Houma, Louisiana

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City of Houma
Terrebonne Parish Courthouse at Houma
Terrebonne Parish Courthouse at Houma
Location of Houma in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Houma in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
Houma is located in Louisiana
Location of Houma in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
Houma is located in the United States
Houma (the United States)
Coordinates: 29°35′15″N 90°42′58″W / 29.58750°N 90.71611°W / 29.58750; -90.71611Coordinates: 29°35′15″N 90°42′58″W / 29.58750°N 90.71611°W / 29.58750; -90.71611
Country United States
States Louisiana
Founded1834; 187 years ago (1834)
Incorporated1848; 173 years ago (1848)
Reincorporated1898; 123 years ago (1898)
County seatTerrebonne
Principal cityHouma–Bayou CaneThibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area
South Louisiana
 • TypeGovernment
 • BodyConsolidated City-Parish
 • Parish PresidentGordon Dove
 • City14.57 sq mi (37.73 km2)
 • Land14.43 sq mi (37.37 km2)
 • Water0.14 sq mi (0.36 km2)
 • City33,727
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,266.15/sq mi (874.94/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
70360, 70363-64
Area code985
FIPS code22-36255

Houma (/ˈhmə/ HOH-mə)[3] is the largest city in, and the parish seat of, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana,[4] United States. It is also the largest principal city of the Houma–Bayou CaneThibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's powers of government have been absorbed by the parish, which is now run by the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government. The population was 33,727 at the 2010 census, an increase of 1,334 over the 2000 tabulation of 32,393.[5]

Many unincorporated areas are adjacent to the city of Houma. The largest, Bayou Cane, is an urbanized area commonly referred to by locals as being part of Houma, but it is not included in the city's census counts, and is a separate census-designated place. If the populations of the urbanized census-designated places were included with that of the city of Houma, the total would exceed 60,000 residents. The city was named after the historic Native American tribe of Houma people, believed to be related to the Choctaw. The United Houma Nation Tribe is recognized by the state of Louisiana, but it has not achieved federal recognition.[6]

Houma was rated as an "Affordable" city by Demographia's 2013 International Housing Survey.[7]


Settled by the Chitimacha and then the Houma Indians prior to colonizers arrival, Houma was soon named for the Houma Indians who were at Ouiski Point.

Land claimed for the Houma Indians by the Spanish was not recognized by the United States after the Louisiana Purchase.

Houma was formed in 1832. The city was incorporated in 1848.[8]

The area was developed for sugar cane plantations in the antebellum years. Plantations were sited along the rivers and bayous in order to have access to water transportation.

Civil War[edit]

In 1862, four Union soldiers en route by wagon from New Orleans to Houma were ambushed by several armed citizens. Two of the Union men were killed, and the other two were seriously wounded.

In retaliation, Union officers brought 400 troops into Houma, and began a wholesale arrest of residents. In his 1963 book, historian John D. Winters describes the following events:

The investigation of the murders lasted several days but failed to reveal the guilty parties. To frighten the citizens, the home of a Doctor Jennings was burned, two other houses were torn down, and the home and slave quarters of an outlying plantation were burned. The soldiers next began to seize sheep, cattle, mules, wagons, and saddle horses. Negroes began to desert their masters and to flock to the protection of the troops. The frightened citizens had no means of resistance, and many found it hard to stand by and see their country despoiled by a few hundred troops.[9]

Reconstruction to present[edit]

Sugar cane continued to be important after the war and into the 20th century.

On 24 January 1970, an accidental gas explosion killed three people and caused extensive damage downtown. Latour's Jewelry Store was destroyed.[10] [11]


Houma is located at 29°35′15″N 90°42′58″W / 29.58750°N 90.71611°W / 29.58750; -90.71611 (29.587614, -90.716108)[12] and has an elevation of 10 feet (3.0 m).[13]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.2 square miles (37 km2), of which 14.0 square miles (36 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.92%) is water.

