|City of Donaldsonville|
The Ascension Parish Courthouse is located on Railroad Avenue in Donaldsonville
|Elevation||26 ft (7.9 m)|
|Area||2.5 sq mi (6.5 km2)|
|- land||2.5 sq mi (6 km2)|
|- water||0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%|
|Population||7,436 (2010 census)|
|Mayor||Leroy Sullivan, Sr. (elected 2012)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
Donaldsonville (historically French: Lafourche-des-Chitimachas) is a city in and the parish seat of Ascension Parish in south Louisiana, United States, along the west bank of the Mississippi River. The population was 7,436 at the 2010 census, a decrease of more than 150 from the 7,605 tabulation in 2000. Donaldsonville is part of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Acadians began to settle in the area in 1765 and Spanish Isleños also settled here. In 1772 when the territory was under Spanish rule, the militia constructed La Iglesia de la Ascensión de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo de Lafourche de los Chetimaches (the Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church of Lafourche of the Chitimaches) to serve the area. The region returned later to French control and then was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 by the United States.
Donaldsonville is named after landowner William Donaldson. In 1806 Donaldson commissioned architect and planner Barthelemy Lafon to plan a new town. This served briefly as the Louisiana capital (1830–1831) after New Orleans was deemed "too noisy".
Although Donaldsonville is a small town, it has many historic sites. Its museum, the River Road African American Museum, has been included on the state's African American Heritage Trail. It also has parks, shopping centers, and Civil War grounds.
Specific historical facts about Donaldsonville can be learned through the books of Sidney Marchand (historian, mayor, legislator, attorney). Mr. Marchand as a state Senator was a contemporary of Huey Long. It was during the mayoral administrations of Sidney Marchand, Sr. and Sidney Marchand, Jr. that significant infrastructure was constructed in Donaldsonville (including about 12 miles of paving, and the still-extant sewerage system).
State capital 
In 1830, Donaldsonville became the Louisiana state capital, although the former capital of New Orleans regained the title just a year later.
Civil War 
In the summer of 1862, Donaldsonville was bombarded by the Union Army during the American Civil War. The Union sent gunboats to the town and warned that if shots were fired, the U.S. Navy would strike the area for six miles to the south and nine miles to the north and destroy every building on every plantation. Historian John D. Winters, in his The Civil War in Louisiana (1963), describes the horrific scene, accordingly:
"The irate naval commander, Admiral Farragut, ordered the bombardment of Donaldsonville as soon as it could be evacuated. All of the citizens of Donaldsonville . . . 'left their homes and went to the bayou . . . a detachment of Yankees went to shore with fire torches in hand.' The hotels, warehouses, dwellings, and some of the most valuable buildings of the town were destroyed, Plantations . . . were bombarded and set afire. . . . A citizens' committee met and decided to ask Governor Moore to keep the [Confederate] Rangers from firing on Federal boats. These attacks did no real good and brought only crude reprisals against the innocent and helped to keep the Negroes stirred up." A citizen complained that the Rangers were useless and themselves lawless and hence unable or unwilling to protect Confederate property. The citizen added that the Confederate people "could not fare worse were we surrounded by a band of Lincoln's mercenary hirelings. Our homes are entered and pillaged of everything that they see fit to appropriate to themselves."
At Donaldsonville, Fort Butler was protected on one side by the Mississippi River and on the other by Bayou Lafourche. A brick-lined moat surrounded the fort, which contained a high and thick earth parapet. There was further security from a strong log. The fort was built to accommodate 600 men, but in 1863 there were only 180 Union forces present, mostly from the Twenty-eighth Maine.
Donaldsonville is the home of one of the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States. The wooden building, now in use as an Ace Hardware store, was built in 1872 by Congregation Bikur Cholim, which disbanded in the 1940s.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), all of it land. Coming upriver on the Mississippi, Donaldsonville is the point of the first expanse of land beyond the narrow natural levee. The town sits approximately 25 feet above sea level, with excellent drainage.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,605 people, 2,656 households, and 1,946 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,986.9 people per square mile (1,151.5/km²). There were 2,948 housing units at an average density of 1,157.8 per square mile (446.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 29.82% White, 69.13% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 0.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.10% of the population.
There were 2,656 households out of which 39.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.4% were married couples living together, 30.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.7% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.35.
In the city the population was spread out with 32.1% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 81.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $24,084, and the median income for a family was $29,408. Males had a median income of $31,849 versus $17,528 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,009. About 32.8% of families and 34.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.0% of those under age 18 and 22.2% of those age 65 or over.
Notable natives and residents 
- Claiborne Williams - bandleader
- Duncan F. Kenner - built Ashland, Confederate Ambassador to France and England, horse racer, founder of Kenner
- Edward Douglass White, Sr. - Governor of Louisiana (1834–1838), father of the US Chief Justice
- Francis T. Nicholls - governor of Louisiana (1877–1880, 1888–1892), Conf. General
- Jarvis Green - defensive end, New England Patriots
- Howard Green - NFL defensive end
- Henry Johnson - governor of Louisiana (1824–1828)
- "King" Joe Oliver - jazz musician
- Vinnie Tortorich - author, radio host, athlete
- Nicholas Trist - negotiator of Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo
- Pierre Caliste Landry - first African-American mayor in the US (1868)
- Plas Johnson - saxophonist
- Sarah Vance - judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana
- Stephen Hopkins - Brigadier General, War of 1812/Battle of New Orleans, Louisiana House Speaker (1812)
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Donaldsonville Historical Marker".
- www.ascensioncatholic.com "About Us"
- Ron Stodghill, "Driving Back Into Louisiana’s History", NY Times, 26 May 2008, accessed 7 July 2008
- Donaldsonville Chief
- John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 153
- Winters, p. 153
- Winters, p. 290
- Gordon, Mark W. (1996). "Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues". American Jewish History 84 (1): 11–27.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Ron Stodghill, "Driving Back Into Louisiana’s History", The New York Times, 25 May 2008, accessed 7 July 2008]
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