Alexandria, Louisiana

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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.

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.