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Caldwell Parish
Parish of Caldwell
Trees shield the Caldwell Parish Courthouse in Columbia, constructed in 1937 and renovated in 1971.
Trees shield the Caldwell Parish Courthouse in Columbia, constructed in 1937 and renovated in 1971.
Map of Louisiana highlighting Caldwell Parish
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Map of the United States highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Founded 1838
Named for Local Caldwell family
Seat Columbia
Largest village Clarks
Area
 • Total 541 sq mi (1,400 km2)
 • Land 529 sq mi (1,370 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (30 km2)  2.1%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 10,132
 • Estimate 
(2018)
9,960
 • Density 18.728/sq mi (7.231/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 5th
Caldwell Parish sign, LA, IMG 2755

Caldwell Parish (French: Paroisse de Caldwell) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,132, making it the fifth-least populous parish in Louisiana. The parish seat is Columbia. Most residents live in the country even beyond the three rural communities in the parish.

History

Originally a part of Catahoula and Ouachita parishes, Caldwell Parish was established within its present boundaries on March 6, 1838, with earlier settlements recorded to have been made soon after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Columbia, the parish seat, was founded in 1827, at a natural crossing on the Ouachita River—a river with a national reputation for its natural beauty. The Ouachita divides the parish into delta farmland and wetlands on the east, and piney woods hill country on the west. In the 1800s, Columbia became a steamboat town for the transport of timber staves and cotton. Forestry and agriculture are still the prominent industries in the parish.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 541 square miles (1,400 km2), of which 529 square miles (1,370 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (2.1%) is water.

Major highways

  • US 165.svg U.S. Highway 165
  • Louisiana 4.svg Louisiana Highway 4

Adjacent parishes

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,017
1850 2,815 39.6%
1860 4,833 71.7%
1870 4,820 −0.3%
1880 5,767 19.6%
1890 5,814 0.8%
1900 6,917 19.0%
1910 8,593 24.2%
1920 9,514 10.7%
1930 10,430 9.6%
1940 12,046 15.5%
1950 10,293 −14.6%
1960 9,004 −12.5%
1970 9,354 3.9%
1980 10,761 15.0%
1990 9,810 −8.8%
2000 10,560 7.6%
2010 10,132 −4.1%
2018 (est.) 9,960 −1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Caldwell Parish racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 7,551 78.29%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,528 15.84%
Native American 19 0.2%
Asian 42 0.44%
Pacific Islander 3 0.03%
Other/Mixed 281 2.91%
Hispanic or Latino 221 2.29%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 9,645 people, 3,665 households, and 2,534 families residing in the parish.

Culture

Having a very diverse geographical and plant environment, Caldwell Parish is home to a one-thousand acre preserve, located near Copenhagen. Run by the Nature Conservancy, it attracts botanical and archeological enthusiasts from a wide area. The University of Louisiana at Monroe owns a one-hundred acre outdoor classroom, located near Hough Bend, that is used primarily for tree identification. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns an outdoor preserve located on Lock and Dam Road. Together with its rivers, lakes and bayous, and the 65,000 acre Boeuf Wildlife Preserve, Caldwell is a huge attraction for hunters and anglers.

Caldwell Parish has been home to The Louisiana Art and Folk Festival since 1956. Held during the second weekend of October on Main Street in Columbia, this festival celebrates the history and culture of Caldwell Parish, with hundreds of pieces of arts and craft, entertainment, and good food. The Louisiana Artists Museum, also on Main Street in the historic Schepis Building, features rotating exhibits and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Martin Homeplace Museum showcases artifacts and memorabilia from Caldwell Parish's rich cultural history in a farmhouse built in 1878 on an 1816 Spanish land grant. It too is on the National Register of Historic Places. The annual Lions Club Championship Rodeo is a three-day event every June, recognized as the longest continuous running rodeo in the state, where more than 15,000 hot dogs are consumed each year.

The Morengo Swamp Mudride, the world's largest four-wheeler mud ride in the world, is held the first weekend in June. Thousands of riders from across the nation converge on Hebert in the northeast part of the parish for this spectacular event. Proceeds from the ride go to the "Wish I Could" Foundation.

National Guard

1023RD Engineer Company (Vertical) of the 225TH Engineer Brigade resides in Clarks, Louisiana.

Communities

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

Town

Villages

Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Gallery

Education

The Caldwell Parish School Board serves the parish. There are three elementary schools Columbia Elementary, Central Elementary, and Grayson Elementary in the parish, one Jr high, Caldwell Parish Jr High, and one high school, Caldwell Parish High School, located between Columbia and Grayson. The schools have consistently been highly rated with a long history of student success both in the classroom and beyond. This is truly the pride of the parish.

Notable people

  • Buddy Caldwell, Louisiana State Attorney General, served 2008–2016.
  • J.D. DeBlieux, Louisiana State Senator representing East Baton Rouge Parish, 1956-1960 & 1964-1976
  • Graves B. Erskine USMC (1917-1961), Marine Corps General Officer (4-Star) who served in three wars and commanded 3d Marine Division during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Awarded the Silver Star and fourragère in WWI, fighting in five major battles and being wounded twice. His service in WWII included Iwo Jima & 5 other battles. Legion of Merit (2) & Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Post WWII Dir. of Special Ops.
  • Garland Gregory, LA Tech Football, 1st Team All America (1941). NFL San Francisco 49ers, 2nd Team All AFC (1947).
  • Hubert D. Humphreys, Louisiana historian and native of Grayson
  • Pam Kelly, recipient of the Wade Trophy, the most valuable women's collegiate basketball player in the nation
  • John J. McKeithen, governor of Louisiana (1964–1972); Louisiana Public Service Commissioner (1955–1964); state representative (1948–1952); U.S. Army combat officer (1942–1945) in the 77th Infantry Division. Mckeithen was awarded two Bronze Stars and Campaign Ribbons for participation in the Battle of Leyte, the reduction of Ie Shima, and Okinawa.
  • W. Fox McKeithen, Louisiana House of Representatives (1984–1988); five-term Louisiana Secretary of State (1988–2005)
  • Clay Parker, LSU baseball pitcher and football punter (1981-1985), Major League Baseball (1987-1992), New York Yankees (1989) ERA: 3.68, Detroit Tigers (1991) ERA: 3.18
  • Neil Riser, Louisiana State Senator elected in 2007 from the 32nd District, which includes Caldwell Parish, the first Republican from this district since Reconstruction
  • Chet D. Traylor, Louisiana Supreme Court, 1997–2009
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