In 2008 Bill Ellzey, a columnist at Houma Today, wrote that area residents were often unaware of the Houma city boundaries as the city and parish governments had consolidated.[14]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)32,696[2]−3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
Two Bridges border a small marina. The water is a light brown and the sky is clear.
The "Twin Spans" bridges in downtown Houma serve as the main thoroughfare for crossing the Intracoastal Waterway

At the 2010 census,[16] there were 33,727 people, 10,634 households and 16,283 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,308.5 per square mile (891.4/km2). There were 12,514 housing units at an average density of 891.8 per square mile (344.4/km2). The racial make up of the city was 67.46% White, 20.62% Black, 5.45% Native American, 1.71% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.76% of the population.

2000 census[edit]

In 2000, there were 11,634 households, of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.8% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.24.

27.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.

The median household income was $34,471 and the median family income was $40,679. Males had a median income of $35,897 and females $22,202. The per capita income was $17,720. About 16.4% of families and 20.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.7% of those under age 18 and 17.3% of those age 65 or over.


Terrebonne Parish School District operates public schools.

It is home to Louisiana's second-oldest high school, Terrebonne High School.[17][18] South Terrebonne High School was founded in 1961. H.L. Bourgeois High School, Ellender Memorial High School and Vandebilt Catholic High School are also in Terrebonne Parish.

Southdown High School (originally Houma Colored High School) was constructed in the mid-20th century as a segregated school for black students, serving them exclusively from 1946 to 1969.[19] After that the school was integrated as a result of 1964 civil rights legislation.


Houma and the surrounding communities are steeped in the French, Native, Cajun, African and Creole history of the region. Originally the region was colonized by French and Spanish who made their way south through Bayou Lafourche. In the late 18th century, numerous Acadians (later known as Cajuns) settled in the region. The Acadians had been expelled by the British from Nova Scotia during the Seven Years' War for their unwillingness to take a loyalty oath to the British King. The number expelled was about 15,000 in number, of which 3,000 eventually settled in this region. Others went to France. As the French, Spanish, Acadians and Native American people mixed over the decades, a unique Cajun culture was born.

The swampland around Houma resulted in the area being quite isolated from the rest of Louisiana and the United States well into the 1930. Outside influences such as radio and WWI patriotism failed to penetrate Cajun culture, so Cajun culture and the use of French language in this region persevered much longer than in cities on the border of Cajun country, such as Lake Charles or Baton Rouge. Traditional Cajun culture in Houma includes the French language, Cajun cuisine, and celebration of Catholic festivals such as Mardi Gras. That folk culture remains evident today and attracts many tourists to the region.[20]

In the 1970s, many South Vietnamese refugees emigrated following the reunification of Vietnam. They settled in Southern Louisiana to work as shrimpers, just as they had in Vietnam. A fairly significant portion of them settled in New Orleans, and many settled in Houma as well, in addition to elsewhere along the Gulf Coast. Many ethnic Vietnamese families still work at shrimping, as their families have for several decades.[21]

Downtown Houma has been designated as an historic district and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers a downtown walking tour and attractions such as the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum, the Folklife Culture Center, the Regional Military Museum, Southdown Plantation, the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, monuments to local armed forces, and local eateries.[22]

Although Houma is quickly changing, many residents in the surrounding communities continue to make their living from the Gulf as their ancestors did. They harvest shrimp, oyster, crab, fish, and engage in trapping, although more have shifted to work in occupations of the oil industry and shipbuilding. According to the United States Government Patent and Trademark Office, Houma, Louisiana was the site of the deepest oil well in Terrebonne Parish.[citation needed]

Tab Benoit's Voice of the Wetlands Music Festival, established in 2005, takes place in Houma, annually in October.[23]

In popular culture[edit]

Mass media[edit]

The local newspaper is The Courier, founded in 1878 as Le Courrier de Houma by the French-born Lafayette Bernard Filhucan Bazet. He first published it in four-page, half-French half-English editions. Sold to The New York Times Company in 1980, it is now part of GateHouse Media.[26]

The Houma Times is located in Houma. The newspaper is a weekly publication with a website updated daily. It serves the Terrebonne, Lafourche, and St. Mary parishes. In 2014, Houma-based Rushing Media merged with Guidry Group, Inc., which had owned the publication since its inception in 1997.[27]

