The county seat of East Carroll Parish, Lake Providence is a small, impoverished city of roughly 4,000 people with a declining population. It is home to four prisons that make up a large part of the local economy. Located in the northeast corner of Louisiana, near both Arkansas and Mississippi, the town has natural beauty, featuring a six-mile-long lake lined with cypress trees. Area farms raise corn, soy beans, cotton, catfish and sweet potatoes.
Time Magazine once named Lake Providence “The Poorest Place In America,” reporting: “The town has no public parks or swimming pools, no movie theaters, no shopping malls, not even a McDonald’s or a Walmart…. Restless teenagers mill around narrow streets lined with burned-out houses and dilapidated trailer parks… If there is a poorer place in America, the Census Bureau cannot find it.
According to 2017 data:
- 70% of families with children live below the poverty line.
- 54% of families have an annual income of less than $15,000.
- Just over 78% of the population is African-American and almost 20% is white.
Sister Bernie Barrett, a member of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women, which works as a “change agent for a just world order,” coordinates Family-to-Family’s program in Lake Providence. Jong’s Market provides groceries for our sponsored families.
Sister Bernie Barrett
106 Ingram St.
Lake Providence, Louisiana 71254
Read more about Lake Providence:
- The most unequal place in America
- Lake Providence Residents Work to End Cycle of Poverty
- Sister Bernie and her work with Lake Providence families here.
Data Sources: 2017 U.S. Census American Community Survey; Epodunk.com.; East Carroll Poverty – FedStats.