Town in Louisiana, United States
Newellton welcome sign erected by the town council in 2012
Lake St. Joseph as seen from behind Britt's Pharmacy in Newellton

Newellton is a town in northern Tensas Parish in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The population is 1,187 in the 2010 census, a decline of 255 persons, or 17 percent, from the 2000 tabulation of 1,482. The average age of the population there is 41 years.[3]

Newellton is west of the Mississippi River on Lake St. Joseph, an ox-bow lake. Further south toward St. Joseph, the parish seat of government, is another ox-bow lake, Lake Bruin, a part of which is the popular Lake Bruin State Park.


Earliest years

Newellton itself was founded in the early 19th century by the Routh family, for whom the defunct Routhwood Elementary School was named. John David Stokes Newell, Sr., a planter and lawyer in St. Joseph, the seat of Tensas Parish, named the settlement for his father, Edward, a native of North Carolina who relocated to Tensas Parish in 1834.[4]

Civil War

South of Newellton is the Winter Quarters State Historic Site plantation house, where Union troops spent the winter of 1862-1863, before embarking on the blockade of Vicksburg in spring of 1863. Earlier Grant and his men had established temporary residence further north in Lake Providence in what is now East Carroll Parish. Winter Quarters is not mentioned by the historian John D. Winters in his encompassing 1963 work, The Civil War in Louisiana, but Winters does cover several wartime experiences in Tensas Parish as a whole.

Debt-free municipality

Newellton was designated a village in 1904. On April 4, 1951, under Mayor T. T. Hargrove, Newellton was upgraded to a town through the state Lawrason Act.[5]

In March 2014, Newellton became debt-free. Long-term alderman Edwin Britt, who operates the town pharmacy, said the community has struggled with declining population and the accompanying revenue sources. The town has an annual operating budget of $400,000 to $500,000. Over recent years, Newellton has lost its hospital, sawmill, and detention center. Most residents are employed in the agricultural sector. Newellton is renovating its town hall, a project already funded, and is launching a $200,000 street improvement plan, funded mostly by grants.[6]

Political matters

In 2012, the former Newellton mayor, Democrat Alex Davis (born 1942), did not seek a fourth term. The first African American in the position, Davis unseated the 34-year incumbent Edwin G. Preis, Sr.,[7] a white businessman, in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 7, 2000. Davis received 366 votes (56.8 percent) to Preis' 184 (28.6 percent), and Floyd Aaron "Coonie" McVay's 94 votes (14.6 percent).[8] A native of Oak Grove in West Carroll Parish, McVay was formerly the Newellton police chief. He died in 2012 at the age of eighty.[9]

The current mayor is the African-American Democrat Timothy Durell Turner, the former District 1 alderman, who won the election held on December 8, 2012, by a single vote, 217-216, over the Republican candidate, James Carroll Fuller, Sr. (1936-2021), the former District 5 alderman.[10][11] Fuller, who is white, is a former resident of Braxton, Mississippi, and Denham Springs, Louisiana.[citation needed] Fuller had led Turner, 259 (44.7 percent) to 207 (35.8 percent), in the higher-turnout primary election held on November 6, with another 113 votes (19.5 percent) then cast for a second Democrat, Knola Ransome.[12]

In 2016, Fuller again challenged Turner and once again lost by one vote, 210 for Fuller and 211 for Turner.[13]

Fuller earlier was among 582 Louisiana elected officials named to former Governor Bobby Jindal's "Kitchen Cabinet Leadership Team". Two other Tensas Parish officials appointed to the panel were Assessor Irby Gamble and Coroner Keith D. Butler, both of St. Joseph.[14]

The Newellton police chief, Johnny Gales (1951-2021), a Democrat, was reelected in 2012. There are five municipal alderman, one of whom, Lavone G. Garner from District 5, is a Republican. She was elected to succeed Carroll Fuller, who left the council with his first race for mayor.[15]

As of 2013, there were four police officers and Chief Gales in Newellton, with two marked cars and one unmarked, and eighteen volunteer firefighters. The town clerk is Rhonda King (born 1953).[16]


Newellton is located at 32°4′22″N 91°14′21″W / 32.07278°N 91.23917°W / 32.07278; -91.23917 (32.072740, -91.239230).[17]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2), of which 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (12.64%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)963[2]−18.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]

2020 census

Newellton racial composition[19]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 198 22.35%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 645 72.8%
Other/Mixed 31 3.5%
Hispanic or Latino 12 1.35%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 886 people, 403 households, and 245 families residing in the town.

2000 census

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 1,482 people, 536 households, and 376 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,960.2 people per square mile (752.9/km2). There were 595 housing units at an average density of 787.0 per square mile (302.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 34.41% White [24.48% white in 2010] 64.71% African American, [71.02 Black in 2010] 0.07% Asian, 0.20% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.96% of the population.[3]

There were 536 households, out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.5% were married couples living together, 30.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 32.0% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $17,457, and the median income for a family was $21,029. Males had a median income of $23,333 versus $14,519 for females. The per capita income for the town was $9,365. About 33.8% of families and 38.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.9% of those under age 18 and 31.9% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people



  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Newellton, LA". Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  4. ^ "John ... and Edward Newell", Louisiana Historical Association, A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), p. 600
  5. ^ "Public elected officials: Tensas Parish". Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  6. ^ "Cole Avery, Newellton pays off all of town's debt, March 15, 2014". Monroe News-Star. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  7. ^ "Edwin G. Preis". Baton Rouge Morning Advodate, July 29, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  8. ^ "Results for Election Date: 10/7/2000". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  9. ^ "Floyd Aaron "Coonie" McVay obituary". Monroe News Star. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  10. ^ "Tensas Parish general election returns, December 8, 2012". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  11. ^ "One vote decides Newellton mayor's race". Monroe News Star, December 8, 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  12. ^ "Tensas Parish election returns, November 6, 2012". Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  13. ^ "Election Returns". Louisiana Secretary of State. December 10, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  14. ^ "Bobby Jindal announces Kitchen Cabinet Leadership Team". Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  15. ^ "Louisiana election returns, November 6, 2012". Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  16. ^; Newellton Town Hall: 318-467-5050
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  18. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2021-12-19.
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  21. ^ "Dorsey, Sarah Anne Ellis". A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography ( Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  22. ^ "Douglas, Emmitt Jame". A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography ( Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  23. ^ "C.B. Forgotston biographical sketch". Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
  24. ^ Obituary of Clyde V. Ratcliff, Sr., Tensas Gazette, October 8, 1952
  25. ^ Yearbook of American Clan Gregor Society, pp. 101-103. Richmond, Virginia: Appeals Press, 1916, Egbert Watson Magruder, ed. 1916. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-08-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

  • "John ... and Edward Newell", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), p. 600

External links