Rapides Parish, Louisiana facts for kids
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Rapides Parish, Louisiana
|Parish of Rapides|
Upper portion of the Rapides Parish Courthouse in Alexandria
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
|Named for||The local river rapids|
|Parish seat (and largest city)||Alexandria|
|• Total||3,530 km2 (1,362 sq mi)|
|• Land||3,410 km2 (1,318 sq mi)|
|• Water||110 km2 (44 sq mi)|
|• percentage||8 km2 (3.2 sq mi)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||37.310/km2 (96.63/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
Rapides Parish (French: Paroisse des Rapides) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 131,613. The parish seat is Alexandria, which developed along the Red River of the South. Rapides is the French word for "rapids". The parish was created in 1807 after the United States acquired this territory in the Louisiana Purchase.
Rapides Parish is included in the Alexandria metropolitan area, Louisiana.
In 1763, the land that is now Rapides Parish became the new home of the Apalachee tribe, who were settled there with the permission of Governor Kerlerec. The Native Americans had come after fleeing the British and their Creek Indian allies from what is now from Leon County, Florida. Many of their descendants remain in Natchitoches Parish.
The first French settler was Vincent Porei, who was granted a small tract of land in July 1764 by the Civil and Military Commander of Natchitoches. Nicolas Etienne Marafret Layssard arrived in December 1766, with the permission of Aubrey and Foucault, to establish a "tar works" in the pineries of Rapides, for naval stores. He was later appointed the first Civil Commander of Rapides Parish. During the 1760s, the area was still a dependency of Natchitoches Parish [AGI, PPC, Legajo 187a, 384-384v].
Alexander Fulton had a Spanish land grant within Rapides Parish in the 1790s, where he laid out the future city of Alexandria in 1805. Rapides Parish was formed in 1807 by the government of the Territory of Orleans.
When the Union occupied Alexandria, elections were held on April 1, 1863, in Rapides Parish to select delegates for a pending state constitutional convention. According to Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, the election was held at Alexandria "by the request of citizens of the parish of Rapides. No officer or soldier interfered with or had any part whatever in this matter. It was left exclusively to the loyal citizens" in Rapides Parish. The election dates varied within the Federally occupied areas. New Orleans held its contests for delegates on March 28. Marksville and Grand Ecore soon followed. According to the historian John D. Winters, "none of these elections in any way impeded the progress nor materially affected the outcome of the [Union's] Red River campaign.
Though Alexandria is heavily Democratic Rapides Parish as a whole frequently votes Republican in competitive elections. In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney carried the parish with 37,193 votes (64.1 percent), compared to Democrat U.S. President Barack Obama's 20,045 (34.6 percent) tabulation. The 2008 returns in Rapides Parish were similar to those of 2012. U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona won the parish with 36,611 votes (63.6 percent) to President Obama's 20,127 (35 percent).
With 58.8 percent and 63.8 percent, respectively, George W. Bush carried Rapides Parish in both 2000 and 2004 over the Democrats, Vice President Al Gore and John F. Kerry. The last Democrat to win at the presidential level in Rapides Parish was Bill Clinton, who in 1996 received 23,004 votes (46.1 percent) to Robert J. Dole's 21,548 (43.2 percent). Ross Perot, founder of his Reform Party, received 4,670 ballots (9.4 percent).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 1,362 square miles (3,530 km2), of which 1,318 square miles (3,410 km2) is land and 44 square miles (110 km2) (3.2%) is water. It is the second-largest parish in Louisiana by land area.
- Interstate 49
- U.S. Highway 71
- U.S. Highway 165
- U.S. Highway 167
- Louisiana Highway 1
- Louisiana Highway 28
- Grant Parish (north)
- La Salle Parish (northeast)
- Avoyelles Parish (east)
- Evangeline Parish (southeast)
- Allen Parish (southwest)
- Vernon Parish (west)
- Natchitoches Parish (northwest)
National protected area
- Kisatchie National Forest (part)
- Camp Beauregard (LA Army National Guard)
- Esler Airfield (LA Army National Guard)
- England Air Force Base (defunct)
- Camp Claiborne (defunct)
- Camp Livingston (defunct)
- 225th Engineer Brigade
|U.S. Decennial Census
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||40,261||30.96%|
|Hispanic or Latino||5,090||3.91%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 130,023 people, 48,975 households, and 32,667 families residing in the parish.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 131,613 people living in the parish. 63.3% were White, 25.0% Black or African American, 1.83% Asian, 2.15% Native American, 1.56% of some other race and 1.88% of two or more races. 6.85% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
Other unincorporated communities
Rapides Parish School Board operates public schools.
Rapides Parish, Louisiana Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.