St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana
|Saint John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana|
|Motto: "Heart of the River Parishes"|
Location in the state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Saint John the Baptist|
|• Total||406 sq mi (1,052 km2)|
|• Land||277 sq mi (717 km2)|
|• Water||129 sq mi (334 km2), 31.77%|
|• Density||163.25/sq mi (63/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
St. John the Baptist Parish (SJBP, French: Paroisse de Saint-Jean-Baptiste) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Edgard, an unincorporated area, and the parish capital, as well as the largest city is LaPlace, an unincorporated area. St. John the Baptist Parish is one of the original 19 parishes of the Territory of Orleans, which later became the State of Louisiana, having been created in 1807. As of the 2010 census, the population was 45,924.1
This was considered part of the German Coast in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, named for numerous German migrants who settled in the 1720s. On January 8, 1811, the largest slave insurrection in US history, known as the German Coast Uprising, started here. It was short-lived, but more than 200 slaves gathered from plantations along the river and marched through St. Charles Parish toward New Orleans.
St. John the Baptist Parish comprises eight communities: 2
|LaPlace||29,872||10ft (3.048m)||Pharmacist Basile Laplace, Sr.
In the 1970s the parish government officially adopted the LaPlace spelling. To distance it self from Laplace, Sr. & Laplace, Jr. questionable lifes.
|Edgard||12,257||13ft (3.9624m)||Local Postmaster Edgar Perret|
|Reserve||9,766||13ft (3.9624m)||NO DATA*|
|Garyville||2,811||7ft (2.1336m)||NO DATA*|
|Wallace||671||20ft (6.096m)||NO DATA*|
|Lucy||NO DATA*||13ft (3.9624m)||NO DATA*|
|Lions||NO DATA*||13ft (3.9624m)||NO DATA*|
|Mount Airy||NO DATA*||10ft (3.048m)||NO DATA*|
|Ruddock||GHOST TOWN||3ft (0.9144m)||Ruddock Cypress Company|
|Frenier||GHOST TOWN||NO DATA*||NO DATA*|
(*) research in progess on the (NO DATA)s
- On the west bank of the Mississippi River lie the sprawling towns of Lucy, Edgard and Wallace, which are all cover primarily by agricultural land, with rows of sugar cane covering the fields, shared with the Parish Courthouse.
- On the east bank of the Mississippi River lie the sprawling towns of LaPlace, Reserve, Lions, Garyville and Mount Airy each a thriving, bustling community with industries along the river, including a chemical plant, sugar refinery, grain elevators, and an oil refinery.
- However, the Parish had a ninth and tenth community Ruddock and Frenier which were settled on the isthmus between Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain, 10 miles (16.093 km) NNE of LaPlace. In 1892, Ruddock founded by the Ruddock Cypress Company was made into a sawmill town. In September 1915, the 1915 New Orleans Hurricane hit Ruddock and the nearby town of Frenier destroying the towns and killing some of residents.
- Today, Ruddock and Frenier are ghost towns in the Parish as well as an unwanted memorial, although the towns have been overgrown by vegetation, and all that remains of the settlements are rotted wood from the buildings they are still signed as an exit on I-55 and are marked on Louisiana state highway maps.
- St. John the Baptist Parish has no incorporated areas.
The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board operates 10 public schools within the parish, the Archdiocese of New Orleans oversees 5 religious schools within the parish and there are 2 privately run schools within the parish.
