Even if you’ve lived in Louisiana your whole life, you may not know how some Louisiana towns got their start. Some have really unique stories behind their names that most people don’t know about. Let’s take a look at how 13 of our favorite towns came to be.
Between 1800-1803 the area we know today as Alexandria was controlled by Spain and France before being sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Alexander Fulton, a Pennsylvania trader, and William Miller, another trader set up a business in the area and expanded the territory and then resold it. No one knows for sure how Alexandria got its name, some say that Alexander Fulton named it after himself, while others suggest that he named the town after his infant daughter who died around the same time the area was being acquired.
Originally called the Town of Wharton, John Wharton Collins founded the area we know today as Covington in 1813. The city was officially incorporated in 1816 and renamed Covington. While no one knows for sure, there are two theories about how the city came to be named Covington. One theory was that it was named after General Leonard Covington, a war hero of the War of 1812. The other theory is that it was named in honor of the Blue Grass whiskey, which was made in Covington, Kentucky, and was the preferred drink of town officials.
Originally called Schovall, the city was renamed to honor Ella de Ridder, the sister-in-law of Jan de Goeijen, a Dutch railroad financier. De Goeijen helped bring the first train line to DeRidder in 1902.
Hammond got its start as a settlement of Swedish immigrant Peter Hammond around 1820. He started a plantation to cultivate trees which he made into masts, charcoal and other products for the maritime industry in New Orleans. He and his family are buried near the center of town under the Hammond Oak.
Named after Colonel Charles Morgan, the first American sheriff of Pointe Coupee Parish.
Morgan came to the area in 1830 and was a prominent land owner. Morganza was officially incorporated in 1908.
6. Morgan City
Originally named "Tiger Island" because of a particular type of wild cat that was spotted in the area, it was later changed to "Brashear City". Walter Brashear was a Kentucky physician who had purchased large amounts of lands in the area and built several sugar mills. In 1876 the city was renamed yet again, this time to honor Charles Morgan (not the same Charles Morgan from Morganza), a railroad an steamship entrepreneur.
Robert E. Russ donated 640 acres of his land to the town during the Reconstruction era. Russ was the Lincoln Parish sheriff from 1877-1880. With the railroad running across north Louisiana, the area became more populated, and the town began to take shape. This area became known as Ruston, shorthand for Russ town.
Originally incorporated as a town called Thibodauxville in 1830, named after local planter Henry Schuyler Thibodaux. Thibodaux was also governor or Louisiana in 1824. The name was changed to Thibodeaux in 1838, and the spelling was changed to Thibodaux in 1918
C.C. Duson and W.W. Duson had already founded Crowley in 1887 and were heading north, looking for future developments. They bought 160 acres of land and laid it out in lots, 50x140 feet. They then convinced Southern Pacific Railroad to extend a line from Crowley to this new town, and began to sell their land. Eunice was named for C.C.'s second wife, Eunice Pharr Duson and was incorporated as a town in 1895.
10. Bossier City
Back in the 1830's it was the Elysian Groves Plantation, owned by James and Mary Cane. As more and more people began to settle in the area, it was eventually renamed in honor of Pierre Evariste John Baptiste Bossier, a cotton farmer.
Founded in 1869, the town is named after the vice president Schuyler M. Colfax. Prior to the Civil War, it was known as Calhoun's Landing, named after the cotton and sugar planter Meredith Calhoun.
Shreveport was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a corporation established to develop a town at the Red River and Texas Trail crossing. Both the company and the town were named for Captain Henry Miller Shreve who led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to clear the Red River of a 180-mile long log jam. In 1839 the village of Shreve Town was incorporated as the town of Shreveport.
Wesstwego was founded in 1870 by the Texas and Pacific Railroad. No one knows for sure how the town got its name, but the railroad company was building a railroad to the west and folklore suggests that as the passengers departed the train station the conductor would yell "west we go!".
Did you know any of these? What other towns should we include? Share your thoughts in the comments below.