North entrance to Bastrop City Hall, designed by local architect Hugh G. Parker
|Motto: The City of Pride, Spirit and Progress|
|Elevation||167 ft (50.9 m)|
|Area||8.4 sq mi (21.8 km2)|
|- land||8.4 sq mi (22 km2)|
|- water||0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%|
|Density||1,353 / sq mi (522.4 / km2)|
|Mayor||Arthur Jones (effective July 1, 2013)
Police Chief Downey Black
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
Bastrop is a small city in and the parish seat of Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 11,365 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 1,623 from the 12,988 tabulation of 2000. The population of Bastrop is 73 percent African American. It is the principal city of and is included in the Bastrop, Louisiana Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Monroe-Bastrop, Louisiana Combined Statistical Area.
Bastrop was founded by the Baron de Bastrop (born Felipe Enrique Neri), a Dutch businessman accused as an embezzler. He had fled to the then Spanish colony of Louisiana to escape prosecution, and became involved in various land deals. In New Spain, he falsely claimed to be a nobleman. He received a large grant of land, provided that he could settle 450 families on it over the next several years. However, he was unable to do this, and so lost the grant. Afterwards, he moved to Texas, where he claimed to oppose the sale of Louisiana to the United States, and became a minor government official. He proved instrumental in Moses Austin's plan (and later, that of his son, Stephen F. Austin) to bring American colonists to what was then northern Mexico.
Bastrop formally incorporated in 1857, and is the commercial and industrial center of Morehouse Parish. In the 19th century, it was notable as the western edge of the great north Louisiana swamp, but more favorable terrain resulted in the antebellum rail line connecting to Monroe, Louisiana, further to the south.
Bastrop was a Confederate stronghold during the American Civil War until January 1865, when 3,000 cavalrymen led by Colonel E.D. Osband of the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry, embarked from Memphis, Tennessee, for northeastern Louisiana. Landing first in southeastern Arkansas, Osband and his men began foraging for supplies into Louisiana and established headquarters at Bastrop. They brought in a large number of horses, mules, and Negroes, according to the historian John D. Winters in The Civil War in Louisiana. When Osband learned that Confederate Colonel A.J. McNeill was camped near Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish with 800 men, he sent a brigade into the area. The Union troops found fewer than 60 Confederates, most of whom fled into the swamps, leaving behind horses and mules.*
Bastrop is also the parish seat of Morehouse Parish and is within an area marketed to tourists as the Sportsman's Paradise Region of Louisiana. It is a Main Street Community and has received Transportation Enhancement funding for improvements in its historic district.
Event at restored Courthouse Annual celebrations and concerts bring citizens to enjoy the historic downtown, anchored by the restored 1914 Parish Courthouse and Rose Theater. Bastrop is also home to the Snyder Museum and Creative Arts Center, housed in the circa 1929 home of a leading local family. Volunteers lead heritage appreciation tours for children and interpret the history of the parish using local artifacts.
The area economy is largely based on forestry, cotton farming, and rice farming. Hunting, camping and fishing are popular area pastimes in the many bayous and river. The Snyder Museum keeps information relating to local history and displays furniture typical of fine homes from the Civil War and early 20th century periods.
On November 21, 2008, International Paper Company, the largest area employer, announced that it will cease operations of its Bastrop mill. The company said the closure is "indefinite" and subsequently confirmed that the exodus is "permanent". At least 550 workers lost their jobs. Another two thousand employees in auxiliary businesses, some 17 percent of the area workforce, faced layoffs or downsizing. Clarence Hawkins, then the Bastrop mayor, predicted that the impact of the closure would be felt throughout northeastern Louisiana and southern Arkansas because employees and suppliers come from all over the region.
Governor Bobby Jindal deployed a Louisiana Work Force Commission team to open an information center in Bastrop. Jindal indicated that he will pursue an economic transition plan for Morehouse Parish. The governor explained that the closure resulted because is "simply no market for [pulp] produced at this mill. I don't want to sugarcoat this. There would have to be a dramatic change in the world economy for it to reopen, and it would have to strengthen as quickly as it weakened." Jindal said the state offered "more direct assistance to International Paper than we have to any other company since I've been governor." The company, however, explained that the issue was no longer one of inducements to stay but the vanished market. The largest customer of the Louisiana mill was China, where orders ceased with international economic downturns and the tightening of credit markets.
Three months after the announcement of the International Paper mill closing, Pilgrim's Pride, a poultry company, confirmed the closure of operations in nearby Arcadia in Bienville Parish, Athens in Claiborne Parish, Choudrant in Lincoln Parish, and Farmerville in Union Parish. The closings will cost this section of mid-North Louisiana a combined 1,300 jobs.
Robert C. Eisenstadt (born 1954), an economics professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, told the Shreveport Times that the closures, unlike previous exits of State Farm Insurance and International Paper, will have a disproportionate impact on lower-income workers: "This is our largest employer of low- to medium-skilled workers. In our area, there aren't a lot of good alternative opportunities for them and they don't have as many resources to leave the area for opportunity as did the workers at those other companies."
Then Bastrop Mayor Clarence Hawkins estimated about five hundred, or nearly half of the Pilgrim's Pride processing plant workers in Farmerville commuted from Bastrop, many in vans running on a regular schedule.
