H/t to 2millionth weblog (which is easily one of the best and funniest websites in the State).

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.

Just insane.

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.

8 thoughts

  1. It’s the whole area, Lamar. The Haynesville Shale is expected to be the largest natural gas field in the country, overtaking the Barnett Shale over by Ft. Worth.
    I have a lot of this stuff on My Bossier Blog (http://mybossier.blogspot.com) and have started another page Haynesville Shale News Link which can be accessed through My Bossier. This is a big deal. Caddo, Bossier, Red River and DeSoto Parish Clerk’s offices are swamped with landmen. I’m in the Bossier Clerk’s office nearly every day and can attest to it.

  2. Fascinating, particularly considering no entity has ever mapped the Haynesville Shale. I have updated with a picture showing a rough approximation of its boundaries. The sudden escalation of property values points to a huge increase in business and infrastructure funding. The town of Mansfield will likely never be the same.

  3. Said that about New Roads. It is sitting still right now. A gas field is less exact than an oil field. I found that out from personal experence. A lot of people are going be dissapointed.

  4. Thanks for the shoutout, Lamar…it’s most appreciated. And I’ll take a look at your site, Jim (I’m a fellow public sector drone–in times past I did a bit more work for the State Lands Office than I do now…the less-senior employees pick up the slack. I wonder how they’re being affected by this.)

  5. “The town of Mansfield will likely never be the same.”

    Just for kicks, watch The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington. It was filmed in Mansfield last year.

  6. The NY Times guy “scooped” me. I had been meaning to get my picture of the Tough Steak Meat Market up on my blog for days. It’s finally there.

    Yesterday, there was a film crew down the street from the courthouse. Things are hopping in Mansfield, that’s for sure!

  7. i am publishing an entire pictorial documentary of sorts about the changes that de soto parish has undergone since its very days to the era of the Haynesville Shale play. It is a beautiful book…will be out shortly after Christmas so if anyone wants to see how far De Soto Parish has come to having overnight millionaires…buy the book! It will be a treasure to those of us who have lived here all their lives. And to let everyone know…the Tough Steak Market has long since gone out of business…and yes the downtown area was very delapidatd until Denzel came to town and now it is like a history book of what Mansfield likely looked like in the time frame of the movie…desotoparishtoday.com is my online newspaper…give a look…you might find out we’re not all hillbillies in northwest LA

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