|Elevation||154 ft (46.9 m)|
|Area||4.2 sq mi (10.9 km2)|
|- land||4.1 sq mi (11 km2)|
|- water||0.04 sq mi (0 km2), 0.95%|
|Density||882.8 / sq mi (340.9 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
Located 61 miles (98 km) north of New Orleans, the town's name is pronounced locally as "Frank-lin-ton".
A Franklinton physician, Jerry Thomas, represented Washington Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988–1999 and then served from 1999-2004 in the District 12 seat in the state senate, having succeeded Phil Short of Covington, who resigned. Dr. Thomas was the Washington Parish coroner from 1980-1988.
Franklinton was founded in 1819, originally under the name of Franklin, but in 1826 the name was changed to Franklinton since there was already another town with the same name in St. Mary Parish. In 1826, representatives and citizens from both communities showed up at the state capitol in Baton Rouge to state their cases to keep the name "Franklin". A compromise was reached by the Louisiana Legislature, allowing Franklin in St. Mary Parish to retain its name, while Washington Parish's parish seat would be known as Franklinton.
Franklinton became the parish seat of Washington Parish on February 10, 1821, two years after the parish was carved out from St. Tammany Parish.
Much of Franklinton, as well as most of Washington Parish, sustained damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
On January 11, 1935, a small group of men forced their way into the Washington Parish jail in Franklinton early on January 11, shot and beat an African American man convicted of murder to death, dumped his body alongside a lonely road three miles (5 km) from town and dispersed. The man had been tried, convicted and sentenced within ten days of his arrest. The body of the victim, Jerome Wilson, 30, was found on the road two hours later. Wilson was convicted in August of slaying Deputy Sheriff Delos C. Wood in a gun fight on the Wilson place. Aroused from his cot, the terror stricken man pleaded for mercy. His pleas were followed by screams for help. Then a bullet was fired into the back of his head. Officers expressed the belief that the man was shot because his cries would arouse parish authorities, who twice had thwarted attempts to lynch him. The body was dragged to a waiting car. Five days earlier a new trial was granted to Wilson by the Louisiana Supreme Court on the grounds that the defendant had not received a fair trial. The decision cited that he was tried, convicted and sentenced within ten days of his arrest.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.9 km²), of which, 4.1 square miles (10.7 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.95%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,657 people, 1,366 households, and 878 families residing in the town. The population density was 882.8 people per square mile (341.1/km²). There were 1,536 housing units at an average density of 370.8 per square mile (143.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 47.01% White, 51.87% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.19% Asian, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.
There were 1,366 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 21.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the town the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 23.4% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 83.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $20,955, and the median income for a family was $27,957. Males had a median income of $25,268 versus $16,337 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,273. About 24.0% of families and 31.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.3% of those under age 18 and 28.7% of those age 65 or over.
The town's economy is based heavily on agriculture, forestry and some commercial industry. However, many residents commute south into St. Tammany Parish for employment.
Arts and Culture
The Washington Parish Free Fair, the largest free fair in the US and the 2nd largest county fair in Louisiana, is held in the third week of October of each year at the Washington Parish Fair Grounds in Franklinton.
The Era-Leader, the oldest newspaper in Washington Parish, is based in Franklinton and mainly covers the western half of the parish.
The Bogalusa Daily News is actually only published three times per week, not daily. It is based in Bogalusa but it covers all of the parish.
The book, Dead Man Walking, and film about the book, was partially based on the murder of Faith Hathaway by Robert Lee Willie and Joseph Vaccaro. The murder took place at Fricke's Cave (now part of Bogue Chitto State Park).
- Bowling Green School
- Washington Parish School System
- Franklinton High School
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Franklinton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
- Washington Parish, Louisiana by Janice M. Berfield, 1968
- History of Washington Parish by Hon. Prentiss B. Carter
- The Era-Leader, Franklinton
- Bogalusa Story by C. W. Goodyear
- Bogalusa, Washington Parish, Louisiana: History, Links, Maps, and Photos
- Bogalusa Daily News
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