SWAMPERS & SWORDS: Alford’s late summer’s ode to Louisiana’s cities, towns, & villages


Alford’s late summer’s ode to

Louisiana's cities, towns, & villages

IF YOU’RE GOING TO DIVE into a review of Louisiana’s municipalities, you may as well attack it alphabetically, from Abbeville to Zwolle. But you already knew that. Starting with Pine Prairie, for instance, and ending with South Mansfield would neglect the likes of Angie and Wisner. Not to mention Westwego.1

That’s why I spent the weekend reviewing a 40-page municipal classification table that had Abbeville positioned in its first row and Zwolle in its last.2 I initially sought just a single statistic, a number I needed for my syndicated newspaper column. (See “You Want Mayors? We’ve Got Mayors!” on page 4.) I was writing about our mayoral landscape when the thought occurred to me.

“How many cities do we actually have in Louisiana?”

As my initial source material I selected a listing compiled at Southeastern Louisiana University. After just three pages I mentally reworded my question — there were actually three municipal classes in the Bayou State, including cities (5,000 inhabitants or more), towns (less than 5,000 but more than 1,000), and villages (1,000 or less).

“So, how many municipalities are there in Louisiana?”

The answer to that question was roughly 1,600, when those municipalities with no populations or zip codes were added. Impressed by my own math, I shared the information with my homie Melinda Deslatte of the AP, whose Capitol office is a few doors down from LaPolitics HQ.

“That’s interesting, but how many are villages?” an unimpressed Melinda asked.3

Applying the same methodology to the SLU document and using U.S. Census data to weed out the practically non-existent locales, Louisiana citizens appeared to be living in 105 villages, each presumably with its own idiot.4

Plus 132 towns, some being of the one-horse, ghost, or company variety.5 6 Then there were 308 incorporated municipalities, housing 304 cities and four consolidated forms of government.

I discovered there are a dozen municipalities that are each split between two parishes, including

Arnaudville (St. Landry/St.Martin), Downsville (Lincoln/Union), Junction City (Claiborne/Union), Delacambre (Iberia/Vermilion), DeRidder (Beauregard/Vernon), Tullos (LaSalle/Winn), Basile (Evangeline/Acadia), Broussard (Lafayette/St. Martin), Des Allemands (Lafourche/St. Charles), Duson (Acadia/Lafayette), Eunice (Acadia/St. Landry) and Shreveport (Bossier/Caddo).

But that wasn’t all I learned… (See “A Late Summer’s Ode to Sweet Home Louisiana” below.)

1Aside from hosting the world’s largest physical monument to state capital outlay dollars, Westwego is where You Know Who lives.

2 Some might suggest that fate or destiny joined me to this document. They would also be crazier than an old man imagining what a rooster would look like wearing socks, and then attempting to weave that vision into a speech promoting his candidacy for elected office.

3  I didn’t walk down Press Row to be given more work, but that’s how Melinda is sometimes.

4 Melinda would probably tell you Port Allen awarded that designation years ago to yours truly. She would be wrong. But tell her nominations are opening in LaPlace and I may have a name to submit.

5Jokey-material on the cutting room floor included references to the only game in town, being the talk of the town, and painting the town. You’re welcome.

6 Well, not completely ghosted. The figures in this paragraph did not account for the municipalities with zero populations.

A Late Summer’s Ode

to Our Cities, Towns, & Villages

Abbeville is first alphabetically,
and obviously not the last

See, there’s a Boudreaux in Terrebonne Parish,
and a Thibodaux in Lafourche — and that ain’t no joke

And ask the church folks about Friendship in Bienville,
and Welcome in St. James

Then ask the not-so-good folks why there’s a Vixen in Caldwell,
and what makes Sugartown in Beauregard so sweet

But don’t worry too much about sinning
in our cities, towns, and villages

Eighteen have names that are preceded by “Saint,”
including St. Clair, St. Joe, and St. Maurice

Still need to cool down?

Twenty-three municipalities are named after the bayou waters
that flow through them or near them or somewhere else
But we’re much more than that
We have an Indian Bayou, Indian Mound,
and one Indian Village each in Allen, Iberville, and Ouachita
Caddo has a Caddo,

Cameron has a Cameron,
and Iberville has an Iberville
There are two Centervilles and three Centrals,
as well as Lee, Lee Bayou, Lees Creek, Lees Landing,
Leesville, and Leeville
In Concordia you’ll find a Coochie,
Coon is located in Pointe Coupee,
and in Washington there’s a State Line

Elsewhere, Louisiana has a Goldonna,
Gold Dust, Goldman, and Goldridge,
as well as a Goodbye, Good Hope, Good Pine,
and Goodwill

Need a break from this land
that was a discounted government purchase?

You’ll find Arizona in Claiborne, Atlanta in Winn,
Princeton and Rocky Mountain in Bossier,

and an Ashland each
in Concordia, Natchitoches, Tensas, and Terrebonne

There’s also a Lions in St. John,
a Pelican in DeSoto,
and a Pigeon in Iberville
On a more presidential theme,

there’s a Teddy in East Feliciana,
and a Roosevelt in East Carrol
Down on your luck?
Try Lucknow in Richland,
or Lucky in Bienville 

We’ve got a Newblock, Newellton, New Era,
New Light, Newlight, New Llano, New Orleans,
New Roads, and New Sarpy

Somehow singular is Plaquemine in Iberville,
not to be confused with Plaquemines Parish, which is somehow plural
Tree-related hometowns really took root with Oakdale,
six Oak Groves, Oak Hills, four Oaklawns, two Oakleys,
Oaknolia, Oak Ridge, and Oakville

Staying color coordinated
are Red Chute, Red Cross,
Reddell, Red Fish,
Red Gum and Redland

There’s a municipality in West Baton Rouge Parish named Alford,
Jefferson has a Bassa Bassa, East Feliciana has a Battle,
and there’s a Wham in Ouachita
Louisiana has two different Waterproofs,
and five Magnolias in Assumption, East Baton Rouge,
Livingston, Natchitoches, and Plaquemines

There's Solitiude and Security,
Sugar Creek and Shuteston,
and Shamrock and Shongaloo
Plus Saline, Samstown,
Scotlandville, Scott, Scottsville,
Sikes, Silverwood, Singer, and Slaughter   

With a nod to old Jimmie Davis,
Louisiana has a Sun, Sunny Hill,
two Sunrises, a Sunset, and Sunshine

We've got Swampers and Swords,
Transylvania and Tropical Bend,
and a Trout and a Troy
Please don't forget about Union, Union Hill,
Union Springs and Unionville

But wait! There's more!
Louisiana plays host to the municipalities of Valentine and Vatican,
Verrett and Verret,
and Verdun and Verdunville

Yet as the alphabet ends, so does this ode to the lands that we love,
with the municipal closers being Zimmerman, Zimmerman Camp,
Zion, Zion City, Zona, Zylks and, last but not least,
Zwolle, the tamale-making capital of Louisiana

(Got a case of the blues because we left out your favorite cities, towns, or villages? Let us know at News@LaPolitics.com. And to acknowledge Abraham COS Luke Letlow before he requires acknowledgment, yes, we realize Start, La., didn’t make the cut. It was not intentional… Or was it?)

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