Florida Parishes

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Florida Parishes
Downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Flag of Florida Parishes
Map of Florida Parishes.png
CountryUnited States
 • Total1,088,014

The Florida Parishes (Spanish: Parroquias de Florida, French: Paroisses de Floride), on the east side of the Mississippi River—an area also known as the Northshore or Northlake region—are eight parishes in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Louisiana.

The Florida Parishes were part of what was known as West Florida in the 18th and early 19th centuries.[1] Unlike most of the state, this region was not part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, which applied to territory west of the Mississippi River.[2][3] First settled by the French, it was ceded to Great Britain in 1763 after France's defeat in the Seven Years' War. The British exchanged it with Spain following the American Revolutionary War for territory outside North America. This area was acquired by the US in 1812 and combined with the new state of Louisiana.


In terms of historical European influence, the area that became the Florida Parishes was first claimed by French colonists as part of Louisiane or French Louisiana. The French settled New Orleans, Mobile (now within Alabama); and founded numerous other settlements.

Following the French defeat in the French and Indian War, as the North American front of the Seven Years' War was known, that country was forced to cede this region —like most of the rest of French Louisiana east of the Mississippi River (excluding New Orleans)—to victorious Great Britain. This region became part of the British colonial province of West Florida.[4]

Following the American Revolutionary War, Britain ceded West and East Florida to Spain, and the territory became the subject of a border dispute with the newly formed United States.[5]

American and British settlers in the part of West Florida west of the Pearl River declared an independent Republic of West Florida in 1810 and elected their leader,[5] Fulwar Skipwith, as president. None of this short-lived Republic of West Florida lay within the boundaries of the modern U.S. state of Florida.

The flag of the Republic of West Florida, which was later identified with the Confederates' Bonnie Blue Flag of the Civil War era, continues to be flown on many public buildings in the Florida Parishes. In 2006, the state legislature designated it the "official flag of the Republic of West Florida Historic Region."[6]

The republic was quickly annexed by the United States,[5] and the present-day Florida Parishes were incorporated into the Territory of Orleans, which joined the Union as the U.S. state of Louisiana in 1812. In 1810, four parishes were established in the region: East Baton Rouge, Feliciana, St. Helena, and St. Tammany.

Later in the 19th century, five additional parishes were created as follows, with Feliciana Parish ceasing to exist: Washington Parish, 1819, from part of St. Tammany Parish; East Feliciana and West Feliciana parishes, 1824, by dividing Feliciana Parish; Livingston Parish, 1832, from part of St. Helena Parish; and Tangipahoa Parish, 1869 during the Reconstruction era, from parts of Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, and Washington parishes.[7]

In 1990, Louisiana's legislature formally designated this part of the state as "the Republic of West Florida Historic Region, or the Florida Parishes."[8] Since 1993, Interstate 12, which runs east and west through the Northshore region, has been officially designated as the Republic of West Florida Parkway.[9]


Hammond, Louisiana
Heritage Park in Slidell, Louisiana

The Florida Parishes of Louisiana stretch from the Mississippi state line on its eastern and northern borders to the Mississippi River on its western border, and Lake Pontchartrain on its southern border. The most populated urban area is the Baton Rouge metropolitan statistical area. St. Tammany Parish is part of the New Orleans metropolitan area. The parishes have a land area of 4,685.184 square miles (12,134.57 km2), or 10.755% of the state's total land area.



The Florida Parishes (in common with Greater New Orleans and Acadiana) has a humid subtropical climate, prone to hurricanes. Many parts of the Florida Parishes and parts of Acadiana flooded during the 2016 floods.[10][11] During Hurricane Katrina, both regions were used as evacuation areas for residents of Greater New Orleans.[12][13]


The population of the Florida Parishes at the 2010 census was 1,019,357 residents, or 22.49% of the state's population at that time.[14] Its largest communities are, in descending order of population (2010 U.S. census), Baton Rouge, Slidell, Central, Hammond, Shenandoah (CDP), Zachary, Baker, Bogalusa, Mandeville, Gardere (CDP), Merrydale (CDP), Denham Springs, Covington, Lacombe (CDP), and Oak Hills Place (CDP). Tabulating the 2019 census estimates, the Florida Parishes had a population of 1,067,634, making it the third largest region by population following Acadiana (1,490,449) and Greater New Orleans (1,507,017); in 2020, the tabulated population of the Florida Parishes was 1,088,014.

