Homer, Louisiana

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Homer is present day parish seat of Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, United States.[1] The town was named after the Greek poet Homer and was laid out around the Courthouse Square in 1850 by Frank Vaughn. The present day brick courthouse, built in the Greek Revival style of architecture, is one of only four pre-civil war courthouses in the State of Louisiana still in use today. The building, completed in 1860, was accepted by the Claiborne Parish Police Jury on July 20, 1861 at a cost of $12,304.36, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The population was 3,788 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Claiborne Parish was strongly Confederate during the American Civil War. A statue of a Confederate soldier stands in front of the parish courthouse. In 1863, a company of volunteers ineligible for conscription was organized in Homer to promote the war effort. Nevertheless, some Homer-area farmers hurried to Monroe during the war to trade their cotton for scarce items with the Union.[2]

The former newspaper, the Homer Iliad, was published by Arkansas native William Jasper Blackburn during Reconstruction. Blackburn also served a year in the United States House of Representatives, as the Claiborne Parish administrative judge, a post which no longer exists, and as a member of the Louisiana State Senate.

Andrew R. Johnson (1856-1933), a native of Tallapoosa County, Alabama, was president of Homer State Bank and served on the Claiborne Parish School Board and then in the early 1910s as the mayor of Homer. The town already had a municipal home-rule charter. Johnson's administration worked to bring electric lights and water works to fruition. In 1916, Johnson was elected to the first of two terms, without opposition, to the state senate. Johnson considered a gubernatorial bid in 1924 but declined.[3] Earlier, while residing in northern Natchitoches Parish, Johnson laid out and in 1901 named the village of Ashland.[4] Johnson donated land for the former Ashland High School.[5] Johnson is interred in Coushatta, the seat of Red River Parish.[6] Johnson's great-grandson, Tony Johnson, is a real estate agent in Homer.

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