Natchitoches Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Natchitoches. As of the 2010 census, the population was 39,566. 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.
Natchitoches Parish was created by the act of April 10, 1805 that divided the Territory of Orleans into twelve parishes, including Orleans, Iberville, Rapides and Natchitoches. The parish boundaries were much larger than defined, but gradually wore away due to the creation of numerous parishes in the state. Caddo, Claiborne, Bossier, Webster, DeSoto, Bienville, Jackson, Sabine, Red River, Winn, and Grant parishes were eventually formed from Natchitoches' enormous territory. Natchitoches Parish has fifteen border revisions, making it second only to Ouachita parish in number of boundary revisions.
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 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 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 Natchitoches 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).