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Bossier Parish was spared fighting on its soil during the American Civil War. In July 1861, at the start of the war, the Bossier Parish Police Jury appropriated $35,000 for the benefit of Confederate volunteers and their family members left behind, an amount then considered generous.
After the war, whites used violence and intimidation to maintain dominance over the newly emancipated freedmen. From the end of Reconstruction into the 20th century, violence increased as conservative white Democrats struggled to maintain power over the state. In this period, Bossier Parish had 26 lynchings of African Americans by whites, part of racial terrorism. This was the fifth-highest total of any parish in Louisiana, tied with the total in Iberia Parish in the South of the state. Overall, parishes in northwest Louisiana had the highest rates of lynchings.
Law, government, and politics
Bossier Parish is governed by a 12-member elected body, the Bossier Parish Police Jury (equivalent to county commission in other states). Members are elected from single-member districts. Eddy Shell, a prominent Bossier City educator, was repeatedly re-elected, serving on the police jury from 1992 until his death in 2008.
Since the late 20th century, the white majority of the parish has shifted from the Democratic to the Republican Party, as have most conservative whites in Louisiana and other Southern states. Before this, the state was a one-party state dominated by the Democratic Party, in the period after the turn of the century when most blacks were disenfranchised in Louisiana.
In 2008, U.S. SenatorJohn McCain of Arizona won in Bossier Parish with 32,713 votes (71.4 percent) over the DemocratBarack H. Obama of Illinois, who polled 12,703 votes (27.8 percent). In 2012, Mitt Romney polled 34,988 votes (72 percent) in Bossier Parish, or 2,275 more ballots than McCain drew in 2008. President Obama trailed in Bossier Parish with 12,956 votes (26.7 percent), or 253 more votes than he had received in 2008.
In 2011, Bossier Parish elected a Republican, Julian C. Whittington, as sheriff to succeed the long-term Larry Deen. He was a Democrat and later changed his registration to the Republican Party.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 867 square miles (2,250 km2), of which 840 square miles (2,200 km2) is land and 27 square miles (70 km2) (3.1%) is water. Four miles east of Bossier City is Barksdale Air Force Base.
There were 46,020 households, out of which 36.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.60% were married couples living together, 14.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.30% were non-families. 22.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the parish the population was spread out, with 28.00% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 10.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 96.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $39,203, and the median income for a family was $45,542. Males had a median income of $32,305 versus $23,287 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $18,119. About 10.60% of families and 13.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.00% of those under age 18 and 12.50% of those age 65 or over.
The 165th CSS (Combat Service Support) Battalion is headquartered in Bossier City. This unit was deployed to Iraq in 2008. Also located in Bossier City is the 156TH Army Band which deployed as part of the 256th Infantry Brigade in 2010 to Iraq.
Jack Favor, a rodeo star, was falsely imprisoned in 1967 at the Louisiana State Penitentiary for the murders of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Richey, who operated a bait and tackle business near Haughton. Convicted on false testimony, he claimed collusion against him among Bossier Parish officials, including Judge O. E. Price, SheriffWillie Waggonner, and chief deputy and Waggonner's successor as sheriff, Vol Dooley. Favor was acquittal in a second trial in the parish courthouse in Benton in 1974; thereafter, he returned to Fort Worth and then Arlington, Texas, where he sold used cars and counseled wayward youth of the dangers of lawless behavior.
Ryan Gatti, state senator for District 36 since 2016; Bossier City lawyer