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Cotton Valley, Louisiana
Revised photo, downtown Cotton Valley, LA IMG 5128.JPG
Downtown Cotton Valley with United States Post Office at the right and municipal building at the left
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Webster
Elevation 226 ft (68.9 m)
Coordinates 32°48′52″N 93°25′17″W / 32.81444°N 93.42139°W / 32.81444; -93.42139
Area 2.6 sq mi (6.7 km²)
 - land 2.6 sq mi (7 km²)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km²), 0%
Population 1,009 (2010)
Mayor Joseph Alexander (D)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 318

Cotton Valley is a town in central Webster Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,009 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 180 persons, or 15 percent, from the 2000 tabulation.

Cotton Valley is located some twenty miles northwest of the parish seat of Minden.


Cotton Valley Wildcats sign IMG 3557
Cotton Valley water tower highlights the high school named "Wildcats."
Revised Calumet Industries photo, Cotton Valley, LA IMG 3539
Calumet Industries, formerly Cotton Valley Oil Company, located off U.S. Highway 371 in Cotton Valley
Revised photo, First Baptist Church, Cotton Valley, LA IMG 5131
First Baptist Church of Cotton Valley
Revised photo, Cotton Valley, LA, United Methodist Ch. IMG 5129
First United Methodist Church in Cotton Valley
Senior citizens center in Cotton Valley, LA IMG 3554
This former railroad depot houses the Cotton Valley Community Center.
Cotton Valley (LA) High School Veterans Memorial IMG 0643
Veterans Memorial at the former Cotton Valley High School
New Cotton Valley, LA, library IMG 3545
The new Cotton Valley branch of the Webster Parish Library off Highway 371
Dr. John Pugh Memorial Library in Cotton Valley, LA IMG 0646
This vacant former office of the physician John Pugh was the site of the former Cotton Valley branch library.
Ho-Made Restaurant in Cotton Valley, LA IMG 3581
The Ho-Made Cafe off Highway 371, a mainstay of Cotton Valley for many years, closed in 2012 but reopened in 2013. Cotton Valley's population declined by 15 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Municipal matters

Cotton Valley was established in the mid-19th century but was not incorporated until 1944, when J. B. Roby, a Democrat, became its first mayor. Initially appointed, Roby was elected to the position on April 11, 1944. He polled 162 votes to opponent F. G. Mixon's 47 ballots. In 1946, Roby was succeeded by A. C. Borland, who served a total of twenty-two years. An insurance agent, Borland did not seek reelection in 1968 and was succeeded by E. M. Hollingsworth. Borland was credited with the building of the Cotton Valley city hall, recreation center and municipal park. He died in 1987.

In June 2010, the Minden Press-Herald reported that Cotton Valley Town Clerk Myra Kilburn to have been in violation of the Louisiana Public Records Act (Revised Statutes 44:33). Kilburn has repeatedly ignored the newspaper's request for public records though the law requires that the information be released within seventy-two hours after the request is made. Kilburn said that she will accept whatever sanctions will be assessed against her. "I absolutely did what you are saying I did. . . . Looking up your records got a backseat," Kilburn told the Press-Herald.

Meanwhile, the three-term city alderman Charlene Lewis and the municipal legal counsel, Charles Jacobs, resigned after ethics complaints surfaced regarding Lewis' employment with Jacobs’ firm. Jacobs said that "too many personality conflicts exist for me to effectively serve . . . I'm just going to resign and be done with it." Jacobs said that Kilburn refused to listen to his legal advice regarding public records and that the municipality, which has financial problems, has not paid him.

Two Democrats, incumbent Comerdis Phillips and challenger Roy Joseph Duck met in the nonpartisan blanket primary for mayor of Cotton Valley, held on November 6, 2012, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential and congressional elections. Phillips prevailed with 233 votes (53.6 percent) to Duck's 202 ballots (46.4 percent). Phillips was elected in 2008 in a three-candidate field with 51 percent of the vote. The runner-up that year was a Republican, Ken Gray, who finished with 44 percent.

Phillips was unseated in her bid for a third term in the November 8, 2016 primary election by another African-American Democrat, Joseph Alexander, who assumed the position on December 23, 2016.

Marlon Pope Special Learning Center

Cotton Valley was the home of the former Marlon Pope Special Learning Center, named for Chester Marlon Pope (1929–1987), a civic leader and a Republican member of the Webster Parish School Board, originally from Mobile, Alabama. Pope died of cancer shortly after vacating his seat on the school board. It was one of the first two pilot schools in Louisiana designated for the multi-handicapped.

Jarrell Francis "Jerry" Heard (1923–2010), a native of Alexandria who was reared in Ruston, and later resided most of his adult life in Minden, was one of the first principals of the Marlon Pope center. A Purple Heart recipient from the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II, Heard developed a special rapport with handicapped children; his school stationary bore the biblical inscription: "When you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:45) Heard earlier had taught in East Baton Rouge Parish and at E.S. Richardson Elementary School near his home in Minden. A United Methodist, Heard died at the age of eighty-six of esophageal cancer in Ponchatoula in Tangipahoa Parish, where he had resided for his last years.


On New Year's Eve 1947, a massive tornado ripped through the town. Eighteen people died, and more than two hundred were injured.

A new branch library has opened off U.S. Highway 371. It replaces the former facility in the old office of Dr. John Pugh, a long-time Cotton Valley physician, who began his practice in 1901.

Cotton Valley High School sports the teams called the "Wildcats."

Cotton Valley has several churches, including First Baptist, First United Methodist, Pentecostal, and Wesley Grove Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The former Church of Christ building is now occupied by Cornerstone Baptist Church.

Among the businesses is the Ho-Made restaurant for both inside dining and carry-out and a part of the town's social fabric for decades.


Cotton Valley is located at 32°48′52″N 93°25′17″W / 32.81444°N 93.42139°W / 32.81444; -93.42139 (32.814421, -93.421299).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 1,133
1950 1,188
1960 1,145 −3.6%
1970 1,261 10.1%
1980 1,445 14.6%
1990 1,130 −21.8%
2000 1,189 5.2%
2010 1,009 −15.1%
2015 (est.) 974 −3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,189 people, 477 households, and 313 families residing in the town. The population density was 451.2 people per square mile (173.9/km²). There were 568 housing units at an average density of 215.5 per square mile (83.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 56.01% White, 42.39% African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.08% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.43% of the population.

There were 477 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 19.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the town, the population was spread out with 26.7% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $22,000, and the median income for a family was $30,515. Males had a median income of $30,345 versus $21,635 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,662. About 25.9% of families and 30.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.4% of those under age 18 and 22.4% of those age 65 or over.

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