Our History

The Police Jury is an elected governing body in most Louisiana parishes, corresponding to a county board of commissioners in other states. Louisiana’s Police jury form of government has been around since the early 1800’s. It is a unique state in the nation because it has parishes instead of counties. Most of these parishes are governed by Police Juries. In fact, 41 of the State’s 64 parishes operate under the Police jury form of government, including Calcasieu. Once, Louisiana had counties.

After the Louisiana territory was purchased by the United States, the newly created legislative council met in 1804 and divided the state into 12 Counties. These counties were too large for satisfactory administration and in 1807, the State was divided into 19 parishes based, for the most part, on boundaries of the ecclesiastical parishes established in 1762. 

In 1804, the United States organized present-day Louisiana as the Territory of Orleans. In 1805 the territory was further divided into 12 counties. Opelousas County included the entire southwestern section of the state, and extending almost to the Mississippi River in the northeast. By 1807 the counties were reorganized into parishes. St. Landry was one of the original nineteen civil parishes established by the Louisiana Legislature. St. Landry was the largest parish in Louisiana, called the Imperial St. Landry Parish. For a short period after the fall of New Orleans during the Civil War, Opelousas was not just the county seat but was the state capitol (until it was permanently moved to Baton Rouge). Calcasieu Parish was created 24 March 1840 from the western portion of Saint Landry Parish. Calcasieu Parish has since been divided into five smaller parishes. The original area of Calcasieu Parish was called Imperial Calcasieu Parish.

The bill to create out of the northern area of Imperial Caclasieu Parish Beauregard Parish was passed in 1912 and took effect at the beginning of 1913. The Parish was named after P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general and one of the designers of the Confederate Battle Flag.

Parish organization
Although one faction wanted the town of Singer to be the parish seat, DeRidder was chosen by a majority of voters on 15 October 1912. Today, the unincorporated community of Singer still exists and includes a post office, store, and school. The parish was organized with a police jury as the governing body. Interim, county-wide police jury, judge and justice were appointed. However, on 3 December 1912, an election was held for the offices of sheriff, clerk of court, assessor, coroner, superintendent of public education, police juror, justice of the peace, constable, and members of the school board in each of the wards in the parish.

On November 28, 1941 a United Service Organizations was opened in DeRidder. (Of the more than 500 USO's opened during WW II, this was the first off-post USO to open in the U.S.) 89,000 soldiers visited the DeRidder USO; 15,000 took showers; and 27,000 viewed movies. The building was entered into the National Register of Historic Places on 25 February 1992.

August through September 1941 saw the locally stationed military engaged in the Louisiana Maneuvers—the largest military maneuver in United States history (with more than 500,000 soldiers training for war).[9] The rapid influx of so many military personnel created problems that stemmed, in part, from alcohol overconsumption. In response, residents of Beauregard Parish voted to become a dry parish.

1963-2008
By 1960 the parish had grown to the extent that the court house could no longer house all the elected official’s offices adequately or comfortably. February 12, 1963 the Services of Barron, Heinberg and Brocoto, Architects were secured to make recommendations regarding expansion of the Clerk of Court’s vault space and quarters to house the Police Jury. On May 14, the jury authorized the architects to proceed with plans and specifications. On August 13, the jury approved the low bid of $52,287.00 to construct the new Police Jury Building and make alterations to the vaults in the courthouse. May 123, 1964 the Police Jury held their first meeting in the new building at 10:00 a.m. with President D.T. Harrell presiding.

2008 - Til'
The parish had grown over 45% in population and infrastructure in the last forty-five years and the demand for more space accommodations in the courthouse and in the police jury buildings was forthcoming. The jury hired professional space
planners to determine the necessary space to meet the future demands. In planning future demands. In planning , the Tax assessor would move to the 1963 Police Jury Building, the Clerk of Court would expand into the Assessor’s old office in the courthouse, the Public works Department would move into the now police jury and the County agent would move into the Public Works office, thus making better working arrangements for all involved. The jury later hired Barry D. King, Architect and begun the planning and design for a new police jury office adjacent to the courthouse square. The Thompson building was purchased for the new site. Bids were advertised and later accepted on February 14, 2006. Pat Williams Construction Company was awarded the low bids of $1,515,000.00. The new construction was funded with a Ten Year-Certificate of Indebtedness (borrowing against current incoming revenue). The Jury officially accepted the building” Substantially Complete” on November 2, 2007 in a special called meeting. Other contracts for parking, lighting, security, furnishing loading dock, generator, etc., brought the finishing price to approximately $ 1.9 million. The first meeting in January 2008 was held in the new building. A parish-wide invitation was extended to all residents and guest to attend the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony held March 13, 2008. By mid- year all other officials, ie Clerk of Court and Assessor had move into their new spaces.

Author- Betty J. Cunningham/Retired 2011 Secretary-Treasurer BPPJ – from her book “Serving You, Beauregard Parish Police Jury 2013, 100 years”. 
Wikipedia History of Beauregard Parish