Jefferson Davis Parish
|Founded||January 1, 1913|
|Named for||Jefferson Davis|
|• Total||659 sq mi (1,710 km2)|
|• Land||651 sq mi (1,690 km2)|
|• Water||7.2 sq mi (19 km2) 1.1%|
|• Density||49/sq mi (19/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Jefferson Davis Parish (French: Paroisse de Jefferson Davis) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2020 census, the population was 32,250. The parish seat is Jennings. Jefferson Davis Parish is named after the president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis. It is located in southwestern Louisiana and forms a part of the Acadiana region.
In 2005, the parish was damaged significantly by Hurricane Rita, which caused much wind damage and flooding in the western part of the parish. The storm also caused Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge to be affected by saltwater intrusion.
Jefferson Davis Parish was one of the last parishes to be organized in the state of Louisiana. It was originally a part of Imperial Calcasieu Parish, which contributed to five other parishes as the population increased in the area. The bill creating Jefferson Davis Parish was passed by the state legislature in 1912 but did not take effect until 1913. Jefferson Davis Parish is part of the large, 22-county Acadiana region of Louisiana, which is influenced by a large Francophone population. It was named after Jefferson Davis, a prominent planter and the President of the Confederate States of America.
The first oil in Louisiana was drilled in 1901 in Evangeline, Acadia Parish, by W. Scott Heywood, who in 1932 was elected to the Louisiana State Senate. The oil field was known as the Jennings Oil Field because Jennings was the nearest railroad stop to the oil field.
Jefferson Davis Parish comprises five incorporated towns including Elton, Fenton, Jennings, Lake Arthur, and Welsh. There are also many unincorporated areas that add to the interest and economic structure of the parish including Barnsdall, Buller, China, Coverdale, Edna, Fontenot, Foreman's Hall, Hathaway, Illinois Plant, Lacassine, Lauderdale, Panchoville, Pine Island, Raymond, Roanoke, Silverwood, Thornwell, Topsy, Verret, and Woodlawn. Interstate 10 runs east and west through the center of the parish, providing access to local markets. Additionally, the Union Pacific Railroad is centrally located within the parish and the Mermentau River, which connects to the Intracoastal Waterway and has a channel depth of nine feet, provides access to the Port of Mermentau. The Jennings Airport, with a runway length of 5,000 feet (1,500 m), is capable of landing a small jet and is located next to Interstate 10. Jefferson Davis Parish also attracts sportsmen to the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge.
- Allen Parish (north)
- Evangeline Parish (northeast)
- Acadia Parish (east)
- Vermilion Parish (southeast)
- Cameron Parish (south)
- Calcasieu Parish (west)
- Beauregard Parish (northwest)
- Jennings, (3R7)
|Elevation AMSL||23 ft / 7 m|
- Jennings (parish seat and largest municipality)
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||5,130||15.91%|
|Hispanic or Latino||734||2.28%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 32,250 people, 11,726 households, and 8,149 families residing in the parish.
Jefferson Davis Parish Public Schools operates the schools in the parish.
- Elton Elementary School (Grades PK-5) (Elton)
- Elton High School (Grades 6–12) (Elton)
- Fenton Elementary School (Grades PK-8) (Fenton)
- Hathaway High School (Grades K-12) (Jennings)
- Jennings Elementary School (Grades 3–6) (Jennings)
- Jennings High School (Grades 7–12) (Jennings)
- Lacassine High School (Grades K-12) (Lacassine)
- Lake Arthur Elementary School (Grades PK-6) (Lake Arthur)
- Lake Arthur High School (Grades 7–12) (Lake Arthur)
- James Ward Elementary School (Grades PK-2) (Jennings)
- Welsh Elementary School (Grades PK-5) (Welsh)
- Welsh High School (Grades 8–12) (Welsh)
- Welsh-Roanoke Jr. High School (Grades 6–8) (Roanoke)
Jeff Davis Parish is served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette which has one school in the parish:
- Our Lady Immaculate (Grades PK-8) (Jennings)
Jeff Davis Parish is served by one institution of higher education:
- It is in the service area of Sowela Technical Community College. The Morgan Smith campus is located in Jennings.
- A.C. Clemons (1921-1992), former Louisiana state senator from 1960 to 1972
- Al Woods (born 1987), current American football player for the New York Jets of the NFL
- Thomas A. "Tom" Greene (born 1948), former Louisiana state senator from 1992 to 2000
- Travis Etienne (born 1999), current American football player for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL
- Cleve Francis (born 1945), country music singer, songwriter, and cardiologist
- Monte Ledbetter (1943-2020), former American football player in the NFL
- Eugene John Hebert (1923-1990), priest and Jesuit missionary who famously disappeared in Sri Lanka in 1990 during the Sri Lankan civil war
- Canray Fontenot (1922-1995), American Creole musician
- Charles Mann (born 1944), singer and swamp pop performer and member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame
- Jack Doland (1928-1991), former head football coach, athletic director, and president of McNeese State University and Louisiana state senator
- Chancy Croft (born 1937), former Democratic politician from Alaska
- Avalon Daggett (1907-2002), filmmaker and philanthropist
- June James (1962-1990), former American football player in the NFL and CFL
- Pat Rapp (born 1967), former professional baseball player
- Guy Sockrider (1921-2011), former Louisiana state senator
- Donald Ellsworth Walter (born 1936), former United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
- Phillip Walker (1937-2010), musician
- Troy Romero, current Louisiana State Representative from the 37th district
All elected public officials for Jefferson Davis Parish can be found at the Louisiana Secretary of State's website at the following link. (https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/electedofficials)
- Jeff Davis 8 string of unsolved murders
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana
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- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org.
- Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff's Office
- Jefferson Davis Parish Economic Development & Tourist Commission
- Heinrich, P. V., J. Snead, and R. P. McCulloh, 2002, Lake Charles 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangle. Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- Heinrich, P. V., J. Snead, and R. P. McCulloh, 2003, Crowley 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangle. Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.