Discover the Louisiana Town With the State’s Worst Air Quality

Written by Justin Zipprich
Updated: May 25, 2023
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As the years go by, people and agencies around the world become more concerned with pollution and the quality of our air. When the air quality gets worse, it’s more likely that we will experience adverse health effects. Today, we want to talk a bit about the Louisiana town with the state’s worst air quality, how that information is identified, what it can mean to the people living there, how the air quality affects the animals, and other important facts.

The Louisiana Town with the State’s Worst Air Quality is Bogalusa

According to statistics pulled from, the Louisiana town with the state’s worst air quality is Bogalusa. Although it is close to other Louisiana cities, such as Angie and Varnado, Bogulusa just beat out those areas as far as air quality, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) score of 44.8 versus the scores of 44.4 for both Angie and Varnado. 

Basically, the AQI score characterizes the air quality of any given location. The higher the AQI score, the more likely it is that the population in that area will experience severe health effects. 

Specifics About the AQI in Bogalusa

There are several different factors that go into identifying the Air Quality Index (AQI). Among the factors discussed are:

  • Total Suspended Particulate (The number of harmful particles that are found in the air)
    • The air quality in Bogalusa is only a point or two below the average found in the United States. As of 2009, it was three points higher than the average in the numbers within the state of Louisiana combined. 
  • Lead (How much lead is found in the environment)
    • Bogalusa has gone up and down when it comes to the amount of lead in the environment over the years. In 2009, it was about equal to the US average.
  • Carbon Monoxide (Harmful CO emissions in the area)
    • The saturation of carbon monoxide has reduced over the years, and it is now slightly under the US average.
  • Sulfur Dioxide (Harmful SO2 emissions in the area)
    • As far as sulfur dioxide in the air, Bogalusa has more than both the US and Louisiana state averages.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (Harmful NO2 emissions in the area)
    • As a good sign of improving air quality, Bogalusa has less nitrogen dioxide than both the US and Louisiana state averages. 
  • Ozone (Gas exposure in the air)
    • Bogalusa is almost in line with US and Louisiana state numbers as far as harmful ozone exposure.

Where is the Louisiana Town with the Worst Air Quality Located on a Map?

The town of Bogalusa is located in Washington Parish, Louisiana, in the interior southeast corner of the state. Bogalusa, the largest city in the parish, is very close to the Mississippi border.

Other Cities to Consider

You can see the numbers at this link, along with the data for 589 other cities in Louisiana. It’s worth noting that the air quality is improving in Bogalusa. Going there for a visit won’t mean that you will face immediate health issues, but you could face problems over a long period of time. 

Other cities to be somewhat cautious of in Louisiana include:

  • Rodessa
  • Ida
  • Springhill
  • Athens

There are also cities in Louisiana that have noticeably better air quality that you can experience for yourself. I’ve personally visited these cities and noticed a big difference:

  • Lake Charles
  • Sulfur
  • Vinton
  • Welsh

How Air Quality Affects the People of Louisiana

Handsome senior man taking a selfie along the Mississippi River and bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The people of Bogalusa can be at risk of health issues, especially those who have lower incomes

©Fotoluminate LLC/

The fact that Bogalusa is the Louisiana town with the state’s worst air quality means that the people who live there could experience health issues over time. Currently, there are approximately 12,071 folks who live in the city. The median age in this town is 38 years old, there’s an average median income of $32,000, and as of 2020, the poverty rate was close to 30%.

This is important because those who have lower incomes or are living in poverty are also more affected by poor air quality than others. There are a number of reasons for this claim:

  1. the fact that many homeless individuals and those without adequate housing cannot get inside and out of the harmful air. 
  1. If an individual were to be affected by poor air quality and come down with asthma or other breathing issues, they are also less likely to be able to afford to get the necessary medical care to ease their conditions before it goes too far. 
  1. Those who are already struggling financially are more likely to already have a medical condition because of their inability to get the necessary medical care in the first place. If they already have a pre-existing condition, they are more likely to get ailments tied to poor air quality. 
  1. Poorer towns are less likely to have the resources and technology necessary to implement new technology that can improve air quality, so the situation often remains the same. 

