Bastrop – Upon the organization of Morehouse Parish, the Police Jury, chosen immediately following the creation of the parish, purchased 192 acres of land at the crossroads, which included the site of an Indian mound with the appearance of a terrace. It was this site that the Police Jury selected as the location for the seat of government. Bastrop was named to honor the Baron de Bastrop, to whom the original land grant was made. The site of present day Bastrop was an early steamboat port on Bayou Bartholomew called Pleasant Point, but it developed more slowly than other communities in the parish until a railroad was built through there in 1900. Bastrop was the first community to be incorporated in the parish (1852). The city is run by a mayor and five aldermen under a Legislative Charter. The police department has approximately 40 police officers and 20 vehicles; the fire department has 45 firefighters who work out of the five stations. The fire rating inside the city limits is 3. Bastrop has one hospital, Morehouse General, and has four motels.
Bonita – In the early spring of 1890, the Houston, Central Arkansas and Northern Railroad began construction through northern Morehouse Parish to connect Little Rock, Arkansas to Monroe. By the fall of 1890, residents from the nearby settlement of Lind Grove and surrounding communities gathered to see the first train run on the new tracks. Legend says that the builder of the railroad, Jay Gould, rode in his private car on the back of the train as it traveled over the new tracks. The conductor was given the task of naming the stops along the track and as he stepped off the train and saw the lush greenery of the trees and fields, he named the station Bonita, which is Spanish for beautiful. This village, located in the north central portion of the parish, was incorporated in 1901. The village is run by a mayor and board of three aldermen under the Lawrason Act. There is one police officer and a patrol car. The fire protection is provided by the Tenth Ward Volunteer Fire Department, with two main stations and two substations, four pumper trucks, three tankers and a brush truck. The fire rating in the city limits is 10 and surrounding area a 10.
Collinston – Collinston, just five miles south of Bastrop, is a farming community but also has the advantage of having an intersection of two lines of the Union Pacific Railroad. It was incorporated in 1904. The Collinston Museum was opened to the public in 2004 and depicts the history of the village. Kalorama, a nature preserve located on 37 acres in located in Collinston. Kalorama was built in 1927 as a summer home for William B. Reily, the founder and manufacturer of Luzianne coffee and tea. In 1917, Collinston’s only bank, the Citizens Bank, was robbed. The three men would have probably gotten away with their heist if they had taken paper money instead of silver. The silver weighed them down and they left a trail, which a posse used to track them. One of the robbers was caught and hanged; one was shot leaving the bank and one was killed by the posse. The village is run by a mayor and board of three aldermen under the Lawrason Act. There is one police officer and one patrol car. The fire department has 15 volunteers and one truck. The fire rating is a 7.
Mer Rouge – This community was originally called Prairie Mer Rouge and was the first settlement to thrive in the area that became Morehouse Parish. Its name (Red Sea) came from early French settlers because of the color of the grass that covered the prairie. Because of its location on the first railroad through the parish, the citizens of Mer Rouge tired during the late 19th century to become the parish seat. Mer Rouge was incorporated in 1898. The Mer Rouge State Bank was organized in 1903 and continues to serve the community to this day. The Lion’s Club, organized in 1943, built the Oak Woods Home for the Elderly in 1965 and still serves the community. Known as the Agricultural Center of Northeast Louisiana, farming is a main source of income. There are rice and grain mills still in operation. The village is run by a mayor and board of three aldermen under the Lawrason Act. There are two police officers and two patrol cars. The fire department has approximately 12 volunteers and five trucks. The fire rating is a 6 in the city.
Oak Ridge – In the early days of the 19th century Oak Ridge was called Prairie Jefferson because the original settlers arrived there from Jefferson County, Mississippi. Oak Ridge was incorporated in 1904. During the Civil War, Oak Ridge was used by the Confederate soldiers as a place to regroup and recuperate from wounds and illnesses. Established in 1910, the Bank of Oak Ridge is still providing services to its community. The village is run by a mayor and board of three aldermen under the Lawrason Act. There is one police officer and one patrol car. There are 25 volunteer firemen and the fire rating is 5.