Louisiana is a State located in the southern region of the United States of America (www.louisiana.gov). Mansfield is in the North Western area of Louisiana, about 30 miles south of Shreveport, LA, the nearest major city, on US Hwy 171 and Interstate 49. It is 292 miles northwest of New Orleans, 279 miles northeast of Houston and close to the border with Texas.
Mansfield (www.cityofmansfield.net) was first incorporated into the Louisiana General Assembly on April 15 1847 and the growing community of Mansfield was officially incorporated into the City of Mansfield in 1948. Mansfield is the 107th largest community in Louisiana. It currently has a population of nearly 6,000 and a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.6 sq.km), all of it land. Mansfield is a city in the parish seat of De Soto Parish and is part of the Shreveport-Bossier Metropolitan Statistical Area. Louisiana is the only State in the United States with political subdivisions called parishes, equivalent to counties in other states. There are 64 parishes and they are thought to relate to the French/Spanish heritage of the area. Other towns in De Soto Parish are Logansport, Keatchie, Grand Cane, Frierson and Stonewall
The City of Mansfield is governed by a Mayor-Council body of elected representatives. There are five Council Members elected for four-year terms from the city’s five districts.
The website (March 2011) states that the Mayor is Curtis W. McCoy; the Public Relations Officer in the Mayor’s Office is Cindy Williams; a Chamber of Commerce Contact is Kathi Wells (Skype +13188721310) ; Mansfield High School (Skype +13188720793 ) has 37 full-time classroom teachers and a student population of about 500.
Another look at downtown Mansfield
According to the website (www.cityofmansfield.net), Mansfield should be seen as ‘A City of Vision and Change’. City Sales Tax Revenues have more than doubled from June 2007 to June 2010 because of the Haynesville Shale Natural Gas discovery. The De Soto Parish School Board has benefited greatly from the financial impact of the Haynesville Shale Gas exploration in the parish, and two projects are in Mansfield. It is estimated that nearly 5% of the nation’s gas drilling is in De Soto Parish. Three new hotels are now under construction with two nearing completion. The Citizens Bank will construct a new Mansfield Branch. The bank is only one new service among several, with new offices for doctors and lawyers being developed in Mansfield. On the Northeast side of the City, Mayor Curtis McCoy and the City Council are developing a City Park recreation area, which, initially, will house baseball fields.
The film The Great Debaters, was partially shot in Mansfield and released in 2007. Some scenes were shot on location in downtown Mansfield and the film was nominated for a Golden Globe award in 2008. The Kansas City Southern Railway and Southern Pacific Railway serve Mansfield and also play a large role in the industry there. Mansfield has a small airport that handles private planes and small jet planes, and the closest commercial airport is in Shreveport. The water supply is provided by Toledo Bend, the largest constructed reservoir in Louisiana. On average the warmest month is July (with a mean of 82 degrees) and the coolest is January (with a mean of 46 degrees).
Mansfield is rich in history and was the site of heavy fighting during the American Civil War. The Mansfield State Historic Site is four miles south of Mansfield and commemorates the 1864 Confederate victory over Union troops. The site has a museum, exhibitions and an interpretive trail.
The first parish courthouse and college building were erected in the early 1850’s. The first women’s college west of the Mississippi River, Mansfield Female College, was founded by the Methodist Church in 1855. In 2003, the Louisiana State Legislature moved to convert the main building of Mansfield Female College, the Lyceum, into a future museum. In the 1890’s, the town was a junction of two major rail links and was surrounded by short leaf pine forests, with rich deposits of lignite coal and limestone, the principal ingredient of cement. By 1908, Mansfield had begun its legacy as a major logging and lumber city when a number of the industries, mills and factories were founded