French: Paroisse de Calcasieu
The name Calcasieu comes from the
Atakapan word, "quelqueshue", meaning "crying eagle".
It was originally the name of an Atakapa chief, but became the name given
to what was formerly the Rio Hondo River (Rio Stondo or "Deep
River"), now the Calcasieu River. The parish then inherited this
name. Calcasieu Parish was created March 24, 1840, from the parish of
Saint Landry, one of the original nineteen civil parishes established by
the Louisiana Legislature in 1807.
The early history of the parish dates back to the time of the Spanish
occupation of Louisiana, when, in 1797, Jose M. Mora was granted a large
tract of land between the Rio Hondo (now Calcasieu) and the Sabine River,
known for years as the "Neutral Strip". After the grant to Mora,
this area became a refuge for "desperadoes from the eastern
states" and for outlaws and "filibusters from Carolina, Georgia,
This strip of land, long in dispute between Spain and the United States
after France had ceded Louisiana to the American government in 1803, was
definitively acquired by the US by treaty in 1819. Originally, Spanish
land grants were recognized when proof of ownership was established, but
most grants in Calcasieu were made to actual settlers. By an act of
Congress approved on March 3, 1823, this strip of land was attached to the
district south of the Red River. The parish seat is Lake Charles.
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