Natchitoches Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Natchitoches. As of 2010, the Natchitoches Parish population was 39,566, an increase of 486 over the 2000 tabulation of 39,080. The parish is nearly 42 percent African American. This is the heart of the Cane River Louisiana Creole community. The Natchitoches Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Natchitoches Parish.
Including extensive outbuildings at Magnolia and Oakland plantations, the Cane River Creole National Historical Park interprets the history and culture of the Louisiana Creoles. It was designated one of the original sites on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.
Until the past decade, Natchitoches Parish was reliably Democratic in most competitive elections. In 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the parish with 9,077 votes (52.6 percent) to U.S. President Barack H. Obama's 7,942 votes (46 percent). At the parish-level, former State Representative Rick Nowlin, a Republican, became the first elected president of the new Natchitoches Parish government, which replaces the former Natchitoches Parish Police Jury system. Nowlin received 9,283 votes (59.2 percent) to the Democrat Gerald "Jerry" Longlois' 6,393 (40.8 percent). Natchitoches Parish cast 73 percent of its ballots for Republican U.S. Representative John Fleming, who faced opposition only from a Libertarian Party candidate.
By a similar margin U.S. Senator John S. McCain of Arizona won Natchitoches Parish over Barack Obama in the 2008 general election, 9,054 votes (53.1 percent) to 7,801 votes (45.7 percent). The 2004 presidential results in Natchitoches Parish were similar to those of 2008 and 2012, with U.S. President George W. Bush prevailing over U.S. Senator John F. Kerry, 9,261 (54.6 percent) to 7,398 (43.6 percent). In his first and disputed election of 2000, Bush topped then Vice President Al Gore in Natchitoches Parish, 7,332 (49.4 percent) to 6,924 (46.6 percent). Patrick J. Buchanan as the Reform Party nominee, received 271 votes (1.8 percent).
The last Democrat hence to win in Natchotiches Parish at the presidential level was Bill Clinton in 1996, who received 8,296 votes (54.7 percent), compared to Republican Robert J. Dole's 5.471 ballots (36.1 percent). Ross Perot of the Reform Party held 1,053 votes (6.9 percent).