Alexandria is the largest city in central Louisiana and the seat of Rapides Parish, with a 2010 population of 47,723, an increase of 3 percent over the 2000 tabulation. Separated from its neighboring city of Pineville by the Red River, Alexandria is located near the geographic center of Louisiana. The city is majority African American in population. Alexandria is the eleventh largest incorporated municipality in the state, with Monroe at tenth place though the two have roughly the same central city population.
Downtown Alexandria, which lies near Interstate 49, has undergone extensive redevelopment in the past decade. Alexandria contains many churches of multiple denominations, some quite large in membership.
Though Alexandria is heavily Democratic in political orientation, Rapides Parish often votes Republican. Part of Alexandria is represented in the state House by the Republican Lance Harris, who took office early in 2012. Rapides Parish is within the Fifth Congressional District represented by Republican Rodney Alexander.
Alexandria is named for a Pennsylvania businessman, Alexander Fulton, who established a settlement in the area in the 1790s. The town was incorporated in 1819 and received a charter in 1832.
The current city charter was implemented in 1977. Democrat Jacques Roy is the mayor. John K. Snyder, a controversial, colorful political figure was mayor from 1973 to 1977 and again from 1982 to 1986.
It is the birthplace of Arna Bontemps, writer of the Harlem Renaissance. The African-American metal sculptor Morris Taft Thomas operates his art studio there. Hymie Bradford was a sports announcer for Louisiana College and LSU-Alexandria. DeWitt T. Methvin, Jr., was a prominent Alexandria lawyer. Journalist John LaPlante, Jr., worked early in his career for The Alexandria Town Talk. Another Alexandria native was the attorney Alfred Shapiro, who for years headed the American Civil Liberties Union from his office in Baton Rouge. O'Hearn Mathews was a city marshal and the commissioner of streets and parks from 1969 to 1973. Paul D. White, Sr., was an entrepreneurial real estate developer who constructed many of the housing and apartment complexes in Rapides Parish. With his wife, Joanne White, he was also heavily involved in area philanthropy. John Fellers was formerly the pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Alexandria; T. F. Tenney was a bishop emeritus of the United Pentecostal Church International, based since 1978 in Alexandria and Rapides Parish.
Despite the Democratic heritage of Alexandria, in the special election held on March 24, 2018, four Republican candidates collectively polled 63 percent of the ballots cast. The two top vote-getters, interim Marshal "Ricky" Rachal, a Democrat, and Republican Jerome Hopewell, then contested a runoff election on April 28. Fewer than 16 percent of voters cast ballots in each election. Hopewell emerged a 51-49 percent winner over Rachal. The position opened when the incumbent, Terence Grines, resigned.
- Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (March 24, 2018). Retrieved on March 25, 2018.
- Melissa Gregory (April 28, 2018). Hopewell defeats Rachal for Alexandria city marshal. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on April 29, 2018.