The first French settler was Vincent Porei, who was granted a small tract of land in July 1764 by the Civil and Military Commander of Natchitoches. Nicolas Etienne Marafret Layssard arrived in December 1766 with the permission of Aubrey and Foucault to establish a "tar works" in the pineries of Rapides, for naval stores. He was later appointed the first Civil Commander of Rapides Parish. During the 1760s, it was still a dependency of Natchitoches [AGI, PPC, Legajo 187a, 384-384v.]
Rapides Parish was formed in 1807 by the government of the Orleans Territory.
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