- Laplace Elementary & Middle School in LaPlace, La
- Garyville-Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School in Garyville/Mt. Airy, La
- Fifth Ward Elementary School in Reserve, La
- East St. John Elementary & Middle School in Reserve, La
- Emily C. Watkins Elementary & Middle School in LaPlace, La
- John L. Ory Communications Magnet School in LaPlace, La
- Lake Pontchartrain Elementary & Middle School in LaPlace, La
- West St. John Elementary & Middle School in Edgard, La
- East St. John High School in Reserve, La
- West St. John High School in Edgard, La
- Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Elementary & Middle School in LaPlace, La
- St. Joan of Arc Catholic Elementary & Middle School in LaPlace, La
- St. Peter's Catholic Elementary & Middle School in Reserve, La
- Our Lady of Grace Catholic Elementary & Middle School in Reserve, La
- St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace, La
- Reserve Christian Elementary & Middle School in Reserve, La
- Riverside Academy in Reserve, La K-12
|Parish Executives||Names||Preceded by|
|Parish President||Natalie Robottom||Bill Hubbard|
|Sheriff||Mike K. Tregre||Wayne L. Jones|
|Coroner||Dr. Christy Montegut||N/A|
|Assessor||Whitney Joseph, Jr.||N/A|
|School Board Superintendent||Herbert Smith||N/A|
|School Board President||Patrick H. Sanders||N/A|
|Council Chair||Jaclyn Hotard|
|Council Vice Chair||Art Smith|
|Council Seat At Large, Division A||Lucien J. Gauff, III|
|Council Seat At Large, Division B||"Council Chair"|
|Council Seat District I||"Council Vice Chair"|
|Council Seat District II||Ranney Wilson|
|Council Seat District III||Lennix Madere, Jr.|
|Council Seat District IV||Marvin Perrilloux|
|Council Seat District V||Michael Wright|
|Council Seat District VI||Larry Snyder|
|Council Seat District VII||Cheryl Millet|
|Parish Judicial Leaders||Names|
|Judge of Division "A"||The Honorable Madeline Jasmine|
|Judge of Division "B"||The Honorable Mary Hatard Becnel|
|Judge of Division "C"||The Honorable Sterling Snowdy|
|District Attorney||Thomas F. Daley|
|Clerk of Court||Eliana DeFrancesch|
|Senators & Representatives||Names|
|State Senator||Troy Brown D-2 D|
|State Senator||Gary Smith D-19 D|
|State Representative||Randal L. Gaines D-57 D|
|State Representative||Clay Schexnayder D-81 R|
|State Representative||Gregory A. Miller D-56 R|
|U.S. Senator||Mary Landrieu D|
|U.S. Senator||David Vitter R|
|U.S.Representative||Charles Boustany 3rd District R|
A former assessor, sheriff, and parish president in St. John the Baptist Parish, Lester J. Millet, Jr. (born c. 1938), was convicted of extortion and spent four-and-one-half years at the Federal Prison Camp at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. His opponents humorously dubbed him thereafter as "the man with the Florida tan". Voters still elected Millet as the parish president in 1987, a decade after he was released from Eglin. Millet was convicted of extortion again in 1996 and served another sentence at the federal prison in Englewood, Colorado.3 After his release on November 17, 2000,4 Millet served further time in a half-way house in New Orleans.3
St. John the Baptist Parish was the second permanent settlement in Louisiana and considered part of the German Coast http://www.gachgs.com/. The parish was established in the early 1720s by a group of German colonists. Many families established towns around the Mississippi River in the areas now known as Lucy, Garyville, and Reserve. The area was under the French regime until 1768, when France ceded Louisiana to the Spanish after the Seven Years' War.
Around this time period, many Acadians, people of French descent, began arriving in south Louisiana due to being expelled by the British from what is now Nova Scotia, when the British were victorious in the Seven Years' War and took over French territory in Canada. The first Acadian village was established in what is now Wallace. The German and French cultures thrived alongside one another, but French came to be the dominant language. They developed a culture known as Cajun.
The early settlers in the area received land grants from the Spanish or French governments, depending upon which country owned the territory at the time of application. These grants generally included some narrow frontage on the river for access to transportation of goods to and from New Orleans and world markets. The remaining property extended away from the river deeply into the wetlands. This was a French style of property allotment.
Most transportation was done by boat, mainly on the bayous and lakes, but the Mississippi River as well, for decades into the 19th century. St. John, with its fertile land being nine feet above sea level, proved to be an excellent settlement for farming and agriculture. In the late 18th century, planters began to invest more in labor-intensive sugar cane cultivation and processing, increasing their demand for slave labor. Sugar production meant prosperity for the planters and New Orleans.
With the sugar wealth, some wealthy planters built elaborate houses and outbuildings. Three survive in St. John parish; each is recognized for its national architectural and historic significance. On the west bank are the major complex of house and outbuildings designated Whitney Plantation Historic District and the National Historic Landmark (NHL) of Evergreen Plantation. San Francisco Plantation House, also a designated NHL, is on the east bank. San Francisco and Evergreen plantations are open to the public for tours. The Whitney plantation house is planned for renovation. Whitney and Evergreen plantations are both included among the first 26 sites on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.
