Community Connection: Arcadia

Little know fact: Arcadia is the highest elevated town in all of Louisiana.

Arcadia is the parish seat of Bienville Parish and home of the monthly Bonnie and Clyde Trade days, an event I’ve always loved going to since I was a youngster. Arcadia is named after the French Colony in Nova Scotia and the name means “beautiful hills.” The city has a rich history of outlaws, political uprising, and cotton.

Bienville Parish’s economy heavily depended on cotton before the Civil War. Farmers never quite lived the genteel plantation culture that we imagine was the norm for cotton farmers, but they were able to live well. Then came the Civil War. Slavery was finally abolished in the South. Costs of cotton production rose and demand dropped dramatically. King Cotton was taken off of his throne.

Sparta was the first parish seat of Bienville Parish, and in 1890, Arcadia and Gibsland petitioned the state to hold an election to change the parish seat. In the third referendum, Arcadia won the vote by 65 and beat out the other candidate towns. However, there is still controversy surrounding that election. The story goes that half an hour after the ballots were tabulated, six wagons loaded with Arcadians surrounded the empty courthouse. Some of them went into the courthouse and began tossing the records to their waiting companions. There was a wild chase that night in 1893, and some of the records were undoubtedly lost. Many newspapers referred to that night as the night the “Bienville government was stolen.”

Now these guys were small time compared to the most infamous duo to ever grace the pages of Arcadia newspapers. Enter Bonnie and Clyde. There could be several posts written about these two, so I’ll keep it short. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious outlaws responsible for killing 9 police officers and several civilians throughout the central US. They were gunned down on May 23, 1934 in Bienville Parish and their bodies were brought to the Arcadia coroner’s office for examination. Today, Arcadia holds the monthly Bonnie and Clyde Trade Days, a huge weekend long flea market that takes place on the weekend before the third Monday of the month.

Arcadia will be hosting one of our Super Saturday Arts Camps on June 29 from 9am to 12pm. It will be held at the First United Methodist Church found on 2122 Myrtle St in Arcadia. The cost is only $20 if you register by June 19 and just $25 if you register after June 19. To register for the camp, click here to download the form or call the NCLAC office at 318.255.1450

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