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Colfax, Louisiana
Town of Colfax
Colfax City Hall
Colfax City Hall
Location of Colfax in Grant Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Colfax in Grant Parish, Louisiana.
Colfax, Louisiana is located in Louisiana
Colfax, Louisiana
Colfax, Louisiana
Location in Louisiana
Colfax, Louisiana is located in the United States
Colfax, Louisiana
Colfax, Louisiana
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Founded 1869
Parish seat Grant Parish
Metropolitan area Alexandria
 • Type Mayor
 • Body Gerald Hamilton (D)
 • Total 1.50 sq mi (3.88 km2)
 • Land 1.49 sq mi (3.86 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
100 ft (30 m)
 • Total 1,428
 • Rank GR: 1st
 • Density 957.75/sq mi (369.73/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 318
Colfax Banking Co., Colfax, LA IMG 2410
Colfax Banking Company
LA Pecan Festival Country Store, Colfax, LA IMG 2377
The Louisiana Pecan Festival Country Store is activated during the annual festival the first weekend of November.
Colfax, LA, Elementary School IMG 2402
Colfax Elementary School; pupils in Colfax attend Grant High School in nearby Dry Prong.
First United Methodist Church, Colfax, LA IMG 2392
First United Methodist Church in Colfax

Colfax is a town in, and the parish seat of, Grant Parish, Louisiana, United States, founded in 1869. Colfax is part of the Alexandria, Louisiana metropolitan area. The largely African American population of Colfax counted 1,558 at the 2010 census.


Colfax was settled by European Americans as a Red River port within Rapides Parish. Prior to the Civil War, it was known as "Calhoun's Landing", named for the cotton and sugar planter Meredith Calhoun, a native of South Carolina. Calhoun also published the former National Democrat newspaper in Colfax.

During the Reconstruction Era, Colfax was the scene of the Colfax massacre on Easter, April 13, 1873. Some three white attackers and about 150 African Americans were killed in one of the most egregious acts of terrorism during Reconstruction. A white militia was led against freedmen by Christopher Columbus Nash, elected sheriff on a Fusionist/Democratic slate. Freedmen were defending Republican officials at the county courthouse and had gathered there as tensions rose in a post-election dispute. A contemporary report by the U.S. military documented the three white fatalities and 105 black victims by name, with 15-20 unidentified blacks found in the Red River. Because of the disproportionate number of deaths between whites and blacks, and documented accounts that at least 50 black prisoners were executed while under control of the white militia, 20th-century historians redefined the "riot" as a "massacre". The event is significant because blacks, who comprised the majority in the county, organized to defend themselves and their political rights.

The riot arose from the disputed gubernatorial election of 1872, finally determined in the favor of the Republican William Pitt Kellogg by the federal government. Both the Fusion-Democrats and the Republicans held inaugurations and certified their own slates of local officers. Kellogg had not recognized Nash's election as sheriff. A native of Sabine Parish, Nash had been a Confederate army officer, held as a prisoner of war at Johnson's Island in Ohio from 1863 to 1865. Following the events of 1873, in 1874 Nash gathered many of the same men to establish the White League, a white supremacist paramilitary organization that operated on behalf of Democrats and eventually had chapters in many areas of Louisiana. It worked to intimidate and attack black voters, to run Republicans out of office, and to suppress black voting.

On April 13, 1921, the white citizens of Colfax unveiled a 12-foot (3.7 m) marble obelisk that read, "In Loving Remembrance, Erected to the Memory of the Heroes, Stephen Decatur Parish, James West Hadnot, Sidney Harris. Who fell in the Colfax Riot, fighting for White Supremacy, April 13, 1873."

In 1950 the state commerce department erected a historical marker identifying the site of the "Colfax Riot"; it says that the militia's victory "marked the end of carpetbag misrule in the South." Because of similar insurgent paramilitary violence in other areas of the state, especially during campaigns and elections, federal troops remained in Louisiana until 1877, when they were removed on orders of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes.

In 2007, the Red River Heritage Association was founded to collect and interpret the history of Reconstruction, especially in the Red River area and Louisiana. The association is raising funds to restore a bank in Colfax near the former courthouse site to use as a museum, archives and interpretive center.

On January 15, 2016, the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Main Street in Colfax was among the 296 stores announced for closure. The business began only in May 2015. It was to close on January 28, 2016. Wal-Mart closed all of its 102 "express" locations, which came into being in 2011.


Colfax is located in western Grant County at 31°31′11″N 92°42′30″W / 31.51972°N 92.70833°W / 31.51972; -92.70833 (31.519783, -92.708446), on the northeast side of the Red River, and has an elevation of 95 feet (29.0 m) above sea level. Louisiana Highway 8 passes through the center of town, leading east 2 miles (3 km) to U.S. Route 71 and south 12 miles (19 km) to Boyce. Alexandria is 26 miles (42 km) to the southeast.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Colfax has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.54%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 40
1890 161
1900 190 18.0%
1910 1,049 452.1%
1920 1,449 38.1%
1930 1,141 −21.3%
1940 1,354 18.7%
1950 1,651 21.9%
1960 1,934 17.1%
1970 1,892 −2.2%
1980 1,680 −11.2%
1990 1,696 1.0%
2000 1,659 −2.2%
2010 1,558 −6.1%
2020 1,428 −8.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Colfax racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 532 37.25%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 834 58.4%
Native American 1 0.07%
Asian 4 0.28%
Other/Mixed 41 2.87%
Hispanic or Latino 16 1.12%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,428 people, 686 households, and 470 families residing in the town.


A facility burning explosives and munitions waste first opened in Colfax in 1985, and was licensed in 1993. Clean Harbors acquired it in 2002 from Safety-Kleen. The plant disposes of explosives and munitions waste by open burns from ammunition plants or defense contractors at "at least 42 locations across 22 states". In July 2017 it has been described as "the only commercial facility in the nation" allowed to do so without environmental emissions controls. It has been burning propellant waste from the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, 95 miles north.

During the first full weekend in November, Colfax hosts the annual Louisiana Pecan Festival, an outgrowth of the centennial celebration of the town held in 1969.


Public schools in Grant Parish are operated by the Grant Parish School Board. As the former Colfax High School was consolidated into Grant High School in Dry Prong, the only remaining school in the town is Colfax Elementary School.

Notable people

  • Leonard R. "Pop" Hataway, Grant Parish sheriff, 1976-2008, based in Colfax; resident of Dry Prong
  • Allison Kolb, Louisiana state auditor from 1952 to 1956, was born in Colfax. A Baton Rouge attorney, banker, and philanthropist, Kolb ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 1968, as a Democrat-turned-Republican.
  • W. T. McCain, state representative for Grant Parish 1940 to 1948 and first state district court judge solely for Grant Parish (1976)

See also

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