Cotton Valley, Louisiana

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Cotton Valley is a town in central Webster Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,189 at the 2000 census. It is located some twenty miles northwest of the parish seat of Minden.



Municipal matters

Cotton Valley was established in the mid-19th century but was not incorporated until 1944, when J.B. Roby, a Democrat, became its first mayor. Initially appointed, Roby was elected to the position on April 11, 1944,[1] In 1946, Roby was succeeded by A.C. Borland, who served until 1968. Borland, an insurance agent, did not seek reelection and was succeeded by E.M. Hollingsworth.[2]

In June 2010, the Minden Press-Herald reported that Cotton Valley Town Clerk Myra Kilburn is in violation of the Louisiana Public Records Act (Revised Statutes 44:33). Kilburn has repeatedly ignored the newspaper's request for public records though the law requires that the information be released within seventy-two hours after the request is made. Kilburn said that she will accept whatever sanctions will be assessed against her. "I absolutely did what you are saying I did. . . . Looking up your records got a backseat," Kilburn told the Press-Herald.[3]

Meanwhile, the three-term city alderman Charlene Lewis and the municipal legal counsel, Charles Jacobs, have both resigned after ethics complaints surfaced regarding Lewis' employment with Jacobs’ firm. Jacobs said that "too many personality conflicts exist for me to effectively serve . . . I’m just going to resign and be done with it." Jacobs said that Kilburn refused to listen to his legal advice regarding public records and that the municipality, which has financial problems, has not paid him.[3]

Marlon Pope Special Learning Center

Cotton Valley is the home of the Marlon Pope Special Learning Center, named for Chester Marlon Pope (1929–1987), a former Republican member of the Webster Parish School Board. It was one of the first two pilot schools in Louisiana designated for the multi-handicapped. Jarrell Francis "Jerry" Heard (1923–2010), a native of Alexandria who was reared in Ruston, and later resided most of his adult life in Minden, was one of the first principals of the Marlon Pope center. A Purple Heart recipient from the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II, Heard developed a special rapport with handicapped children. His school stationary bore the biblical inscription: "When you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:45) Heard earlier had taught in East Baton Rouge Parish and at E.S. Richardson Elementary School near his home in Minden. A United Methodist, Heard died at the age of eighty-six of esophageal cancer in Ponchatoula in Tangipahoa Parish, where he had resided for his last years.[4]

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