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Madison Parish
Parish of Madison
Madison Parish Courthouse in Tallulah
Madison Parish Courthouse in Tallulah
Map of Louisiana highlighting Madison 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 James Madison
Seat Tallulah
Largest city Tallulah
 • Total 651 sq mi (1,690 km2)
 • Land 624 sq mi (1,620 km2)
 • Water 26 sq mi (70 km2)  4.1%
 • Total 12,093
 • Estimate 
 • Density 18.576/sq mi (7.172/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 5th
Confederate soldier statue, Madison Parish, LA IMG 0194
Confederate soldier statue on Madison Parish Courthouse lawn
Three crosses in Madison Parish, LA IMG 7447
Christian crosses off U.S. Highway 65 in south Madison Parish

Madison Parish (French: Paroisse de Madison) is a parish located on the northeastern border of the U.S. state of Louisiana, in the delta lowlands along the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,093. Its parish seat is Tallulah. The parish was formed in 1839.

With a history of cotton plantations and pecan farms, the parish economy continues to be primarily agricultural. It has a majority African-American population. For years a ferry connected Delta, Louisiana (and traffic from the parish) to Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Vicksburg Bridge now carries U.S. Route 80 and Interstate 20 across the river into Madison Parish.



Madison Parish was the home to many succeeding Native American groups in the thousands of years before European settlements began. Peoples of the Marksville culture, Troyville culture, Coles Creek culture and Plaquemine culture built villages and mound sites throughout the area. Notable examples include the Fitzhugh Mounds and the Raffman Site.

Modern era

James Madison
James Madison, namesake of Madison Parish, Louisiana

The parish is named for former U.S. President James Madison. Furthermore in Madison's honor, the parish courthouse is built in the colonial Virginia style of architecture though, as with many other Louisiana communities, the structure sits in the center of the immediate downtown area. It faces east. Nearby is the Tallulah City Hall, which faces south.

During the American Civil War, Madison Parish, then a rich cotton area, sent many of its men into battle early in the war. In 1862, it paid $80 to anyone joining one of her Confederate military companies. When Governor Thomas Overton Moore saw that New Orleans would fall to the Union, he issued orders for the destruction of cotton to keep it from Federal hands. Hence hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cotton were burned as the planters sadly looked on. Governor Moore asked Brig. Gen. R. B. Todd, who commanded the Eleventh Brigade in northeast Louisiana to call into active service his own militia and all men between eighteen and forty who were not subject to conscription. These men from Madison, Carroll, and Tensas parishes were to cooperate with Confederate authorities to help repel Federal attacks in the area.

Toward the end of the war, Madison Parish faced problems with jayhawkers sympathetic to the Union, who according to historian Winters, "were holed up in the impenetrable cane and cypress swamps in the area. This band, made up of draft dodgers, deserters, and runaway Negroes, often left the swamps to rob, kill, or capture anyone who passed by on the road." The Confederates dressed in Federal uniforms to trick the jayhawkers. Winters continues: "The leader of the desperadoes, a huge black, welcomed the supposed Federal troops. Suddenly the [Confederate] disguised men fell upon the surprised gang and began to slaughter them. [In] a quick but bloody struggle [the Confederates] killed 130 of the group. The few who escaped never again returned to ravage the area."

The Sevier family dominated Madison Parish politics for more than a century. The Seviers claim descent from John Sevier, a fighter in the American Revolution, governor of Tennessee, and namesake of Sevierville and Sevier County in eastern Tennessee. Among the political Seviers were Louisiana State Senator Andrew L. Sevier, who served from 1932 until his death in 1962, and State Representative Henry Clay "Happy" Sevier, Sr., whose tenure extended from 1936 to 1952. William Putnam "Buck" Sevier, Jr., was a banker, town alderman, and mayor of Tallulah from 1947 until his retirement in 1974. Andrew Jackson Sevier, Jr., served as sheriff of Madison Parish from 1904 until his death in 1941, when he was briefly succeeded by his wife, Mary Louise Day Sevier. Not a Sevier, but married to the former Rosa Vertner Sevier, was State Representative Mason Spencer, who served in the House from 1924 to 1936.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 651 square miles (1,690 km2), of which 624 square miles (1,620 km2) is land and 26 square miles (67 km2) (4.1%) is water.

Major highways

Adjacent counties and parishes

National protected areas


Because of limited job opportunities as agriculture has mechanized and the Chicago Lumber Mill closed, the parish population has declined overall by about one-third since its peak in 1980. Numerous African Americans left during the first half of the 20th century in the Great Migration to escape the violence and oppression of Jim Crow; they moved to the North and West.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 5,142
1850 8,773 70.6%
1860 14,133 61.1%
1870 8,600 −39.1%
1880 13,906 61.7%
1890 14,135 1.6%
1900 12,322 −12.8%
1910 10,676 −13.4%
1920 10,829 1.4%
1930 14,829 36.9%
1940 18,443 24.4%
1950 17,451 −5.4%
1960 16,444 −5.8%
1970 15,065 −8.4%
1980 15,975 6.0%
1990 12,463 −22.0%
2000 13,728 10.2%
2010 12,093 −11.9%
2018 (est.) 11,161 −7.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013


Madison Parish racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 3,414 34.08%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 6,173 61.63%
Native American 27 0.27%
Asian 6 0.06%
Pacific Islander 5 0.05%
Other/Mixed 188 1.88%
Hispanic or Latino 204 2.04%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 10,017 people, 3,832 households, and 2,443 families residing in the parish.


According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the racial makeup was:


As of the census of 2000, there were 13,728 people, 4,469 households, and 3,141 families residing in the parish. The population density was 22 people per square mile (8/km2). There were 4,979 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the parish was 60.34% Black or African American, 37.86% White, 0.15% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. 2.10% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,469 households, out of which 35.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.20% were married couples living together, 24.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the parish the population was spread out, with 32.60% under the age of 18, 11.20% from 18 to 24, 25.50% from 25 to 44, 19.10% from 45 to 64, and 11.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 103.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.60 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $20,509, and the median income for a family was $23,589. Males had a median income of $26,394 versus $16,141 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $10,114. About 29.70% of families and 36.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 51.60% of those under age 18 and 22.00% of those age 65 or over. The parish's per-capita income makes it one of the poorest places in the United States.


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




Public schools in Madison Parish are operated by the Madison Parish School Board.

Notable people

  • Buddy Caldwell
  • Edgar H. Lancaster, Jr.
  • James E. Paxton
  • Zelma Wyche
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