Bossier Parish is located on the east side of the Red River in northwest Louisiana and the river is the western boundary of the parish. Bossier Parish is bordered on the north by the state of Arkansas, to the south by Red River Parish and Webster Parish on the east.
According to the Census Bureau, Bossier Parish has a total of 867 square miles, 840 square miles of which is land and 27 square miles of water. Bossier Parish is home to Barksdale Air Force Base, home of the Eighth Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command.
On February 24, 1843, Bossier Parish was created when the state government carved an area from Claiborne Parish. The parish was named for General Pierre Evariste John Baptiste Bossier, a general in the state militia and a cotton and sugar planter on his plantation, Live Oaks, located on the Cane River.
Bossier, who was born in Natchitoches in 1797, was a member of the Louisiana state senate from 1833-1843 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the Fourth Congressional District from March, 1843 until his death in Washington, D.C. one year later.
Since 1888, Benton has been the parish seat of Bossier Parish. The first center of parish government was Freedonia, which was renamed Society Hill and then Bellevue. In 1850, the first official census showed the population of Bossier Parish to be 6,952. Bossier Parish now shows a population of 126,345 and is considered one of the fastest growing areas in the state.
Benton’s first courthouse was constructed in 1890 after the parish police jury finally promulgated results of an earlier election that designated the town as parish seat. The existing parish courthouse, which is the fifth building in parish history, was constructed at a cost of $2.5 million and opened in 1972.
A major project, that cost $28 million and featured an additional 81,760 square feet and a 103,968 square foot renovation to the courthouse, was funded by a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2000. Police jury members have approved additional work on the courthouse entrance.
Major employers include Barksdale Air Force Base and the Bossier Parish School Board. Barksdale Air Force Base is growing its military presence, which has correspondingly increased the number of defense contracts. Four casinos: Harrah's Horseshoe Casino and Hotel/Harrah's Louisiana Downs, Diamond Jacks Casino and Hotel, Boomtown Casino Hotel, and Margaritaville Resort Casino also rank as leading employers in the parish.
Bossier Parish boasts a strong education system with 20 elementary schools, six middle schools and six high schools serving more than 21,600 students. Bossier schools are recognized throughout the state as superior in academics and athletics.
In addition to strong elementary and secondary educational opportunities, Bossier Parish is also home to Bossier Parish Community College, one of the fastest growing two-year institutions in the state.
Technology is key to the future and the Cyber Innovation Center, located east of Bossier City on U.S. Hwy. 80, is playing a major role. The Cyber Innovation Center was prominently recognized by the White House for its contributions to expanding computer science in K-12 schools and supporting the professional development of computer science, cyber, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers across the country.
And, the CIC has partnered with Louisiana Tech University to form the Louisiana Tech Research Institute to help accelerate 21st century research and economic growth.