|Parish of Concordia|
Old Concordia Parish Courthouse in Vidalia
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Possibly a land grant, New Concordia|
|o Total||747 sq mi (1,930 km2)|
|o Land||697 sq mi (1,810 km2)|
|o Water||50 sq mi (100 km2) 6.7%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||28/sq mi (11/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
Concordia Parish (French: Paroisse de Concordia) borders the Mississippi River in eastern central Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,822. The parish seat is Vidalia. The parish was formed in 1807.
Concordia Parish is part of the Natchez, MS-LA Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is also historically considered part of the Natchez District, devoted to cotton cultivation as a commodity crop, in contrast to the sugar cane of southern Louisiana. Other Louisiana parishes of similar character are East and West Carroll, Madison and Tensas, all in this lowlying delta land. On the east side of the Mississippi is the Natchez District around the city of Natchez.
Concordia Parish was the home to many succeeding Native American groups in the thousands of years before European settlements began. Peoples of the Marksville culture, Troyville culture, Coles Creek culture and Plaquemine culture built villages and earthwork mound sites throughout the area. Notable examples include Cypress Grove Mound, DePrato Mounds, Frogmore Mound Site, and Lamarque Landing Mound.
Concordia was named by Anglo-American settlers for a Latin word meaning "harmony". They came mostly after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, when the United States took over this formerly French colonial area. Like other parishes of the lands along the Mississippi River, it was developed largely for cotton cultivation in the antebellum era and the crop depended on the labor of enslaved African Americans.
"Concordia County" was a creation of the first Legislative Council held in New Orleans on December 2, 1804 with territory that included parts of the present parishes of East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas. Land between the Mississippi, Red, Black, and Tensaw rivers comprised the early local administration of Concordia.
During the American Civil War, Concordia Parish was staunchly Confederate. According to the historian John D. Winters in his The Civil War in Louisiana (1963), Concordia, "a planter-dominated parish, displayed unusual Confederate patriotism in early March . A handsome bounty of $100 was offered to any man who joined one of three designated companies forming for the duration of the war. A bounty of $50 would be paid to those joining either of two companies being raised in the neighboring parish of Catahoula. A $50,000 bond issue was voted to finance the bounty program. . . . $40,000 was appropriated for the relief of needy families of volunteers in the parish."
The current elected sheriff is Kenneth Hedrick, who won the office after former Sheriff Randy Maxwell announced his retirement.
The parish trends Democratic for local offices, and Republicans rarely contest such elections. For national offices, the white majority has favored Republican candidates. In the 2008 presidential election, the Democrat Barack Obama of Illinois received 3,766 votes (39.5 percent) in Concordia Parish to 5,668 (59.5 percent) for the Republican nominee, John McCain of Arizona. In 2004, Concordia Parish cast 5,427 votes (60 percent) for President George W. Bush and 3,446 ballots (38 percent) for his Democratic rival, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.
The parish is completely agricultural bottomlands. The Ouachita River runs along the west boundary, the Red River along the south, and the Mississippi River along the east. All three rivers are contained by large levee systems.
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,247 people, 7,521 households, and 5,430 families residing in the parish. The population density was 29 people per square mile (11/km2). There were 9,148 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the parish was 57.9% White, 40.7% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.55% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. 1.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 7,521 households, out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.00% were married couples living together, 19.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.80% were non-families. 25.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the parish the population was spread out, with 27.80% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 25.60% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.90 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $22,742, and the median income for a family was $28,629. Males had a median income of $27,453 versus $18,678 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $11,966. About 24.30% of families and 29.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.00% of those under age 18 and 20.60% of those age 65 or over.
Concordia Parish School Board operates public schools in the parish.