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Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana facts for kids

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Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
Map of Louisiana highlighting Calcasieu Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the USA highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded March 24, 1840
Seat Lake Charles
Largest City Lake Charles
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,094 sq mi (2,833 km²)
1,064 sq mi (2,756 km²)
31 sq mi (80 km²), 2.8%
 - (2015)
 - Density

181/sq mi (70/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Named for: Atakapa word for crying eagle

Calcasieu Parish[p] (French: Paroisse de Calcasieu) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 192,768. The parish seat is Lake Charles.

Calcasieu Parish is part of the Lake Charles, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 194,138. It is also located near the Beaumont–Port Arthur (Texas), Lafayette, and Alexandria metropolitan areas.

Calcasieu Parish was created March 24, 1840, from the parish of Saint Landry, one of the original nineteen civil parishes established by the Louisiana Legislature in 1807 after the United States acquired the territory in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The original parish seat was Comasaque Bluff, a settlement east of the river and later called Marsh Bayou Bluff. On December 8, 1840, it was renamed as Marion, Louisiana.

In 1852 Jacob Ryan, a local planter and businessman, donated land and offered to move the courthouse in order to have the parish seat moved to Lake Charles. As the population in this area grew over the years, the original Calcasieu Parish has since been divided into five smaller parishes. The original area of Calcasieu Parish is called Imperial Calcasieu.


The name Calcasieu [p] comes from the Atakapan word, "quelqueshue" in a French transliteration, meaning "crying eagle." It was the name of an Atakapa chief, which French colonists applied to the local river, the Calcasieu River. When the Spanish controlled this area, they referred to this river as the Rio Hondo River (Rio Stondo or "Deep River"). The Americans adopted the French name in turn for the parish.

Early history

The early history of the parish dates to the period of the Spanish occupation of Louisiana, after France had ceded this territory following its defeat by Great Britain in the Seven Years War. In 1797, Jose M. Mora was granted a large tract of land between the Rio Hondo (now Calcasieu River) and the Sabine River, known for years as the "Neutral Strip". The area became a refuge for outlaws and filibusters from Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi of the United States, which had recently gained independence from Great Britain.

The territory was disputed for years between Spain and the United States after France had ceded Louisiana to the American government as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. It was definitively acquired by the United States from Spain with the Adams-Onis Treaty in 1819. The treaty was formally ratified on February 22, 1821. By an act of Congress, approved on March 3, 1823, this strip of land was attached to the district of the Louisiana Territory south of the Red River.

Early settlers to the area included the Ryan, Perkin, LeBleu, Deviers, and Henderson families. Acadian settlers, from the eastern parishes of Louisiana, also migrated to this area. Of French descent and exiled from Acadia, many of these refugees had settled in Louisiana. The parish had a diverse ethnic mix of French and Spanish Creoles, Acadians, Anglo-Americans, and Indians.

When "Imperial Calcasieu Parish" was created in 1840 from the Parish of Saint Landry, it comprised a large area. With the growth of population in the area, this was subsequently divided into five parishes. On August 24, 1840, six men met to organize as representatives for six wards that later became five parishes. The meeting was held in the house of Arsene LeBleu near present-day Chloe. The first jury men were David Simmons, Alexander Hébert, Michel Pithon, Henry Moss, Rees Perkins, and Thomas M. Williams. Their first order of business was to elect officers, appoint a parish clerk, and settle on simple parliamentary rules that would enable the president to keep the meetings orderly and progressive. The jury adopted all of the laws then in force in Saint Landry Parish. They appointed a parish constable, a parish treasurer, two parish assessors, and an operator of the ferry at Buchanan's crossing. The assessors were given two months to assess all of the property in the parish and a salary of $90.

On September 14, 1840, a survey was authorized of land known then as Marsh Bayou Bluff in order to establish a seat of justice (parish seat) and construct a courthouse and jail. On December 8, 1840 the jury chose to rename this community as [Marion. In 1843, the Legislature authorized a vote to move the parish seat.

