The largest city of Louisiana is New Orleans and it has a population of 344,000. As a component of the New Orleans-Metairie-Bogalusa Combined Statistical Area, the trading region has a total population of 1.45 million. The city was named for the Duke of Orleans, who reigned as a Regent for Louis XV of France. The city is well-known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture, as well as its multilingual heritage. Before Hurricane Katrina, the Orleans Parish was the most populated area of Louisiana. According to the Census, 90% of residents in New Orleans speak English as their primary language, with 5% speaking Spanish, 2% speaking Vietnamese and 1% speaking French. Fox8 News reported a heroin epidemic in New Orleans and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent said that they are seeing heroin in places it was never seen before. A recent federal case involved 12 people who were heroin traffickers. The DEA agent said heroin users start off taking prescription opioids, then switch to the much more available and lower priced heroin.
Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana, and it’s the second largest city in the state. Located along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, the city is the seat of the East Baton Rouge Parish. Around 229,000 people live in Baton Rouge, LA. It is a major industrial, medical, petrochemical and research center of the south. The city was first formed by settlement of European, African, French, British and Spanish immigrants. Of the total population here, the average family size is 3.12 and 18% of families live in poverty. The median family income is $40,000 and the female to male ratio is 100:90. According to a 2015 article in The Advocate, Baton Rouge has an opioid addiction problem. Three new drugs have came on the scene in this city: Furanyl fentanyl (similar to the potent synthetic fentanyl opioid), U-4700 (also called Pink) and Etizoam (a novel psychoactive substance). All three of these drugs are deadly according to police officials.
The third largest city in Louisiana is Shreveport, which is the seat of Caddo Parish. Located along the Red River, it has 200,000 residents. Shreveport also is considered to be part of the Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Area. The Shreve Town Company was founded “Shreveport” in 1836. The town later became a commercial and cultural center of the AR-LA-TX region (where the three states meet). The top employers in the city are Shreveport Operations General Motors, Barksdale Air Force Base, the Caddo Public Schools and the State of Louisiana. In 2016, the Willis-Knighton Health System conducted research on the Caddo Parish. They found that the percentage of Caddo Parish residents that smoke tobacco has increased from 21% to 23.4% over the last year. In addition, this area had an increase in alcohol consumption, which affect alcohol-impaired driving deaths. Caddo Parish also has a 7.7 per 100,000 mortality rate due to drug overdoses.
Lafayette, LA is located along the Vermilion River in the southwest region of the state. With a population of 121,000, Lafayette is the main city in the Lafayette-Opelousas-Morgan City Combined Statistical Area, which has a population of 612,000. Nicknamed “Hub City,” it was founded in 1821 and called Vermilionville, after the river. Until the 1940s, the city’s economy was based on agriculture. Today, the natural gas and petroleum industries are more dominant here. The average family income in Lafayette is $48,000 and 12% of families live below the poverty level. Of the residents here, there are 100 females to 93 males. In 2016, KLFY reported on fentanyl and opioid issues in Lafayette. Local law enforcement officials warned residents that fentanyl was 50-100 times more potent than heroin and some of the heroin was being laced with this synthetic opioid. Since the beginning of 2015, 8 people died from fentanyl, which is produced mainly in Mexico and China.
Located on the Calcasieu River, Lake Charles, and Prien Lake, Lake Charles is a town founded in 1861. Today, the city is a major cultural, industrial and education center, with a population of 72,000. Considered a component of the Lake Charles-Jennings Combined Statistical Area, the area is a significant center for petrochemical refining. The racial composition of Lake Charles includes 47% White, 47% African-American, 2% Asian, 1% other and 3% Hispanic. The female-to-male ratio of Lake Charles is 54:46. In Lake Charles, 21% of people live in poverty and the median household income is only $36,000. Violent crime in this city is one of the highest in the United States, with a rate 67% higher than the national average. According to a report by Fox 8 Live News cocaine distribution is common in Lake Charles. In 2013, there were 24 people arrested here for cocaine distribution-related charges. Based on sources, the cocaine was being smuggled into the region from the southeast Texas area.
