Alexandria, a small central Louisiana city with around 45,000 residents, serves as the seat of Rapides Parish and the economic center of the area. Nevertheless, not all parts of Alexandria share the same level of prosperity and quality of life.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that 27.1% of Alexandria’s population lives below the poverty line, which surpasses the state average of 18.8% and the national average of 12.8%. Poverty affects individuals from diverse backgrounds and demographics, but certain neighborhoods within Alexandria experience a more pronounced impact.
Here are the five neighborhoods in Alexandria with the highest poverty rates, determined by median household income and the percentage of residents living in poverty.
Lower Third, located in the southeast part of Alexandria, is surrounded by Masonic Drive, Lee Street, MacArthur Drive, and Bayou Rapides Road. It’s one of the city’s oldest and most historically significant areas, but unfortunately, it’s also one of the most neglected and impoverished.
The average household income in Lower Third is $17,446, which is less than half of the citywide average of $43,760. The poverty rate here is 54.3%, which is twice as high as the city’s overall rate of 27.1%.
The majority of Lower Third’s population is African American, with 92.4% of residents identifying as black or African American. The neighborhood faces challenges such as high crime rates, low educational achievement, substandard housing conditions, and limited access to essential services and facilities.
Samtown/Woodside is a neighborhood in the southwest part of Alexandria. It’s bordered by MacArthur Drive, Jackson Street Extension, Versailles Boulevard, and Horseshoe Drive. This area includes a mix of homes, businesses, and industrial spaces.
The typical household income in Samtown/Woodside is $20,625, which is less than half of the city’s average of $43,760. The poverty rate in Samtown/Woodside is 49%, nearly double the city’s average of 27.1%.
The population of Samtown/Woodside is diverse, with 60.9% identifying as black or African American, 33.6% as white, 3% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.5% as other races. The neighborhood faces challenges like pollution, traffic, noise, and a shortage of green areas.
Martin Park/Airview Terrace
Martin Park/Airview Terrace is a residential area located in the northern part of Alexandria. It is bordered by England Drive, North MacArthur Drive, Vandenburg Drive, and Bayou Rapides Road. In addition to housing, there are some businesses and industrial developments along the main roads.
The typical household income in Martin Park/Airview Terrace is $22,500, which is approximately half of the city’s average income of $43,760. The poverty rate in this neighborhood is 46%, nearly double the city’s average of 27.1%.
The majority of the population in Martin Park/Airview Terrace identifies as African American, making up 81% of the residents. This neighborhood faces challenges such as low rates of homeownership, lower quality housing, high unemployment, and limited educational opportunities.
Broadway, located in the northeast part of Alexandria, is bordered by Masonic Drive, Lee Street Extension, North Bolton Avenue, and Rapides Avenue. It is primarily a residential area with some businesses and institutions along the main streets.
The average household income in Broadway is $23,750, which is approximately half of the city’s average of $43,760. The poverty rate in Broadway is 44%, nearly double the city’s average of 27.1%.
Broadway is a diverse community, with 51% of its residents identifying as black or African American, 45% as white, 3% as Hispanic or Latino, and 1% as belonging to other racial backgrounds. The neighborhood faces challenges including elevated crime rates, substance abuse issues, instances of domestic violence, and a lack of available social services.
The Garden District in Alexandria is located centrally and is bordered by Jackson Street, Lee Street, Monroe Street, and Bolton Avenue. It’s one of the city’s oldest and historically significant areas, but also stands out for its economic diversity.
The typical household income here is $25,833, which is approximately 60% of the city’s average of $43,000. The poverty rate in the Garden District is 36%, surpassing the city’s average of 27.1%. The population is diverse, with 57% identifying as white, 38% as black or African American, 3% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2% belonging to other racial backgrounds.
The architectural styles in this neighborhood range from Victorian mansions to bungalows and cottages. However, the area grapples with challenges such as gentrification, displacement, and the preservation of its historic character.