In January 1811, the German Coast Uprising started in this parish. It was the largest slave insurrection in US history, but it was short-lived. The slaves killed two whites, but suffered 96 deaths among their forces at the hands of the militia and quick trials afterward. They attacked five plantations and burned three houses to the ground. Charles Deslondes, a mulatto slave from Haiti, was one of the leaders of the insurrection. He and his followers were influenced by the ideals and promises of the French and Haitian revolutions. He gathered more than 200 slaves from plantations along the way, marching into St. Charles Parish toward New Orleans before meeting much resistance. Unable to get the arms they had planned on, the slaves were defeated by well-armed informal and territorial militias. During these confrontations and executions after brief trials, Deslondes and ninety-five slaves were killed. Decades before the American Civil War and emancipation, their actions expressed the people's deep desire for freedom.5
As the families of the settlement grew, their need for education for their children grew also. Before the Civil War, typically planters would hire tutors, often college graduates from the North, who would live with the family for an extended period of time, typically two years. The tutor would teach all of the planter's children, and sometimes the family would arrange for neighborhood children to join the classes as well. In 1869, following the Civil War, families wanting French instruction founded private schools to continue their culture. This was when the Reconstruction legislature established public schools for the first time in the state. The first high schools at Edgard and Reserve were built in 1909. Children traveled to the schools by horse-drawn buses or by train.
The parish has a total area of 348 square miles (901 km²), of which, 219 square miles (567 km²) of it is land and 129 square miles (334 km²) of it (37.07%) is water.
St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana is located on the Mississippi River approximately 130 miles (210 km) upriver from the Gulf of Mexico and 30 miles (48 km) upriver from the City of New Orleans. The area, known as the River Region, has an abundance of natural resources and a mild "Sunbelt" climate. The average monthly temperature in New Orleans ranges from 55.1° in January to 83.7° in July, and rainfall averages 53.2² per year with monthly averages running from 2.52² in October to 7.17² in July. The New Orleans/River Region contains a good supply of raw materials, which has helped Louisiana maintain a high rank in the United States in the production of natural gas, petroleum, sulphur, salt, and fur pelts. High silica sands, lime, clays, timber, seafood, and various agricultural products are also produced in abundance.
St. John the Baptist Parish is bisected by the Mississippi River. Though the River actually separates the Parish into northern and southern parts, the former is still referred to as the "east bank" and the latter as the "west bank". The Mississippi provides an important transportation corridor which supports the heavy industry located in the area.
St. John the Baptist Parish is bordered by St. Charles Parish and Lake Pontchartrain to the east, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas to the north, Lafourche Parish and Lac des Allemands to the south, and St. James Parish to the west. It is one of four parishes which comprise the "River Parishes", in addition St. John Parish is the heart of the "River Parish". . This section of the state, also consisting of St. James, Ascension and St. Charles Parishes, makes up the area along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. All of these parishes are home to at least one major chemical and/or petroleum processing facility, the primary sources of employment in the region.
St. John the Baptist Parish contains approximately 239 square miles (620 km2) of land area, a large percentage of which consists of either open water or wetlands. The wetlands are currently protected by federal law and development is limited to what is permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and/or the Federal Wildlife and Fisheries Department.
Higher ground in the parish is found in an alluvial plain which generally borders the Mississippi River on both sides. Soil deposits from the Mississippi's annual flooding created a rich and fertile area which has historically been intensively farmed (sugar cane, soybeans, feed corn, and occasional cotton). This fact, and the natural transportation corridor supplied by the river, resulted in the creation of numerous farms and plantations along the lower Mississippi Valley.
Many of these plantations were merely large tracts of land with modest or average-sized homes and outbuildings found on the higher ground. Several, however, were improved with palatial mansions. Three of the larger homes have survived in St. John Parish, as noted in the History above.
The higher ground along the banks was used to grow crops, while the wetlands were valued for their abundant timber, hunting and fishing. For years development in the River Parishes was limited to those areas that were high and less prone to flooding. Until the existing levees and pump systems were built, however, few places were truly safe from high water. Even today, most of the parish is considered a flood hazard area (as per FEMA Flood Maps).
