Claiborne Parish, Louisiana
|Parish of Claiborne|
|Founded||March 15, 1828|
|Named for||William C. C. Claiborne|
|Largest municipality||Lisbon (area)|
|• Total||1,990 km2 (767 sq mi)|
|• Land||1,960 km2 (755 sq mi)|
|• Water||30 km2 (13 sq mi)|
|• percentage||4 km2 (1.6 sq mi)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||8.7/km2 (22/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Website||Claiborne Parish Government|
Claiborne Parish (French: Paroisse de Claiborne) is a parish located in the northwestern section of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish was formed in 1828, and was named for the first Louisiana governor, William C. C. Claiborne. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,195. The parish seat is Homer.
John Murrell moved his family from Arkansas to the Flat Lick Bayou area about 6 miles west of present-day Homer in 1818, and they became the first known non-natives to permanently settle in Claiborne Parish. As more settlers moved into the area, the Murrell house served as a church, school and post office. When the state legislature created Claiborne Parish out of Natchitoches Parish in 1828, all governmental business, including court, began being held in the Murrell house. This continued until the new parish's police jury selected Russellville (now a ghost town located northeast of Athens) as the parish seat. As the population began swelling in what was then the western part of the parish, the seat was moved to Overton (another modern ghost town found near Minden) in 1836, because of its position at the head of the navigable portion of Dorcheat Bayou. Due to flooding and health concerns, the parish seat was moved to Athens in 1846, but an 1848 fire destroyed the courthouse and all the records in it. Soon thereafter the Claiborne Police Jury chose the present site for the parish seat, which came to be named, Homer.
John Ardis Cawthon of Louisiana Tech University studied several Claiborne Parish ghost towns in his book of local history, Ghost Towns of Old Claiborne. He recalls the words of a relative, George Washington Dance, "When the courthouse moved, the glory departed. The village is now an old worn-out field."
Much of the area history is preserved in the Herbert S. Ford Memorial Museum, located across from the parish courthouse in Homer.
Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections operates the David Wade Correctional Center in an unincorporated section of Claiborne Parish near Homer and Haynesville.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 767 square miles (1,990 km2), of which 755 square miles (1,960 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (1.6%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||6,138||43.32%|
|Hispanic or Latino||479||3.38%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 14,170 people, 5,917 households, and 3,718 families residing in the parish.
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,851 people, 6,270 households, and 4,338 families residing in the parish. The population density was 22 people per square mile (9/km2). There were 7,815 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the parish was 51.80% White, 47.37% Black or African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,270 households, out of which 29.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.10% were married couples living together, 17.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.80% were non-families. 28.50% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.80% 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 3.07.
In the parish the population was spread out, with 25.60% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 26.90% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 17.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 99.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.40 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $25,344, and the median income for a family was $32,225. Males had a median income of $29,161 versus $20,102 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $13,825. About 21.40% of families and 26.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.30% of those under age 18 and 23.20% of those age 65 or over.
With a narrow majority of African Americans in the population, Claiborne Parish in the years after the civil rights movement was primarily Democratic in political complexion. In 1988, Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush prevailed in Claiborne Parish with 3,756 votes (53.6 percent). Governor Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts trailed with 3,158 votes (45.1 percent). In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton of neighboring Arkansas, obtained 3,609 votes (53.6 percent) in Claiborne Parish. Republican Bob Dole of Kansas polled 2,500 votes (37.1 percent).
However, by 2008, U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona easily carried the parish in his losing race to Barack H. Obama. McCain polled 3,750 votes (54.8 percent) to Obama's 3,025 votes (44.2 percent). In 2012, Mitt Romney carried the parish, with 3,649 votes (54.2 percent), nearly identical to the McCain tally four years earlier. President Obama received 3,014 votes (44.8 percent), or .6 of 1 percent greater than his earlier tabulation.
Claiborne Parish School Board serves the parish.
Claiborne Academy is a private institution in an unincorporated area in the parish, near Haynesville.
Prominent Claiborne Parish residents include or have included:
Patrick Floyd Garrett, Sheriff of Lincoln County New Mexico, and killer of Billy the Kid, lived here as a child, the family having moved from Alabama to Louisiana in late 1850s
Frederick Douglass "Fred" Lewis, resident of Lisbon, was one of the first three African-Americans elected to serve on the Claiborne Parish School Board. He was the president of the civil rights organization known as the Claiborne Parish Civic League from 1965-1973. Lewis led the organization in filing a 1972 lawsuit that improved the lives of African-Americans in Claiborne Parish. Mr. Lewis's contributions helped the Friendship CME Church of Lisbon to be listed on May 31, 2016 in the National Register of Historic Places.
Frederick "Fred" Kirkpatrick was from Haynesville. He made an impact in the United States as an athlete, educator, civil rights activist, minister, and folksinger during the 1960s and 1970s. Most notably, Rev. Kirkpatrick was co-founder of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. The Deacons protected prominent civil rights activists when they visited the South, and they protected black families during the 1960s era of cross burnings and harassment. Fred Kirkpatrick received his Bachelor's Degree from Grambling State University where he also played football.