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Community Introduction

Community Introduction

The Southern hospitality of Jefferson Davis Parish is truly unmatched and is treasured by the area’s residential population of more than 31,000, its cherished visitors and its booming businesses. The small-town environment of the parish is accompanied by outstanding cultural attractions, which include a superb fine arts museum, vibrant community-wide events and festivals, plenty of outdoor recreation, unique shopping sites, ample opportunities for lifelong learning, modern medical options and a diversified and thriving economy.

Jeff Davis Parish is comprised of five incorporated municipalities – Elton, Fenton, Jennings, Lake Arthur and Welsh – along with a number of smaller unincorporated areas – Hathaway, Lacassine, Roanoke, Thornwell and Woodlawn.

Best Kept Secret of Southwest Louisiana!

This is the place to be for serene residential living, business establishment and growth, and relaxing and culture-filled vacations. Come see for yourself why Jeff Davis Parish is so often referred to as the “Best Kept Secret of Southwest Louisiana!”

Communities of Jeff Davis Parish d Elton Elton is a small town located in the northeastern corner of Jeff Davis Parish, boasting a modest population that reaches approximately 1,248 residents.

With early settlers journeying in search of warmer climates and available land encompassing fertile resources, Elton became an attractive site for establishment. With the amount of trees in the area, the lumber industry was prominent, as were the cotton and rice industries. In fact, Elton was home to one of the area’s largest cotton gins. German settlers proved to be an important factor in the agricultural success of the area, bringing with them improved techniques for rice growing and dedicated work ethics.

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The Village of Elton was officially incorporated as a town in 1921, maintaining the initial name that was bestowed upon it by the Isaac Henderson family. Elton has preserved its original values and proud sense of community to this day.

d Fenton A locality in the northwestern region of the parish places Fenton along Highway 165, just north of Interstate 10. This small community of around 377 residents spans a mere 0.4 square miles – making it the smallest of the parish’s incorporated towns.

The first person to settle in the area was New Yorker Silas J. Fenton, an entrepreneur who established the first store and post office in the village in 1893. Fenton stood as a significant contributor to the future prosperity of the community, having set aside 240 acres of land to be developed as a town. Additionally, he nurtured the village through his donation of land for a variety of uses, such as a railroad and the building of a school.

The Village of Fenton was incorporated in 1951 and today encompasses a thriving agricultural industry, complemented by a close-knit community that takes pride in strong family values.

d Jennings Nestled in the central portion of Jeff Davis Parish, along the eastern border and just off of Interstate 10, Jennings stands as the parish’s largest incorporated city, as well as the parish seat. Approximately 10,986 residents call the thriving community of Jennings home, with a great number of visitors taking advantage of its fantastic museums, recreation and charming shopping boutiques.

Jennings experienced its initial influx in population with the coming of the railroad. The town was soon chartered in 1888, receiving its name for Jennings McComb, a Southern Pacific Railroad surveyor who established the town’s first railroad station.

Perhaps the most prominent event in the history of Jennings happened in 1901 when Jules Clement discovered oil in the area. The drilling of the first oil well in the state took place just northeast of Jennings at the Jennings Oil Field on September 21 of that same year. This marked the beginning of the booming oil industry in Louisiana. Jennings is known today as the “Cradle of Louisiana Oil,” and a replica of the original rig can be viewed at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park.

d Lacassine The small community of Lacassine sits in the west-central section of the parish, just south of Interstate 10 off of Highway 90. While Lacassine is part of unincorporated Jeff Davis Parish, it plays a large role in the area’s economic vitality. The area is the site of a 200-acre Regional Industrial Park, with prominent rail spur and scale house that equips a high speed rail loading facility for rough rice and other grains which opened new market opportunities to many farmers in Jeff Davis Parish and beyond. The Jeff Davis Landfill, Jeff Davis Renewables LLC, Louisiana Spirits, The Center for Advancement of Meat Production and Processing and Zagis USA are located near the Industrial Park. A water park is also under construction in Lacassine and anticipates opening by Summer 2014.

d Lake Arthur Approximately 2,942 people reside within Lake Arthur, which stretches nearly two square miles in the southeastern area of Jeff Davis Parish. The town received its original moniker after Arthur LeBlanc, an early settler of the area. The community began to grow along the lake that eventually became recognized as Lake Arthur, an attractive site that continued to draw new residents in, not only for its beauty, but also for its great resources.

The flourishing lumber industry, along with the rice industry, also brought in more settlers to Lake Arthur. The first rice mill was constructed in 1876, followed by the first rice irrigation pumping plant (the first of its kind in Louisiana) in 1890. Tourism was also prominent during this era, as Lake Arthur was regarded for its recreational hunting and fishing opportunities.

Today, Lake Arthur remains a scenic destination in this region of Louisiana, offering plenty of recreational endeavors on its waters, abundant local wildlife and tranquil spaces for rest and relaxation.

Lake Arthur is the proud home of the Regatta Restaurant, located on the lake with a marina and sea plane dock and L’Banca Albergo, a unique hotel with eight rooms and a wine bar.

d Welsh Situated in the heart of the parish, Welsh encompasses a population of around 3,325 residents. The town received its name from a Pennsylvania native, Miles Welsh, who traveled south to find warmer weather. Welsh first settled in New Orleans, but soon left with his family towards Texas with the hope of becoming a prosperous cattle rancher. On his way, he came upon what is now current-day Welsh, and he became so enthralled in its winsome countryside that he decided to establish his business here.

The Southern Pacific Railroad eventually found its way through the town, spurring quick growth. The town was incorporated in 1888, with the cattle and rice industries leading the way in commerce, both then and now.

Today, Welsh exudes a special charm with renovated buildings, brick sidewalks, traditional family homesites, old New Orleans-style street lamps and a museum highlighting the history of this beautiful farming community. Welsh is also the gateway to the Lacassine Wildlife Refuge, a magnet for all kinds of waterfowl.

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