Caldwell Parish Facts
Most residents live in the country even beyond the three rural communities in the parish.
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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,560 people, 3,941 households, and 2,817 families residing in the parish.
The population density was 20 people per square mile. There were 5,035 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile. The racial makeup of the parish was 80.43% White, 17.90% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.47% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races; 1.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,941 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.40% were married couples living together, 12.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.50% were non-families; 25.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the parish, the population was spread out with 24.70% under the age of 18, 9.60% from 18 to 24, 28.50% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 13.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 103.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.20 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $26,972, and the median income for a family was $33,653. Males had a median income of $29,677 versus $19,475 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $13,884. About 17.70% of families and 21.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.10% of those under age 18 and 19.50% of those age 65 or over.
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 Mud Ride, 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.