Town History | Louisiana - Town of Cotton Valley

Summary

Cotton Valley is a town in central Webster Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,009 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 180 persons, or 15 percent, from the 2000 tabulation. Cotton Valley is located some twenty miles northwest of the parish seat of Minden.

Municipal Matters

Cotton Valley was established in the mid-19th century but was not incorporated until 1944, when J. B. Roby, a Democrat, became its first mayor. Initially appointed, Roby was elected to the position on April 11, 1944. He polled 162 votes to opponent F. G. Mixon's 47 ballots. In 1946, Roby was succeeded by A. C. Borland, who served a total of twenty-two years. An insurance agent, Borland did not seek reelection in 1968 and was succeeded by E. M. Hollingsworth. Borland was credited with the building of the Cotton Valley city hall, recreation center and municipal park. He died in 1987.

In June 2010, the Minden Press-Herald reported that Cotton Valley Town Clerk Myra Kilburn to have been in violation of the Louisiana Public Records Act (Revised Statutes 44:33). Kilburn has repeatedly ignored the newspaper's request for public records though the law requires that the information be released within seventy-two hours after the request is made. Kilburn said that she will accept whatever sanctions will be assessed against her. "I absolutely did what you are saying I did. . . . Looking up your records got a backseat," Kilburn told the Press-Herald

Meanwhile, the three-term city alderman Charlene Lewis and the municipal legal counsel, Charles Jacobs, resigned after ethics complaints surfaced regarding Lewis' employment with Jacobs’ firm. Jacobs said that "too many personality conflicts exist for me to effectively serve . . . I'm just going to resign and be done with it." Jacobs said that Kilburn refused to listen to his legal advice regarding public records and that the municipality, which has financial problems, has not paid him.

Two Democrats, incumbent Comerdis Phillips and challenger Roy Joseph Duck met in the nonpartisan blanket primary for mayor of Cotton Valley, held on November 6, 2012, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential and congressional elections. Phillips prevailed with 233 votes (53.6 percent) to Duck's 202 ballots (46.4 percent). Phillips was elected in 2008 in a three-candidate field with 51 percent of the vote. The runner-up that year was a Republican, Ken Gray, who finished with 44 percent.

Phillips was unseated in her bid for a third term in the November 8, 2016 primary election by another African-American Democrat, Joseph Alexander, who assumed the position on December 23, 2016.

Marlon Pope Special Learning Center

Cotton Valley was the home of the former Marlon Pope Special Learning Center, named for Chester Marlon Pope (1929–1987), a civic leader and a Republican member of the Webster Parish School Board, originally from Mobile, Alabama. Pope died of cancer shortly after vacating his seat on the school board. It was one of the first two pilot schools in Louisiana designated for the multi-handicapped.

Jarrell Francis "Jerry" Heard (1923–2010), a native of Alexandria who was reared in Ruston, and later resided most of his adult life in Minden, was one of the first principals of the Marlon Pope center. A Purple Heart recipient from the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II, Heard developed a special rapport with handicapped children; his school stationary bore the biblical inscription: "When you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:45) Heard earlier had taught in East Baton Rouge Parish and at E.S. Richardson Elementary School near his home in Minden. A United Methodist, Heard died at the age of eighty-six of esophageal cancer in Ponchatoula in Tangipahoa Parish, where he had resided for his last years.

Miscellany

On New Year's Eve 1947, a massive tornado ripped through the town. Eighteen people died, and more than two hundred were injured.

A new branch library has opened off U.S. Highway 371. It replaces the former facility in the old office of Dr. John Pugh, a long-time Cotton Valley physician, who began his practice in 1901.

Cotton Valley High School sports the teams called the "Wildcats."

Cotton Valley has several churches, including First Baptist, First United Methodist, Pentecostal, and Wesley Grove Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The former Church of Christ building is now occupied by Cornerstone Baptist Church.

Among the businesses is the Ho-Made restaurant for both inside dining and carry-out and a part of the town's social fabric for decades.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Cotton Valley Louisiana, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.