Vidalia, Louisiana

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Vidalia, Louisiana
City
City of Vidalia
Country United States
States Louisiana
Incorporated (town)1870
Incorporated (city)2012
Government
 • TypeMayor-council government
 • BodyCity council
 • MayorHyram Copeland (Democrat)
 
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Vidalia, Louisiana
City
City of Vidalia
Country United States
States Louisiana
Incorporated (town)1870
Incorporated (city)2012
Government
 • TypeMayor-council government
 • BodyCity council
 • MayorHyram Copeland (Democrat)

Vidalia is the largest city and the parish seat of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, United States.[1] The population was 4,543 at the 2000 census.

Hyram Copeland, a Democrat, has served as mayor of Vidalia since 1992. He is a 2013 inductee of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame.[2]


Geography[edit]

Vidalia is located at 31°34′6″N 91°26′3″W / 31.56833°N 91.43417°W / 31.56833; -91.43417 (31.568295, -91.434268)[3] and has an elevation of 66 feet (20.1 m).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.32 square miles (6.0 km2), all of it land.

Background[edit]

Vidalia was founded by Don Jose Vidal, when the territory was under Spanish rule, before the United States acquired it in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The great Sandbar duel, featuring Jim Bowie, is one of the stories still told by local residents.

On July 14, 1863, shortly after the fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi and Port Hudson, Louisiana to Union forces, Confederate-controlled Vidalia was invaded by 200 mounted infantrymen led by Major Asa Worden of the 14th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This detachment captured the rear of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith's ordnance train on the Trinity road, fifteen miles from the river. The Union forces took a large supply of muskets, cartridges, and ammunition.[5]

Current town[edit]

The parish seat for Concordia Parish, Vidalia is the sister city to the historic city of Natchez, Mississippi. The two are separated by the Mississippi River. Some people live in Vidalia and commute to work in the larger Natchez.

Vidalia City Hall is located at 200 Vernon Stevens Blvd. Historic photographs are on display for viewing between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some of the historic photographs feature the moving of the town from the original site in 1938-1939.a

The longest-serving sheriff of Concordia Parish was Eugene P. Campbell, who held the position from 1908 until his death in February 1940. Another long-serving sheriff was Noah W. Cross of Ferriday, who was in office from 1944 to 1948, and 1952 to 1973. Fred L. Schiele, a Vidalia native, was appointed and then elected sheriff from Cross' resignation until 1980.

Vidalia is home to Louisiana’s first hydroelectric power plant and the largest prefabricated power plant in the world. A total of forty-one countries and twenty-one states collaborated in this historic endeavor, the Sidney A. Murray, Jr. Hydroelectric Station, located in the southern portion of Concordia Parish. The office is located on Texas Street in town.

In 1976, the former West and Company Department Store in Vidalia, owned by the late H. O. West of Minden, gained national attention when six female employees filed a civil rights suit claiming gender discrimination for the store's failure to promote women. They said they had been passed over for managerial promotions, although none had filed written applications for such positions. In its 1986 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans ruled that the lack of written applications is no defense for companies in such matters, because the women had made verbal requests or may have feared retaliation for filing written records.[6]

The city offers availability of affordable labor; an established transportation network; state incentive program; excellent quality of life; an outstanding school system; a low crime rate; low property taxes; an active chamber of commerce and civic organizations; and many churches of all denominations.

Tourism[edit]

Tacony Plantation, on the National Register of Historic Places, was the home of planter Alfred Vidal Davis, Sr. It is the only remaining brick antebellum house in the Vidalia area. Tacony is an Indian word meaning "Big Man," referring to Mr. Davis. The original portion of Tacony built about 1845 was probably used as an overseer’s house or a "camp house" because Davis, like many other wealthy landowners, lived in a luxurious mansion on the Natchez bluff. In 1860, Davis was among the richest cotton planters in the state. His land produced 3,387 cotton bales and 17,000 bushels of corn. Hal Garner, a restoration expert from Natchez, recently restored the home.

Tacony is also significant in African-American history. John R. Lynch, Mississippi’s first black U.S. Representative and Speaker of the state House, was born a slave on Tacony Plantation in 1847. The plantation is located one-half mile (1 km) west of Vidalia on Highway 84/65 and is open by appointment to individuals and groups.

Vidalia's newest feature, the Vidalia Riverwalk consists of restaurants, a hotel, specialty shops, amphitheater, and a public boat ramp. It re-ignites the "rivertown" charm of Vidalia's past.

Concordia Parish is the northern gateway to the Atchafalaya Trace Heritage Area, a culturally rich natural wonder encompassing 13 parishes in and around the Atchafalaya Basin. Here, the basin becomes the natural setting to experience the lives and traditions of the people of the region. The State of Louisiana and representatives from each of the thirteen impacted parishes are working to bring this project to its full potential over the next few years. A scenic byway will be part of the Atchafalaya Trace Heritage Area.

The Delta Museum, which is now housed in the former post office building in downtown Ferriday, honors Mickey Gilley, Jerry Lee Lewis, journalist Howard K. Smith, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, Hollywood socialite Ann Boyar Warner and jazz musician Pee Wee Whittaker. The museum, featuring six life-sized exhibits, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Frogmore Plantation, an 1,800-acre (730 ha) working cotton plantation with gins, slave row and 18 dependencies, contrasts a working plantation of the early 19th century with a modern cotton plantation and their slaves through an evolution from the wilderness to a thriving 1850s cotton plantation, then beyond. Frogmore Plantation is west of Natchez. It is the only tour of its kind in the south and received a Rural Tourism Award in 1999.

The RiverView RV Park is a full-service resort, one mile from historic Natchez, and centrally located to all of the area lakes and waterways. The RiverView RV Park also offers a primitive camping area. Five camping areas are available and are maintained by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. One of these areas provides comfort stations and potable water, but the others are primitive. All camping areas have all-weather access.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[7] of 2010, there were 4,299 people, 1,707 households, and 1,186 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,959.7 people per square mile (756.1/km²). There were 1,910 housing units at an average density of 823.9 per square mile (317.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 72.0% White, 26.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

There were 1,779 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $29,500, and the median income for a family was $36,917. Males had a median income of $31,667 versus $21,455 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,478. About 17.8% of families and 19.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.2% of those under age 18 and 13.5% of those age 65 or over.

Image[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Mayor Hyram Copeland". concordiaed.com. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 301
  6. ^ "United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, October 23, 1986". openjurist.org. Retrieved June 1, 2010. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]