Finally in 1852 Jacob Ryan was successful in having the parish seat relocated from Marion to the east bank of Lake Charles. This parish seat was incorporated in 1857 as the town of Charleston; it was reincorporated in 1868 as Lake Charles. It is located about six miles (10 km) from Marion, now known as Old Town. The name Lake Charles commemorates one of the first European settlers, Charles Sallier, an Italian who acquired land in this area at the beginning of the 19th century.

In 1870 Cameron Parish was taken from the south portion of Imperial Calcasieu. it was one of several parishes organized during the Reconstruction era by the Republican-dominated legislature, in an effort to build Republican strength. Because areas had been developed as cotton plantations, Calcasieu Parish had numerous slaves. After emancipation, most joined the Republican Party. The area set aside for Cameron Parish had a majority-white population. In the late 1870s, white Democrats regained control of the state legislature through fraud and intimidation. At the turn of the century, they disenfranchised most blacks, then passed racial segregation and other Jim Crow laws.

In 1912 Calcasieu Parish still comprised an area of more than 3,600 square miles (9,300 km2), and it was the largest parish in the state. For this reason it is sometimes called "Imperial Calcasieu". In 1912, the three parishes of Allen, Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis, with a total area of approximately 2,548 square miles (6,600 km2), were formed from the Parish of Calcasieu. These were the last parishes organized in Louisiana. These jurisdictional changes are believed to account for the marked decrease in population of Calcasieu Parish between 1910 and 1920, as seen in the censuses for those years.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 1,094 square miles (2,830 km2), of which 1,064 square miles (2,760 km2) is land and 31 square miles (80 km2) (2.8%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-10.svg Interstate 10
  • I-210.svg Interstate 210
  • US 90.svg U.S. Highway 90
  • US 165.svg U.S. Highway 165
  • US 171.svg U.S. Highway 171
  • Louisiana 12.svg Louisiana Highway 12
  • Louisiana 14.svg Louisiana Highway 14
  • Louisiana 27.svg Louisiana Highway 27

Adjacent counties and parishes

Major waterways

  • Lake Charles
  • Calcasieu River
  • Intracoastal Canal
  • Ouiski Chitto Creek
  • English Bayou
  • West Fork
  • Calcasieu Lake


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,057
1850 3,914 90.3%
1860 5,928 51.5%
1870 6,733 13.6%
1880 12,484 85.4%
1890 20,176 61.6%
1900 30,428 50.8%
1910 62,767 106.3%
1920 32,807 −47.7%
1930 41,963 27.9%
1940 56,506 34.7%
1950 89,635 58.6%
1960 145,475 62.3%
1970 145,415 0.0%
1980 167,223 15.0%
1990 168,134 0.5%
2000 183,577 9.2%
2010 192,768 5.0%
Est. 2015 198,788 3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2010, there were 192,768 people, 73,996 households, and 50,490 families residing in the parish. The population density was 176 people per square mile (66/km²). There were 75,995 housing units at an average density of 71 per square mile (27/km²). 70.8% of the population were White, 24.9% Black or African American, 1.1% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 0.9% of some other race and 1.9% of two or more races. 2.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 24.9% were of French, French Canadian or Cajun, 8.4% American, 6.2% Irish, 6.2% English and 6.1% German ancestry. 5.98% reported speaking French or Cajun French at home, while 1.56% speak Spanish.[1]

There were 73,996 households out of which 35.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.60% were married couples living together, 14.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.50% were non-families. 24.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the parish the population was spread out with 27.40% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 28.70% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 11.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 94.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.30 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $35,372, and the median income for a family was $41,903. Males had a median income of $36,569 versus $21,390 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $17,710. About 12.80% of families and 15.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.90% of those under age 18 and 14.20% of those age 65 or over.

National Guard

Elements of the 256th IBCT and the 139TH RSG (Regional Support Group) are based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The 256th IBCT deployed to Iraq twice, 2004-5 and 2010. De Quincy, Louisiana is the home of both the HHC 3-156TH Infantry Battalion and F Company of the 199th Forward Support Battalion. These units deployed to Iraq with the 256TH IBCT.


Map of Calcasieu Parish Louisiana With Municipal Labels
Map of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana with municipal labels.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated community

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