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Franklinton, Louisiana

Coordinates: 30°50′55″N 90°9′0″W / 30.84861°N 90.15000°W / 30.84861; -90.15000
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Franklinton, Louisiana
Town of Franklinton
Location of Franklinton in Washington Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Franklinton in Washington Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Coordinates: 30°50′55″N 90°9′0″W / 30.84861°N 90.15000°W / 30.84861; -90.15000
CountryUnited States
 • MayorGregory Route
 • Total4.42 sq mi (11.43 km2)
 • Land4.37 sq mi (11.32 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.11 km2)
154 ft (47 m)
 • Total3,662
 • Density837.79/sq mi (323.51/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code
Area code985
FIPS code22-27190

Franklinton is a town in, and the parish seat of Washington Parish, Louisiana, United States.[2] The population was 3,857 at the 2010 census. The elevation is an average of 155 feet (47 m) above sea level. Franklinton is located 61 miles (98 km) north of New Orleans.

A Franklinton physician, Jerry Thomas, represented Washington Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988 to 1999. He was elected to the District 12 seat in the state senate, serving from 1999 to 2004. He had succeeded Phil Short of Covington, who resigned. Prior to his state service, Dr. Thomas was the Washington Parish coroner from 1980 to 1988.

Elected in 2015, Beth Mizell, a businesswoman from Franklinton, is the current District 12 state senator.


Franklinton was founded in 1819, originally under the name of Franklin. It was designated as the parish seat of government on February 10, 1821, two years after the parish was carved out from St. Tammany Parish.

In 1826 the town's name was changed to Franklinton, as there was already another town named Franklin in St. Mary Parish. In 1826, representatives and citizens from both communities showed up in then-state-capital New Orleans to state their cases for keeping the name "Franklin." The legislature allowed Franklin in St. Mary Parish to retain its name, while changing the Washington Parish's newer seat to Franklinton. The parish was largely rural, based in extensive pine forests.

20th century to present[edit]

  • 1935 lynching:

In the early hours of January 11, 1935, a small group of white men forced their way into the Washington Parish jail in Franklinton, fatally shooting and beating Jerome Wilson, 30, an African-American man convicted of murder. He had pleaded for mercy. Five days earlier the Louisiana Supreme Court had granted Wilson a new trial, on the grounds that he had not received a fair trial. The decision cited that he was tried, convicted, and sentenced within ten days of his arrest in August in the slaying of Deputy Sheriff Delos C. Wood in a gunfight on the Wilson place.[3]

The lynch party took Wilson's body by car and dumped it along a rural road three miles (5 km) from town; then they dispersed. The body was found by a passerby on the road two hours later. Police officers said they thought Wilson was shot because his cries would have aroused parish authorities, who twice had thwarted attempts to lynch him.[3]

In 2005, much of Franklinton, as well as most of Washington Parish, sustained damage from Hurricane Katrina. It caused extensive damage along the Gulf Coast.


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) is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1 km2) (0.95%) is water.

The Bogue Chitto River flows through the western edge of the town.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[4]

2020 census[edit]

Franklinton racial composition[5]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 1,656 45.22%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,769 48.31%
Native American 11 0.3%
Asian 19 0.52%
Other/Mixed 89 2.43%
Hispanic or Latino 118 3.22%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 3,662 people, 1,739 households, and 930 families residing in the town.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 3,657 people, 1,366 households, and 878 families residing in the town. The population density was 882.8 inhabitants per square mile (340.9/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 the parish agriculture, forestry, and some commercial industry. Many residents commute south into St. Tammany Parish for employment.

Arts and culture[edit]

The Washington Parish Free Fair, the largest free fair in the US and the second-largest county fair in Louisiana, is held during the third week of October each year at the Washington Parish Fair Grounds in Franklinton.


The Era-Leader, the oldest newspaper in Washington Parish, is based in Franklinton and covers mainly the western half of the parish.

The Daily News is published three times per week. It is based in Bogalusa but it covers all of the parish.

In popular culture[edit]

The book, Dead Man Walking (1993) by Sister Helen Prejean, and the 1995 film of the same name adapted from the book, referred to the murder of Faith Hathaway by Robert Lee Willie and Joseph Vaccaro, and their convictions. The murder took place at Fricke's Cave (now part of Bogue Chitto State Park).


  • Washington Parish School System
  • Mount Hermon PreK-12th
  • Franklinton High School
  • Franklinton Jr High
  • Franklinton Elementary School
  • Franklinton Primary School
  • Bowling Green School

National Guard[edit]

Franklinton is the home of the 843rd Engineer Company. It is part of the 205th Engineer Battalion in Bogalusa, and the larger 225th Engineer Brigade of the Louisiana National Guard.

Notable people[edit]


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.[9]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b New York Times; January 13, 1935
  4. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  6. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  7. ^ Reich, Kenneth; Drummond, William J. (April 25, 1971). "Ruchell Magee: Profile of suspect in shootout". The Los Angeles Times. pp. B1, B6 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Shaw, David; Stevens, D (August 27, 1972). "Ruchell Magee stands alone". The Los Angeles Times. pp. 27, 28, 31 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Climate Summary for Franklinton, Louisiana

External links[edit]