The New York Times reported today about the sudden rush of speculators who have invaded the small town of Mansfield, Louisiana (the subject of a previous blog post concerning Cleco’s encroachment on Mansfield’s Civil War battlefield, due to their drilling of lignite). Apparently, Mansfield is now home to more than a handful of overnight millionaires. It’s all the Haynesville Shale’s fault.
I immediately notice two things: Haynesville is nowhere close to what is being illustrated as the Haynesville Shale, and Samtown is included as its own municipality, even though it was annexed into Alexandria more than twenty years ago.
And they’re beside themselves.
In the space of months, the price of such rights on an acre has shot up to $30,000 from a few hundred dollars and is still climbing. Some very modest people, in a place where the Tough Steak Meat Market sits near the Triple J Motors car lot and the courthouse square is half boarded up, are becoming very wealthy, very quickly.
“Six months ago, you could have bought the whole parish for $1,000 an acre,” said O. L. Stone Jr., the clerk of court.
The county leaders and everyone around them, for mile after mile, over to Texas and up to Arkansas, in the down-at-heels city of Shreveport and in its struggling neighbors, suddenly find themselves sitting on what could prove to be the largest natural gas deposit in the continental United States.
The Times meant to say “parish leaders,” but either way, this is an interesting development, particularly considering the amount of speculation that has been done for decades in and around the Shreveport area.