Bastrop (population 12,988) is the parish seat of Morehouse Parish within an area marketed to tourists as the Sportsman's Paradise Region of Louisiana. It is a Main Street Community and has received Transportation Enhancement funding for improvements in its historic district.
Annual celebrations and concerts bring citizens to enjoy the historic downtown, anchored by the restored 1914 Parish Courthouse and Rose Theater. Bastrop is also home to the Snyder Museum and Creative Arts Center, housed in the circa 1929 home of a leading local family. Volunteers lead heritage appreciation tours for children and interpret the history of the parish using local artifacts.
One recent exciting preservation project is the restoration and adaptive reuse of the 1927 Bastrop High School, a National Register building once listed as one of the "Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites in Louisiana." A public/private partnership is turning the school into 60 affordable independent living units for the elderly and has created 15 jobs in the process.
The project will increase the tax base, attract retirees to help certify Bastrop as a Louisiana retirement community, and will likely lead to the development of related service businesses. The school's original mission of education will be continued by offering classes to seniors in the library and by educating the community on the value of historic preservation.
The real estate developer of the project praised those involved, saying, "I have not found a group of citizens more committed, effective, organized, in acting together to revitalize their community."
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2004.