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
Houma is located in the US
Location of Houma in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
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
Parish Terrebonne
Founded 1834; 184 years ago (1834)
Incorporated 1848; 170 years ago (1848)
Reincorporated 1898; 120 years ago (1898)
County seat Terrebonne
Principal city Houma–Bayou CaneThibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area
Region Acadiana
South Louisiana
 • Type Government
 • Body Consolidated City-Parish
 • Parish President Gordon Dove
 • City 14.56 sq mi (37.72 km2)
 • Land 14.43 sq mi (37.36 km2)
 • Water 0.14 sq mi (0.36 km2)
Population (2010)
 • City 33,727
 • Estimate (2016)[2] 34,024
 • Density 2,358.52/sq mi (910.63/km2)
 • Metro 208,178
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 70360, 70363-64
Area code 985
Future Interstate I-49 (Future).svg
U.S. Highways US 90.svg
Airport Houma–Terrebonne Airport
Rivers Bayou Terrebonne Intracoastal Waterway
Website www.tpcg.org

Houma (/ˈhmə/ HOH-mə)[3] is the largest city in and the parish seat of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana,[4] and 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. 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, although it has not achieved federal recognition.[6]

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


Houma was founded by European Americans in 1834 at a former settlement of the Houma people, who historically occupied this area. The city was named after them. The city was incorporated in 1848.[citation needed] The United Houma Nation and two other Houma tribes have been recognized by the state. Houma is also rated as a medium size city.

The area was developed for plantations in the antebellum years, which were worked primarily by enslaved African Americans.

Since the late 19th century, the area has become more industrialized and developed for trade.

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, where they began a wholesale arrest of residents. In his 1963 book, the historian John D. Winters describes the 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."[8]


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)[9] and has an elevation of 10 feet (3.0 m).[10] BY SQ

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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 429
1870 593 38.2%
1880 1,084 82.8%
1890 1,280 18.1%
1900 3,212 150.9%
1910 5,024 56.4%
1920 5,160 2.7%
1930 6,531 26.6%
1940 9,052 38.6%
1950 11,505 27.1%
1960 22,561 96.1%
1970 30,922 37.1%
1980 32,602 5.4%
1990 30,495 −6.5%
2000 32,393 6.2%
2010 33,727 4.1%
Est. 2016 34,024 [2] 0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
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,[12] 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.[citation needed] Ellender Memorial High School and Vandebilt Catholic High School are also in Houma.

Southdown High School (originally Houma Colored High School) had black students from 1946 to 1969.[13]


Houma and the surrounding communities are steeped in the French and Cajun history of the region. Originally the region was settled by French and Spanish colonists who made their way south through Bayou Lafourche, and then later it was settled by Acadians (Cajuns). The Acadians had been expelled from Nova Scotia for their unwillingness to show reverence to the King and to abandon Catholicism for the Church of England. The number expelled was about 15,000 in number of which 3,000 settled in the region. As the French, Spanish, and Native American tribes began to mix, a unique Cajun culture was born.

The swampland around Houma was isolated from the rest of the United States well into the 1930s, thus outside influences such as radio and WWI patriotism failed to inspire the Cajuns to become more "Americanized". So the culture in this region persevered much longer than in cities on the border of Cajun country like Lake Charles or Baton Rouge. Such rich culture in Houma includes the French language, Cajun cuisine, and festivals such as Mardi Gras. That culture remains evident today and is the source of much tourism.[14]

In the 1970s many South Vietnamese came over to 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. They are still seen at the docks shrimping as their families have for several decades.[15]

Downtown Houma has been listed as a significant historic district 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.[16]

Although Houma is quickly changing, many residents in the surrounding communities continue to make their living as their ancestors did. They are shrimpers, oystermen, crabbers, fishermen, and trappers, although more are beginning to work in occupations of the oil industry and ship building. As reported by records held by the United States Government Patent and Trademark Office, Houma, Louisiana was the site of the deepest oil well in Terrebonne Parish (name of sections in the State of Louisiana, often characterized in the name as "counties" in other States within the United States of America. At that time the United States Postal Service was delivering the mail at a one cent rate. Many long-standing traditions and lifestyles remain as part of the area's rich cultural history. Houma is also the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.[citation needed]

Tab Benoit's Voice of the Wetlands Music Festival, established in 2005, takes place in Houma, annually in October.[17]

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.[20]

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.[21]

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]


Houma is served by Houma-Terrebonne Airport, located 3 miles southeast of the central business district.[22]

Good Earth Transit is Houma's parish bus system.[23] It has 5 major routes and services the surrounding suburban areas including the small, surrounding bayou communities and the city of Thibodaux.[24]

Houma relies mainly on its roads as its main form of transportation. The major roads in Houma are:

  • US Route 90
  • LA HWY 311
  • Tunnel Blvd. (LA 3040)
  • LA 24 (Locally Called West Park Ave.(Westbound) and Main St.(Eastbound))
  • LA 182 (New Orleans Blvd.)
  • South and North Hollywood Rd.
  • St. Louis Canal Rd.
  • Savanne Rd.
  • Valhi Blvd.

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: [34]


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 2, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  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. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  8. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963; ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, pp. 150-151
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ Dishman, Jaime Lugibihl (2005-06-26). "Students of former Southdown High School gather for remembrance". Houma Today. Retrieved 2016-12-04. 
  14. ^ The Cajuns by Shane K. Bernard
  15. ^ Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
  16. ^ https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g40223-Activities-Houma_Louisiana.html
  17. ^ Festival at voiceofthewetlands.org, accessed 25 February 2017
  18. ^ "The Skeleton Key (2005) : Filming Locations". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  19. ^ "Some scenes from The Butler shot in Houma, Louisiana", Daily Comet, 15 August 2013; accessed August 21, 2014.
  20. ^ "About the Courier", The Courier online edition (September 30. 2004); retrieved October 19, 2007.
  21. ^ "Rushing Media buys T-PT, Gumbo Entertainment Guide | News". Houmatimes.com. 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  22. ^ "Houma-Terrebonne Airport & Industrial Park | Airport Description". Houma-airport.com. Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  23. ^ "Public Transit". Tpcg.org. Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  24. ^ "Bus Schedule/Routes". Tpcg.org. Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  25. ^ "Terrebonne parish establishes sister city with China". HoumaToday.com. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  26. ^ "Richie Cunningham profile". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Skyler Green". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Hal Haydel profile at". Baseball-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Frank Douglas Lewis". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Jay Leslie Pennison". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Lloyd Pitts". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  32. ^ "Watkins to Watrous". Politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Tramon Williams". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Monthly Averages for Houma, LA". weatherbase.com. Retrieved 2017-11-29. 


External links[edit]