Meanwhile, Governor Jindal and the legislature, in a bid to save the jobs at stake, moved to subsidize with $50 million from the state's megafund the incoming owner of the poultry plant, Foster Farms of California.
With Louisiana state assistance, Foster Farms did procure the former Pilgrim's Pride company, which also closed plants in Farmerville, Louisiana, and El Dorado, Arkansas. Foster Farms expected that when the plant reached full capacity, it would employ at least 1,100 persons with a corresponding annual payroll of more than $24 million.
On December 17, 2012 Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Drax Biomass International Inc. CEO Chuck Davis traveled to Morehouse Parish, Louisiana to announce plans to build a wood pellet facility in Bastrop and a storage-and-shipping facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. The project is expected to create 63 new direct jobs, with 47 of the jobs located at the Bastrop wood pellet facility. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 143 indirect jobs in the state. Drax' budget for the Morehouse mill is about $100 million. Drax says the average pay plus benefits is expected to be in the $35,000 range annually at the pellet mill. Drax will ship wood pellets formed in Morehouse Parish to its U.K. Energy facilities for use in generating renewable power. July, 2013, Drax Biomass started work on clearing the area for the new wood-based pellet facility in Bastrop. 
Top 10 Employers in Bastrop, LA:
1. Morehouse Parish School Board - 700 
2. DG Foods - 300 
3. Morehouse General Hospital - 250 
4. Wal-Mart - 200 
5. City of Bastrop - 175 
6. Morehouse Parish Sheriffs Office - 145 
7. Oakwood Home For the Elderly - 120 
8. Lagniappe Rehab Hospital - 110 
9. Cherry Ridge Guest Care LLC - 100
10. Legrand Health Care - 100 
Bastrop is located at . It is situated at the crossroads of U.S. Highway 425 and U.S. Highway 165. La. Highway 2 also runs through the town.(32.777855, −91.914944)
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.4 square miles (22 km2), all of it land.
As of the 2010 census Bastrop had a population of 11,365. The racial makeup of the population was 72.5% African-American, 25.7% White, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% from some other race and 1.1% reporting more than one race. 0.8% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,988 people, 4,723 households, and 3,301 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,543.9 people per square mile (596.3/km²). There were 5,292 housing units at an average density of 629.1 per square mile (243.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 34.67% White, 64.50% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.04% from other races, and 0.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.
There were 4,723 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 28.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 82.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,418, and the median income for a family was $26,250. Males had a median income of $30,477 versus $15,813 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,769. About 29.6% of families and 35.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.2% of those under age 18 and 30.5% of those age 65 or over.
1023rd Engineer Company (Vertical) of the 528th Engineer Battalion of the 225th Engineer Brigade is located in Bastrop.
Bastrop is governed by a mayor and board of alderman. In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on April 4, 2009, Betty Alford-Olive upset incumbent Mayor Clarence Hawkins. Alford-Olive polled 58 percent of the ballots. Her fellow Democrat Hawkins, received 29 percent, and a third candidate, Troy L. Downs, garnered the remaining 12 percent. Alford-Olive, who completed two terms on the city council, called her victory a sign that people want change in municipal government. "We hope to get small businesses to grow and involve the banking industry. We have to look at where the economy is emerging. We have to make sure we have a trained work force." Hawkins had been the first African-American to serve in the top municipal position in Bastrop history.
In 2013, Arthur Jones, the former long-term Bastrop municipal recreation director, narrowly unseated Alford-Olive. In his first days on the job in July, he spent much of his time reopening the large East Madison swimming pool. The facility has a capacity of 450,000 gallons of water and can accommodate three hundred persons. Jones said that his interest in the pool is a reflection of his concern about idle youth. Jones will seek to attract new smaller industries to Bastrop to fill part of the void left by the closing in 2008 of the International Paper mill.
The Bastrop City Hall and Police Station were designed by native son Hugh G. Parker (1934–2007), who overcame childhood polio to become a significant architect in Louisiana. The original City Hall dates to 1927 under the Mayor A. G. Bride.
There are two branches of the Morehouse Parish Public Library System the main facility in Bastrop and the Dunbar branch. There are two high schools: Bastrop High School, under the Morehouse Parish public system, and Prairie View Academy, a private school serving grades 1–12. In addition, there is a postsecondary technical college, Louisiana Technical College-Bastrop Campus. There is even a second LTC branch near the Bastrop airport.
Colleges and Universities Within a 65 Mile Radius:
In 2011, graduating senior Damon Fowler objected to prayer at the Bastrop High School graduation exercises, claiming a looming violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana asked the school not to include a prayer in the May 20 graduation. At the Thursday night rehearsal for the graduation, senior Sarah Barlow included a prayer that explicitly mentioned Jesus Christ, and during the graduation, student Laci Rae Mattice led people in the Lord's Prayer before a moment of silence. The school says that Mattice was told not to include a prayer. Fowler stated that after his objections became public he was ostracized by other students.
Historic First United Methodist Church dates to 1826 in Bastrop; the current downtown sanctuary was completed in 1924.
First Baptist Church of Bastrop
Rose Theatre at rear of the Morehouse Parish Courthouse.
Bastrop has struggled since the departure in late 2008 of the International Paper Company plant; the closing was blamed on the lack of demand for wood pulp.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|