Washington, Louisiana

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Not to be confused with Washington Parish, Louisiana.
Coordinates: 30°36′52″N 92°03′30″W / 30.61444°N 92.05833°W / 30.61444; -92.05833
Town of Washington
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish St. Landry
Elevation 46 ft (14 m)
Coordinates 30°36′52″N 92°03′30″W / 30.61444°N 92.05833°W / 30.61444; -92.05833
Area 0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)
 - land 0.9 sq mi (2 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 1,082 (2000)
Density 1,256.8 / sq mi (485.3 / km2)
Mayor Joseph Pitre (D)[1][2]
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 337
Location of Washington in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States

Washington is a small town in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,082 at the 2000 census. It is part of the OpelousasEunice Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Washington holds the annual Festival du Courtableau, now renamed the Washington Catfish Festival.


Washington is located at 30°36′52″N 92°3′30″W / 30.61444°N 92.05833°W / 30.61444; -92.05833 (30.614428, -92.058363).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2), of which, 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) of it is land and 1.15% is water.


At the 2000 census,[4] there were 1,082 people, 459 households and 289 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,256.8 per square mile (485.8/km²). There were 535 housing units at an average density of 621.4 per square mile (240.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 43.07% White, 56.28% African American, 0.37% from other races, and 0.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.

There were 459 households of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.2% were married couples living together, 25.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.05.

Age distribution was 29.1% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 80.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.3 males.

The median household income was $12,177, and the median family income was $17,727. Males had a median income of $36,250 versus $14,479 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,607. About 45.6% of families and 48.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 58.0% of those under age 18 and 38.4% of those age 65 or over.


During the American Civil War, the Thirteenth Connecticut, part of Union General Nathaniel P. Banks's forces, occupied Washington, then larger than the parish seat of Opelousas. Washington was, according to the historian John D. Winters in The Civil War in Louisiana "squalid and dirty . . . [with] filth, ugly buildings, and its large number of black inhabitants."[5] Winters reports that Banks' men operated from Washington, Opelousas, New Iberia, and Alexandria in "gathering cotton, vegetables, molasses, rum, sugar, saddles, bridles, horses, mules, cattle, corn, and sweet potatoes. Negroes were mounted and assisted in driving in the cattle and horses found hidden in the woods and swamps. Between eight and ten thousand bales of cotton were collected. It was estimated that the . . . region was stripped of legitimate forage valued at more than ten million dollars. . . . "[6]

Washington was the birthplace of Louisiana Governor Oramel H. Simpson, who served from 1926 until his defeat by the legendary Huey Pierce Long, Jr. in the 1928 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Arthur T. Prescott, the founding president of Louisiana Tech University and a long-time administrator at Louisiana State University, was reared on a sugar plantation near Washington.[7]

Speed trap[edit]

According to a 2007 report, Washington was named among the ten worst speed traps in the state of Louisiana. Washington made 50.84 percent of its revenue, an average of roughly $370 per capita population, from fines and forfeitures in the 2005 fiscal year. A motorist passing through for the Catfish Festival could be ticketed for going two miles over the speed limit.[8]

In 2014, State Representative Alan Seabaugh targeted Washington as the most "notorious" speed trap in the state. He obtained approval of the House Transportation Committee to allow enforcement of traffic laws only if a community had incorporated at least one-half mile of land that extends to each side of an interstate highway, excluding overpasses and ramps. Seabaugh said that he receives many complaints from his constituents in Shreveport and even out-of-state residents who have been ticketed for speeding when exceeding the 75 m.p.h. limit only by a mile or two.[9]


  1. ^ Mayor Joseph Pitre is listed among the state and local officials who have endorsed the reelection in 2014 of Democrat U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
  2. ^ "Landrieu’s GOP Endorsements Pale In Comparison To 2008 Election". thehayride.com. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 233
  6. ^ Winters, p. 237
  7. ^ Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, 1925), pp. 313-314
  8. ^ http://www.theind.com/cover-story/8399-need-for-speed
  9. ^ "Mike Hasten, Bills aimed at 'speed trap' advance to Louisiana House". The Town Talk. Retrieved April 23, 2014.