The area's only local broadcast TV station, KFOL-CD, is located in Houma. KFOL, also known as HTV, produces a weeknight newscast, followed by local phone calls and guests. Other shows include Sportsman's Paradise and One on One. KFOL broadcasts in digital on channel 30.1. The statewide TV network LCN-TV produces original Louisiana programming which showcases Louisiana's entertainment, culture, talent and industry. LCN-TV is delivered to all media distributors. Debuted in 2007, LCN-TV continues to produce Louisiana TV shows for the U.S.[citation needed]

The following radio stations are located in the Houma-Thibodaux metropolitan area:


Houma is served by Houma-Terrebonne Airport, located 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of the central business district.[28]

Good Earth Transit is Houma's parish bus system.[29] It has five major routes and serves the surrounding suburban areas, including the small bayou communities and the city of Thibodaux.[30]

Houma relies mainly on roads and personal vehicles as the main form of transportation. The major roads in Houma are:

  • US Route 90 (Future I-49)
  • LA HWY 311
  • Tunnel Boulevard (LA 3040)
  • LA 24 (locally called West Park Avenue (westbound) and Main Street (eastbound))
  • LA 182 (New Orleans Boulevard)
  • South and North Hollywood Road
  • St. Louis Canal Road
  • Savanne Road
  • Valhi Boulevard

Twin towns[edit]

Notable people[edit]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild, sometimes warm winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Houma has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Houma, Louisiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 88
Average high °F (°C) 67
Daily mean °F (°C) 56
Average low °F (°C) 45
Record low °F (°C) −12
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.1
Source: [39]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English (Addenda); Webster's New Geographical Dictionary (1984).
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. ^ "Houma (city), Louisiana". quickfacts.census.gov. Archived from the original on December 3, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "United States" (PDF). 9th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2013 Ratings for Metropolitan Markets. Demographia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  8. ^ https://www.tpcg.org/index.php?f=parish
  9. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963; ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, pp. 150-151
  10. ^ "Three men killed in gas explosion". Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Wisconsin. 26 January 1970. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Survivors recall 1970 blast that rocked Houma". Houma Daily Courier. 24 January 2010.
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  13. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  14. ^ "Where do city limits start, stop?". Houma Today. 2008-06-22. Archived from the original on 2019-05-14. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 1996-12-27. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. ^ https://www.houmatoday.com/article/DA/20070525/News/608091965/HC
  18. ^ https://ths-tpsd-la.schoolloop.com/history
  19. ^ Dishman, Jaime Lugibihl (2005-06-26). "Students of former Southdown High School gather for remembrance". Houma Today. Archived from the original on 2016-12-04. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  20. ^ The Cajuns by Shane K. Bernard
  21. ^ Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
  22. ^ "Houma, Louisiana" Archived 2017-02-28 at the Wayback Machine, Trip Advisor
  23. ^ Festival Archived 2017-02-25 at the Wayback Machine, Voice of the Wetlands website; accessed 25 February 2017
  24. ^ "The Skeleton Key (2005) : Filming Locations". IMDb.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  25. ^ "Some scenes from The Butler shot in Houma, Louisiana" Archived 2013-09-19 at the Wayback Machine, Daily Comet, 15 August 2013; accessed August 21, 2014.
  26. ^ "About the Courier" Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, The Courier online edition (September 30. 2004); retrieved October 19, 2007.
  27. ^ "Rushing Media buys T-PT, Gumbo Entertainment Guide | News". Houmatimes.com. 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  28. ^ "Houma-Terrebonne Airport & Industrial Park | Airport Description". Houma-airport.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  29. ^ "Public Transit". Tpcg.org. Archived from the original on 2016-05-08. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  30. ^ "Bus Schedule/Routes". Tpcg.org. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  31. ^ "Terrebonne parish establishes sister city with China". HoumaToday.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  32. ^ "Richie Cunningham profile". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Archived from the original on November 17, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  33. ^ "Skyler Green". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  34. ^ "Hal Haydel profile at". Baseball-Reference.Com. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  35. ^ "Frank Douglas Lewis". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Archived from the original on September 28, 2019. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  36. ^ "Jay Leslie Pennison". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  37. ^ "Watkins to Watrous". Politicalgraveyard.com. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  38. ^ "Tramon Williams". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  39. ^ "Monthly Averages for Houma, LA". weatherbase.com. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-29.


External links[edit]