The largest city in the Jefferson Parish is Kenner, Louisiana. Considered a suburb of New Orleans, it has a growing population of 67,000. Republican attorney Tom Willmott is the representative of Kenner in the House of Representatives and the current mayor here is councilman Ben Zahn. The racial makeup of Kenner is 49% White, 24% African-American, 22% Hispanic, 3% Asian and 1% other. Of the 25,700 households in Kenner, 36% have adolescents and children living in them. The household income averages at $40,000 in Kenner and 13.6% of people live below the poverty line.
The Times-Picayune reported on the heroin epidemic of Kenner in recent years. Drug deaths in the Jefferson Parish have hit a 4-year high as of 2012. There were 87 overdose deaths in that year alone. In 2013, 117 people died from drug overdoses. According to officials, several factors contribute to the heroin problem. These include cravings, cheaper than opioids (pain and muscle relaxer pills) and high purity of the product.
A suburb of Shreveport Louisiana, Bossier City has 66,300 inhabitants. Located on the eastern bank of Red River, it is a family town, with 37% of households having children residing in them. The racial makeup of the city is 70% White, 19% African-American, 10% Hispanic and 1% other. The female-to-male ratio of Bossier City is 100:91 and the average family size is 3.09. The median household income is only $37,000 and 11% of families live in poverty here. First called “Cane City,” the town was incorporated and renamed by Governor Newton C. Blanchard in the late 1880s. In the summer of 2013, 32 people were arrested for methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana, according to KSLA. The Bossier Combined Narcotic Task Force found 17 grams of methamphetamine that was to be distributed in the area.
Monroe is the parish seat of Ouachita Parish and there are 49,000 people living here. The population has declined by 8% since 2000. In Monroe, the median family income is only $33,300. Around 26% of families and 32% of the population live below the poverty line. The female-to-male ratio in Monroe Louisiana is 100:77, according to the Census Bureau. The settlement of Fort Miro later adopted the name Monroe in the early 1800s, which was selected after a steam-powered paddle-wheeler called the James Monroe. Unwelcome refugees flooded the region in 1862, fleeing Grant during the Civil War. The city had a strong Union sympathy, however, and residents refused to sell refugees food or shelter. The area had many deserters, so the Union Army sent agents to apprehend them. In a recent report by MyARLAMISS.com, a new drug has exploded on the streets of the Ouachita Parish in 2016. Called P2P Meth, this drug is not made with pseudoephedrine but rather, it has phenyl-2-propanone (hence, the name P2P). This drug is made in Mexico and is 85% pure (30% more than regular local-made meth). Called “super meth,” this drug leads to super strength and major paranoia.
Alexandria is the seat of Rapides Parish, Louisiana, and it lies on the southern bank of Red River. Along with its neighboring city of Pineville, the Alexandria Metropolitan Area has a population of 154,000. The city itself is home to 48,000 residents. The racial composition of Alexandria, LA is 51% White, 41% Black, 2% Native American, 1% Asian and 5% Hispanic. Of the 17,800 households, 32% have teens and children in them. The average family size is 3.13 and there are 100 females to every 78 males. While the cost of living is low in Alexandria, the median household income is only $26,000. Additionally, 27% of people live below the poverty line here. Because of the cocaine problem in Alexandria, the Federal Bureau of Investigations arrested 10 people in 2013. They seized more than five kilograms of powder cocaine, 350 grams of crack cocaine and more than $60,000.
This is the only city in Terrebonne Parish and it is the parish seat. There are 34,000 people in Houma, which is part of the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area. The United Houma Nation Tribe is recognized by the state of Louisiana but it does not have federal recognition. Many residents make their living as shrimpers, crabbers, oystermen, fishermen and trappers – much like their ancestors. In addition, Houma has the deepest oil well in the parish. The racial composition of the town is 67% White, 21% Black, 5% Native American, 2% Asian and 5% Hispanic or other. In 2014, WBRZ reported on a large methamphetamine bust in the Terrebone Parish. The Terrebone Parish Narcotics Task Force arrested three men and seized three pounds of methamphetamine. In addition to drugs, large amounts of cash and weapons were found. The total street value for the meth is around $270,000, according to officials.