 1.05%
Population 12,232 (2010)
Density 1,287.6 /sq mi (497.1 /km²)
Incorporated July 4, 1914
Mayor Wendy O'Quin Perrette
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 985

Bogalusa is a small city in Washington Parish, Louisiana. The population was 12,232 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Bogalusa Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Washington Parish and is also part of the larger New OrleansMetairie–Bogalusa Combined Statistical Area. The name of the city derives from the Choctaw words bogue lusa, which translates to "dark water" in English.


Bogalusa 1911 Map
1911 Bogalusa maps

In 1908, the Great Southern Lumber Company (1908–38) sawmill began operation, and the Goodyear (Frank Henry Goodyear and Charles W. Goodyear) interests of New York built the city of Bogalusa to house workers for the sawmill. William H. Sullivan, the sawmill manager for the Goodyears, was town boss when the city was built (1906–1907) and then mayor until he died on June 26, 1929. The city, designed by New Orleans architect Rathbone DeBuys and built from nothing in less than a year, with several hotels, a YMCA and YWCA, churches of all faiths, and houses for the workers and supervisors, was called the Magic City due to its rapid construction. Bogalusa was incorporated as a city on July 4, 1914. At its peak in 1960, the city had over 21,000 residents.

National Atlas Louisiana closeup ESE
Bogalusa (top) in regional map, northeast of Baton Rouge and Hammond, north of New Orleans

The Great Southern Lumber Company's sprawling sawmill produced up to 1,000,000 board feet (2400 m3) of lumber a day. The sawmill closed in 1938, and was replaced as the city's main industry by a paper mill and a chemical plant run by Gaylord Container Corporation. The Crown Zellerbach Corporation acquired Gaylord's operations in 1955. An attempt to keep the sawmill open with California redwood proved too costly, and the mill was closed. Crown Zellerbach was the target of a hostile takeover in 1985, and the succeeding company for its container division was a new Gaylord Container Corporation, which operated for 16 years until acquired by Temple-Inland in 2002.

In the mid-1960s, Bogalusa was a center of activity for the Deacons for Defense and Justice.

In 1995 a railroad tank car imploded at Gaylord Chemical Corporation, releasing nitrogen tetroxide and forcing the evacuation of about 3,000 people within a one-mile (1.6 km) radius. Residents say "the sky turned orange" as a result. Emergency rooms filled with about 4,000 people who complained of burning eyes, skin, and lungs. Dozens of lawsuits were filed against Gaylord Chemical and were finally settled in May 2005, with compensation checks issued to around 20,000 people involved in the accident.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the city with winds of about 110 mph (175 km/h), downing numerous trees and power lines. Many buildings in Bogalusa received damage from falling trees, and several were destroyed. Most of the houses, businesses, and other buildings suffered roof damage from the storm's ferocious winds. Some outlying areas of the city were without power for over a month.


Bogalusa has an elevation of 100 feet (30.5 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.5 square miles (24.6 km2), of which, 9.5 square miles (24.6 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) (0.52%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 8,245
1930 14,029 70.2%
1940 14,604 4.1%
1950 17,798 21.9%
1960 21,423 20.4%
1970 18,412 −14.1%
1980 16,976 −7.8%
1990 14,280 −15.9%
2000 13,365 −6.4%
2010 12,232 −8.5%
Est. 2015 11,933 −2.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 13,365 people, 5,431 households, and 3,497 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,407.6 people per square mile (543.8/km²). There were 6,300 housing units at an average density of 663.5 per square mile (256.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 57.18% White, 41.21% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.75% of the population.

There were 5,431 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% were married couples living together, 23.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city, the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 82.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $19,261, and the median income for a family was $24,947. Males had a median income of $26,716 versus $17,992 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,476. About 26.1% of families and 32.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.1% of those under age 18 and 22.0% of those age 65 or over.

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