Race and ethnicity[edit]

Common among South Louisiana and in contrast with the U.S. Census Bureau's publications, a substantial portion of the non-Hispanic white, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian and Hispanic or Latino populations identify ethnically and/or culturally as Cajun or Louisiana Creole. Nearby Acadiana and Greater New Orleans, however, have more Cajuns and Louisiana Creoles as those regions are epicenters of Acadian and multiracial Louisiana heritage.[15]


While Greater New Orleans and Acadiana are historically and predominantly Roman Catholic,[16][17][18][19] the Florida Parishes are greatly influenced by Protestantism through British colonialism and missionary efforts, in addition to American settlement. In contrast with North and Central Louisiana, however, the Florida Parishes region is still dominated by the Roman Catholic Church as its single-largest Christian denomination. The second-largest overall denominational tradition in the region (especially Greater Baton Rouge)[20] are Baptists. Baptists form the largest overall Protestant majority within Louisiana according to the Pew Research Center's 2014 study,[21] spread among the Southern Baptist Convention—established in separation from the Northern Baptists (today the American Baptist Churches USA) over Southern white clergy and laymen's justifications of slavery—and the National Baptist Convention, USA which formed out of many black Baptist bodies leaving the Southern Baptists and white supervision.[22][23][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Folklife in the Florida Parishes: Overview". Folklife in Louisiana: Louisiana's Living Traditions. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  2. ^ "Florida Parishes". Southeastern Louisiana University. Archived from the original on June 9, 2022. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  3. ^ "Florida Parishes in the Civil War". 64 Parishes. Archived from the original on October 10, 2021. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  4. ^ "History of West Florida". University of Chicago. Retrieved 2021-06-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b c "The History of the Short-Lived Independent Republic of Florida". Smithsonian Magazine. Archived from the original on August 21, 2022. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  6. ^ "2006 Louisiana Laws – RS 25:705 — Bonnie Blue flag adopted". Justia US Law. Retrieved 2 Aug 2012.
  7. ^ Kingsley, Karen (2020-12-03). "Florida Parishes of Louisiana". 64 Parishes. New Orleans, Louisiana: Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  8. ^ "LA Rev Stat § 25:701 Republic of West Florida Historic Region". Justia US Law. Retrieved 2 Aug 2012.
  9. ^ "200th anniversary of the Republic of West Florida marked in St. Tammany". NOLA.com. Archived from the original on June 7, 2021. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  10. ^ "Louisiana flood: Worst US disaster since Hurricane Sandy, Red Cross says". CNN. 2016-08-18. Archived from the original on July 9, 2021. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  11. ^ "August 2016 extreme rain and floods along the Gulf Coast". NOAA. Archived from the original on June 10, 2022. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  12. ^ "Baton Rouge grew after Katrina while forging closer ties to recovering New Orleans". The Advocate. Archived from the original on June 7, 2021. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  13. ^ "RISK COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC RESPONSE DURING EVACUATIONS: The New Orleans Experience of Hurricane Katrina". Public Performance & Management Review. 32 (3): 437–462. 2009. ISSN 1530-9576.
  14. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  15. ^ Bernard, Shane. "Creoles". 64 Parishes. Archived from the original on 2022-11-23. Retrieved 2022-11-23.
  16. ^ "Louisiana". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  17. ^ "New Orleans". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  18. ^ "Over Three Centuries of Catholicism in New Orleans". Catholic Education & Faith Formation. Archived from the original on 2022-11-23. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  19. ^ "The History of the Diocese of Lafayette". Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  20. ^ "Religion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana". Sperling's BestPlaces.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "Religion in America: U.S. Religious Data, Demographics and Statistics". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. Archived from the original on October 31, 2020. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  22. ^ Fahmy, Dalia. "7 facts about Southern Baptists". Pew Research Center. Archived from the original on 2023-11-23. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  23. ^ "History of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc". National Baptist Convention. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  24. ^ "National Baptist Convention of the United States of America, Inc". Britannica. Retrieved 2022-09-10.

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