Bienville Parish, Louisiana

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Bienville Parish (French: Paroisse de Bienville) is a parish located in the northwestern portion of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Arcadia and as of the 2000 census, the population is 15,752.

The highest point in Louisiana, a hill known as Mt. Driskill, 535 feet (163 m) in elevation, is located in north central Bienville Parish. The mountain is located on private land with public access by walking trail. It is named for James Christopher Driskill, a 19th century landowner. Nearby is Jordan Mountain, with an elevation of 493 feet (150 m).

Lake Bistineau and Lake Bistineau State Park embrace parts of Bienville and neighboring Webster and Bossier parishes.

Contents

History

During the American Civil War, Bienville Parish was strongly Confederate but was spared fighting in its immediate area. Instead Bienville Parish participated in the building of fortifications on the nearby Red River. Much of this work was done by slaves hired out by planters.[1]

In 1864, Governor Henry Watkins Allen named Dr. Bartholomew Egan of Bienville Parish to establish a laboratory for the manufacture of medicines. Egan bought out the former Mount Lebanon Female Academy and nearly a hundred acres of land to turn out turpentine and medicinal whisky. He also produced castor oil (The Bienville Parish community of Castor was established in 1900.) and a quantity of opium. Winters explains that the "native wild white poppy produced an opium equal in strength and effectiveness to the imported product."[2]

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