- Interstate 10
- Interstate 55
- U.S. Highway 51
- U.S. Highway 61
- Louisiana Highway 18
- Louisiana Highway 44
- Louisiana Highway 3127
- Louisiana Highway 3188
- Louisiana Highway 3213
East Bank - The primary artery on the east bank of St. John Parish is Airline Highway (U.S. Highway 61). This five-lane, asphalt-paved road was once the predominant route linking Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Though it is still heavily traveled, much of the New Orleans-Baton Rouge traffic has been diverted to Interstate 10, located in the northern part of the parish. Interstate 10, a divided, controlled-access highway, has two interchanges in St. John Parish; one at Belle Terre Boulevard and the second at U.S. Highway 51/Interstate 55, both in LaPlace. Both Belle Terre Boulevard and Highway 51 intersect Airline Highway approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) south of Interstate 10.
Interstate 55, a north-south route leading to Jackson, Mississippi and beyond, intersects Interstate 10 in the northeastern sector of LaPlace. A third Interstate 10 interchange exists just west of the St. John Parish Line near Gramercy (St. James Parish).
River Road, also known as Jefferson Highway or Louisiana Highway 44, is a two-lane, asphalt-paved, winding highway which parallels the Mississippi River. Most of the heavy industry in the Parish fronts on this road.
West Bank - Most of the development on the west bank lies along Louisiana Highway 18 (the Great River Road), a two-lane, asphalt-paved highway which parallels the Mississippi River similarly to Highway 44 on the east bank. In addition to Louisiana 18, the west bank has Louisiana Highway 3127 or the River Parishes Highway, which is roughly equivalent to the east bank's Airline Highway in that it follows the Mississippi. It is not as winding nor as populated as River Road. Highway 3127 leads to Donaldsonville upriver from St. John Parish. It is home of the "Sunshine Bridge" over the Mississippi River in Ascension Parish. This road has little development on either side and is generally surrounded by wetlands in St. John Parish.
Veterans Memorial Bridge or Gramercy Bridge - (Louisiana Highway 3213) This bridge originates on the east bank of St. James Parish near Gramercy/Lutcher and has access to I-10 and Airline Highway via Louisiana Highway 641. The foot of the bridge on the west bank is in St. John Parish near Wallace, with a tie-in to Louisiana Highway 3127 that opened June 18, 2008. The opening of this bridge has spurred the development hoped for along the west bank of St. John Parish. The Bridge is known as the "Bridge to No Were".
- Tangipahoa Parish (north)
- Lake Pontchartrain (northeast)
- St. Charles Parish (southeast)
- Lafourche Parish (south)
- St. James Parish (west)
- Ascension Parish & Livingston Parish (northwest)
||Ascesnion Parish and Livingston Parish||Tangipahoa Parish||Lake Pontchartrain|
|St. James Parish|
|Lafourche Parish||St. Charles Parish|
As of the census8 of 2000, there were 43,044 people, 14,283 households, and 11,312 families residing in the parish. The population density was 197 people per square mile (76/km²). There were 15,532 housing units at an average density of 71 per square mile (27/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 52.58% White, 44.76% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.86% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. 2.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,283 households out of which 43.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.10% were married couples living together, 18.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.80% were non-families. 17.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98 and the average family size was 3.38.
In the parish the population was spread out with 31.20% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 30.20% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 94.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.70 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $39,456, and the median income for a family was $43,925. Males had a median income of $37,293 versus $22,323 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $15,445. About 13.90% of families and 16.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.70% of those under age 18 and 17.80% of those age 65 or over.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- "ES&S, Diebold lobbyists, July 21, 2005". bbvforums.org. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- "Lester J. Millet, Jr.". bop.gov. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- Adam Rothman, Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South, pp. 106-117, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007 paperback
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Parish Government's website
- Parish Sheriff's website
- Parish District Attorney's website
- Parish Clerk of Court's website
- Parish Assessor's website
- Parish Public School's website
- Explore the History and Culture of Southeastern Louisiana, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
- McCulloh, R. P., P. V. Heinrich, and J. Snead, 2003, Ponchatoula 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangle. Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.