Bogalusa is a city in Washington Parish, Louisiana. The population was 12,232 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Bogalusa Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Washington Parish and is also part of the larger New Orleans–Metairie–Bogalusa Combined Statistical Area. The name of the city derives from the Choctaw words bogue lusa, which translates to dark water in English.
In 1908, the Great Southern Lumber Company (1908–38) sawmill began operation, and the Goodyear (Frank Henry Goodyear and Charles Waterhouse Goodyear) interests of New York built the city of Bogalusa to house workers for the sawmill. William H. Sullivan, the sawmill manager for the Goodyears, was town boss when the city was built (1906–1907) and then mayor until he died June 26, 1929. The city, designed by New Orleans architect Rathbone DeBuys and built from nothing in less than a year, with several hotels, a YMCA and YWCA, churches of all faiths, and houses for the workers and supervisors, was called the Magic City due to its rapid construction. Bogalusa was incorporated as a city on July 4, 1914. At its peak in 1960, the city had over 21,000 residents.
In the mid-1960s, Bogalusa was a center of activity for the Deacons for Defense and Justice.
In 1995 a railroad tank car imploded at Gaylord Chemical Corporation, releasing nitrogen tetroxide and forced the evacuation of about 3,000 people within a one-mile (1.6 km) radius. Residents say "the sky turned orange" as a result. Emergency rooms filled with about 4,000 people who complained of burning eyes, skin, and lungs. Dozens of lawsuits were filed against Gaylord Chemical and were finally settled in May 2005, with compensation checks issued to around 20,000 people involved in the accident.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit this city with winds of about , downing numerous trees and power lines. Many buildings in Bogalusa received damage from falling trees, and several were destroyed. Most of the houses, businesses, and other buildings suffered roof damage from the storm's ferocious winds. Some outlying areas of the city were without power for over a month.