Jackson Parish: The Sunshine Parish

Diane M. Martin  |  5/12/2010 11:30:27 PM

Scenic Caney Lake

Timber industry at the Hodge Bag Mill

Jimmie Davis Homeplace

History of Jackson Parish
Jackson Parish was created on 1845, from Claiborne, Ouachita and Union Parishes and the parish was named in honor of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. The Parish seat is Jonesboro. A small log cabin was constructed to serve as the first courthouse in the town of Vernon. When the seat of justice was transferred to Jonesboro, a courthouse was constructed, but 30 years later it was completely destroyed due to a mysterious explosion. The current courthouse was completed in 1938 and has a jail on the top floor which is no longer used.

More about Jackson Parish
Jackson Parish is known as the "Sunshine Parish," both for its natural beauty and for the legacy of its famous native son, Jimmie Davis. The former Louisiana governor was also a country singer who wrote the official state song "You Are My Sunshine." Jimmie Davis State Park, named in his honor, offers camping and access to Caney Lake, a trophy bass-fishing destination. The history of the rural parish is on display in Jonesboro at the Jackson Heritage Museum, while historic sites like the antebellum Simms-Ellis House in Clay, the Clay-Wilder Home in Chatham and the nearby Brooklyn Methodist Church all help tell the area's story. In Jonesboro, locals and visitors welcome springtime with the Sunshine Festival & Antique Car Show each April, and downtown transforms into a "Christmas Wonderland in the Pines" for the holiday season with millions of lights strung on homes and businesses and family events held each weekend.

Jonesboro, Louisiana has often been described as a fishing haven by those who have reeled in the catches of Jimmie Davis State Park at Caney Lake. Jonesboro is far more than just a fishing haven-it is a true sportsmen’s paradise. Located in the piney hills of Jackson Parish, Louisiana, Jonesboro attracts hundreds of hunters, fishers, and other outdoor enthusiasts every year and is home to many LDWF Wildlife Management Areas.

Major Industries
Without a doubt, the woods are the backbone of the Jackson Parish economy. Everyone, from the owner of a pharmacy to the waitress at the local diner, depends on the thick groves of pines here and around the region in some way or another. This is evident by the large RockTenn mill located in Hodge.

Aside from the timber industry, the healthcare industry is quite large for such a rural parish. Jackson Parish is home to a hospital, several nursing and long-term care facilities, pharmacies, medical clinics, and home health agencies.

Jimmie Davis State Park
Opened in the fall of 1996, Jimmie Davis State Park was originally named Caney Creek Lake State Park. The 2003 Louisiana State Legislature approved renaming the park in honor of two-term Governor Jimmie H. Davis who served from 1944 to 1948 and again from 1960 to 1964. Caney Lake is known as a trophy bass lake and is the location of the Chamber of Commerce’s annual bass tournament.

Governor Jimmie Davis
James Houston Davis (Sept. 11, 1899 – Nov. 5, 2000), better known as Jimmie Davis, was a noted singer of both sacred and popular. In 1940 he composed and recorded “You Are My Sunshine” which was designated as Louisiana’s official state song in 1977.

Festivals
Jackson Parish is home to the annual “Christmas Wonderland in the Pines Festival” which kicks off the first Saturday after Thanksgiving with a parade, lighting of over 5 million miniature lights, a fireworks display and horse-drawn carriage rides.

The annual “Sunshine Festival” is held the third Saturday in April and is the prime place for entertainment with musicians, art shows, antique car show, fun for the kids and more.

For additional information, please visit the Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce.

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