It’s worth noting again that the situation in Bogalusa is improving, so it won’t always be the Louisiana town with the state’s worst air quality, but there is still room to go.

Bogalusa Animals Can Also Be Affected

The fact that Bogalusa is the Louisiana town with the state’s worst air quality is harmful to the people and the many animals that call the region home. There are many exciting species in this region, from large reptiles to microscopic insects, which can all be negatively affected by poor air quality. Here is a list of the many animals that call this area home.


Luisana is home to alligators and tortoises, in addition to countless varieties of snakes.

  • Alligators – The American Alligator is one of the main alligator breeds in the world, and many are found in the wetlands of this area. 
  • Snakes – There are many snake breeds in this area, including the coachwhip, common garter snake, water snake, worm snake, brown snake, a water snake, copperhead, Eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake, Eastern hog-nosed snake, Eastern pine snake, Eastern ribbonsnake, and more. 


There are countless plants and flowers that are native to the area. Among them are the:

  • Alligator weed
  • American beautyberry
  • American eelgrass 
  • Chinese tallow tree
  • Common Salvinia
  • Crested floating heart
  • Cuban bulrush
  • Duckweed
  • Giant Salvinia 
  • Hydrilla
  • Saltmeadow cordgrass
  • Shoal weed
  • Smooth cordgrass
  • Turtle grass
  • Water hyacinth
  • Water lettuce
  • Water primrose


Bogalusa is home to a handful of mammals that live in the forests, skies, and water. They include:

Fish and Shellfish

The waters of Bogalusa are also loaded with fish and shellfish that can be in jeopardy if poor air quality remains in the state. The species include:

  • Shellfish – Apple snail, blue crab, brown shrimp, Easter oyster, red swamp crawfish, and white shrimp.
  • Fish – Alligator gar, American paddlefish, Atlantic croaker, bigmouth buffalo, blue catfish, bowfin, black drum, bluegill, cobia, the common carp, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, red snapper, and yellowfin tuna, among others.


The small and industrious amphibians of the area can also feel the pain associated with poor air quality. Many native amphibians include:

  • Frogs – American bullfrog, dusky gopher frog, Southern cricket frog.
  • Salamanders – Eastern tiger salamander, Louisiana slimy salamander, Webster’s salamander.
  • Gulf Coast waterdog

How Poor Air Quality Affects The Wildlife

Alligator swimming through clear waters

The animals of Louisiana can also be at risk, especially the many alligators that call the place home.

©David Louis Tiffany/

The fact that Bogalusa is the Louisiana town with the state’s worst air quality is also alarming for the animals that call the area home. When the air quality is bad, it can create air pollution, and that can lead to the existence of acid rain, heavy metals, and other toxic substances in the environment. When animals breathe in, eat, or drink substances mixed with those chemicals, they can be toxic. 

Another issue is that the pollutants don’t affect every animal similarly, so it’s impossible to save one species over another. Add to that the fact that when one animal is infected and eaten by a species higher up on the food chain, that animal can also get sick and hurt. If every animal in the food chain is infected, it can mean the eventual extinction of numerous species. 

Effects on the Water

No species is safe when it comes to poor air quality and environmental pollution, not even the fish, amphibians, and other critters that call the water home. The poor air quality can create acid rain, which pours down and makes water bodies much more acidic, so the animals either die or suffer major physiological issues. Plus, these pollutants can travel a long way from their origination point. Mercury, for instance, is incredibly potent and hurts fish and animal species from miles away. 


As the Louisiana town with the state’s worst air quality, Bogalusa has a lot of work to do to protect the citizens and the many animals, mammals, and fish that call the town home. Even if you don’t live in Bogalusa, it’s still important to understand the air quality in your area so you can protect your family and give them the best life possible. That said, Bogalusa is still a great town, so consider visiting if you’re ever in the area.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Justin Zipprich is a writer at A-Z Animals, where his primary focus is travel, state facts, pets, and mammals. Justin has been writing and editing animal content for over 7 years, though he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Instructional Technology from Western Illinois University, which he earned in 2005. As a resident of Texas, he loves discovering local animals and spending time with his wife and two kids.

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