Grant Parish, Louisiana
|Parish of Grant|
Grant Parish Courthouse in Colfax
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Ulysses S. Grant|
|Largest town||Montgomery (area)|
|o Total||1,720 km2 (665 sq mi)|
|o Land||1,670 km2 (643 sq mi)|
|o Water||60 km2 (22 sq mi)|
|o percentage||9 km2 (3.3 sq mi)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||13/km2 (34/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
Grant Parish (French: Paroisse de Grant) is a parish located in the North Central portion of the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,309. The parish seat is Colfax. The parish was founded in 1869.
Grant Parish is part of the Alexandria, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area and Red River Valley. From 1940 to 1960, the parish had a dramatic population loss, as many African Americans left in the Great Migration to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Such migration continued until about 1970. The parish was also one of the eleven Reconstruction parishes, created from Winn and Rapides parishes.
Grant Parish is a home of United States Penitentiary, Pollock.
Grant Parish was originally a part of the more populous Rapides Parish to the south. Prior to the American Civil War, the center of activity focused upon "Calhoun's Landing," named for the cotton and sugar planter Meredith Calhoun, a native of South Carolina. Calhoun also published the former National Democrat newspaper in what became Colfax, the seat of government of the new parish.
Grant was one of several new parishes created by the Reconstruction legislature in an attempt to build the Republican Party. Founded in 1869, it had a slight majority of freedmen. It was named for U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. The parish seat of Colfax was named for Grant's first vice president, Schuyler M. Colfax (pronounced COAL-facks) of Indiana. However, the town of Colfax is pronounced CAHL-facks. The parish encompassed both cotton plantations and pinewoods. It was one of several areas along the Red River that had considerable violence during Reconstruction, as whites tried to maintain social control.
The gubernatorial election of 1872 was disputed, leading to both parties' certifying their slates of local officers. The election was finally settled in favor of the Republican candidates, but the decision was disputed in certain areas. As social tensions rose, Republican officials took their places at the courthouse in Colfax. They were defended by freedmen and state militia (mostly made up of freedmen), who feared a Democratic Party takeover of the parish. Amid widespread rumors, whites organized a militia and advanced on the courthouse on Easter Sunday, 1873. In the ensuing violence, three whites and 120-150 blacks were killed, including 50 that night who were held as prisoners. Leading 20th-century historians renamed the Colfax Riot, the original state designation, as the Colfax Massacre. The total number of freedmen deaths were never established because some of the bodies were thrown into the river and woods.
The white militia was led by Christopher Columbus Nash, a Confederate officer who had been a prisoner of war at Johnson's Island in Ohio. It consisted of veterans from Grant and neighboring parishes. The following year, Nash gathered many of the white militia members as the basis of the first chapter of the White League. Other chapters quickly grew up across the state. The White League's organized violence in support of the Democratic Party included widespread intimidation of black voters. The League was integral to white Democrats' regaining power in the state by 1876. Soon after, they effectively disfranchised most blacks, a situation that persisted until after the Civil Rights-era legislation of the mid-1960s.
Grant Parish had the highest growth rate in central Louisiana in the five-year period between 2001 and 2006, according to projections of the United States Census Bureau. The parish has had a 4.3 percent growth rate compared to 1.7 percent for its larger neighbor, Rapides Parish. Some neighboring parishes, including Winn, have experienced population decreases.
Grant Parish is heavily Republican in contested elections. Mitt Romney polled 7,082 votes (81.7 percent) in his 2012 race against the Democrat U.S. President Barack H. Obama, who trailed with 1,422 votes (16.4 percent). In 2008, U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona swept the parish too, with 6,907 votes (80.7 percent) to Obama's 1,474 (17.2 percent).
In 1996, Republican Robert J. Dole narrowly won in Grant Parish over U.S. President Bill Clinton, 3,117 votes (42.8 percent) to 2,980 (40.9 percent). Ross Perot, founder of his Reform Party, polled another 1,055 (14.5 percent). In 1992, George Herbert Walker Bush carried Grant Parish in his unsuccessful bid for reelection. He polled 3,214 votes (40.8 percent) to Bill Clinton's 3,122 (39.6 percent) and Perot's 1,174 (14.9 percent).
The last Democrat to win in Grant Parish at the presidential level was former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia in his 1976 defeat of U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., with Bob Dole as the Republican vice-presidential choice.
In December 2016, a courthouse nativity scene in Colfax drew a complaint from the New Orleans chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. In a letter to the Grant Parish Police Jury, the ACLU said that officials must include secular symbols of the Christmas holiday if a nativity scene is placed alone on public property. District Attorney Jay Lemoine objected to the ACLU challenge in a statement to Alexandria Town Talk: "There have been various holiday displays presented both inside and outside the courthouse over many years. This year, as in years past, they include both secular and non-secular symbols. It is unfortunate that some are offended by these displays during this holiday season, as that was not the intent."
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,698 people, 7,073 households, and 5,276 families residing in the parish. The population density was 29 people per square mile (11/km2). There were 8,531 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the parish was 85.43% White, 11.88% Black or African American, 0.89% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.36% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. 1.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
The decreases in population from 1910 to 1920, and from 1940 to 1960, were chiefly caused by different phases of the Great Migration, as African Americans left segregation and oppression of the South to seek better opportunities in the North, during the first phase, and in the West, especially California's defense industry, in the second phase. Tens of thousands of migrants left Louisiana during times of agricultural difficulties and the collapse of agricultural labor after mechanization.
In 2000, there were 7,073 households, out of which 36.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.20% were married couples living together, 12.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.40% were non-families. 22.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the parish the population was spread out, with 28.30% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 12.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $29,622, and the median income for a family was $34,878. Males had a median income of $31,235 versus $20,470 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $14,410. About 16.90% of families and 21.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.30% of those under age 18 and 16.20% of those age 65 or over.
Public schools in Grant Parish are operated by the Grant Parish School Board.