Rapides Parish Government and Court Houses
For detailed information about Rapides Parish government and services, visit the official website of the Rapides Parish Police Jury
Rapides Parish, located in Central Louisiana, encompasses 1,362 square miles and has a population of over 131,000 residents. The parish seat is Alexandria, and the courthouse is located at 701 Murray Street.
Other municipalies in the parish include Ball, Boyce, Cheneyville, Forest Hill, Glenmora, Lecompte, McNary, Pineville and Woodworth.
Neighboring parishes are Grant, LaSalle, Avoyelles, Evangeline, Allen Vernon and Natchitoches.
The main phone number at the courthouse is 318.473.6660.
Rapides Parish Government
The Rapides Parish Police Jury is the governing authority for the Parish which operates under the police jury system as provided by the general laws of the State of Louisiana.
The Police Jury is both a legislative and administrative body. Its legislative functions include enacting ordinance and resolutions, establishing programs and setting policy. As an administrative body, it prepares the budget, hires personnel, spends money, negotiates contracts and in general, directs the activities under its supervision.
The parish provides services such as voter registration, engineering & road maintenance, fire protection districts, and the Sheriff's Department.
Rapides Parish History
In 1804, under the new United States Territorial government, Rapides became one of the 12 counties into which the Territory of New Orleans (later the State of Louisiana) was divided. In 1807, the legislature divided the Territory of Orleans in 19 parishes, one of which was Rapides.
The Rapides Parish Courthouses
A new courthouse built in 1859 was destroyed by fire on May 13, 1864 by Federal troops evacuating Alexandria in retreat down the Red River. Legal records and much of the town were burned.
Hard times delayed a replacement courthouse until 1873.
In 1939, construction of a new, high-rise court house was begun at 701 Murray Street, and completed in 1940. The 7-story building is designed in the art deco/art moderne style, with a limestone exterior.
Two relief friezes are mounted on the facade of the courthouse (see photo below) on either side of the main entrance. The left frieze features an elderly man with a flowing beard. He is seated, holding an open book on his lap with his proper left hand. His proper right hand holds a fasces, a Roman symbol of authority.
The right frieze features a seated woman wearing robes and a blindfold. She holds scales in her proper right hand and a sword in her proper left hand.
The old deteriorating courthouse on Second Street was razed in 1957, and the site was later acquired for use by the Alexandria Daily Town Talk newspaper.
Photograph of the Rapides Parish Court House on Murray Street, Alexandria, Louisiana - Circa 2003
(Photograph copyright by the author)