Norco, Louisiana

Coordinates: 30°00′14″N 90°24′39″W / 30.00389°N 90.41083°W / 30.00389; -90.41083
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Norco is located in Louisiana
Location of Norco in Louisiana
Coordinates: 30°00′14″N 90°24′39″W / 30.00389°N 90.41083°W / 30.00389; -90.41083
CountryUnited States
ParishSt. Charles
 • Total4.04 sq mi (10.45 km2)
 • Land3.45 sq mi (8.93 km2)
 • Water0.59 sq mi (1.52 km2)
Elevation7 ft (2 m)
 • Total2,984
 • Density865.18/sq mi (334.04/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code985
FIPS code22-55525
GNIS feature ID2403339[2]

Norco is a census-designated place (CDP) in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 2,984 at the 2020 census.[4] The community is home to a major Shell/Valero manufacturing complex. The CDP's name is derived from the New Orleans Refining Company.


The community of Norco was once called "Sellers," after a wealthy family there. In 1911, the land was purchased by an agent for Shell Oil, and the New Orleans Refining Company (NORCO) was established. The community's name was officially changed from Sellers to Norco sometime after 1926.[5]


By the late 18th century, French and European colonial settlers had established numerous sugar cane plantations. They imported enslaved Africans as laborers. As sugar cane cultivation was highly labor-intensive, the slave population greatly outnumbered the ethnic Europeans in the colony, a circumstance that continued after the Louisiana Purchase by the United States in 1803.

On January 8, 1811, planters were alarmed by the German Coast Uprising led by Charles Deslondes, a free person of color from Haiti (formerly the French colony of Saint-Domingue). It was the largest slave uprising in US history, though it resulted in few white fatalities. Deslondes and his followers had been influenced by the ideas of the French and Haitian revolutions. In 1809–1810, French-speaking refugees from the Revolution immigrated by the thousands to New Orleans and Louisiana: white planters and their slaves, and free people of color, adding to the French Creole, African and free people of color populations.[6]

Deslondes led followers to the plantation of Col. Manuel André, where they had hoped to seize stored arms, but those had been moved. The band traveled downriver, gathering more slaves for the insurrection as they marched. They were armed simply with hand tools and accompanied their progress by drums. More than 200 men participated in the uprising; they killed two white men on their march toward New Orleans. The alarm was raised, and both militia and regular troops were called out by Gov. William C.C. Claiborne to put down the short-lived revolt. The white militia and troops killed 95 slaves in total, many immediately and others in executions after quick trials.[7]

Since 1995 members of the African American History Alliance of Louisiana have gathered annually at Norco in January to commemorate the events of the German Coast Uprising, when men of color reached for freedom decades before the American Civil War and emancipation. They have been joined by descendants of the insurgents.[8]

In 1942, a Catholic Church, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, was founded. [9]

In 2021, Hurricane Ida passed through the area, leaving the oil refineries/chemical plants spewing toxic chemicals through flaring.[10]


Norco is located at 30°0′14″N 90°24′39″W / 30.00389°N 90.41083°W / 30.00389; -90.41083 (30.003753, -90.410824).[11] The city is situated on the eastern edge of the large Bonnet Carré Spillway, which provides for an outlet from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain during flooding of the river.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2), of which 3.0 square miles (7.8 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (12.83%) is water.

There are two distinct neighborhoods in Norco, one of which is 'Diamond' that spans about four blocks and it is 100% African American and the other neighborhood in Norco is 98% white.[12]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1990[14] 2000[15] 2010[16] 2020[17]
Norco CDP, Louisiana – Racial and Ethnic Composition
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity Pop 1990[14] Pop 2000[15] Pop 2010[16] Pop 2020[17] % 1990 % 2000 % 2010 2020
White alone (NH) 2,686 2,762 2,713 2,431 79.35% 77.17% 88.26% 81.47%
Black or African American alone (NH) 629 686 210 221 18.58% 19.17% 6.83% 7.41%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 11 14 10 4 0.32% 0.39% 0.33% 0.13%
Asian alone (NH) 16 10 14 15 0.47% 0.28% 0.46% 0.50%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) x 0 2 0 x 0.00% 0.07% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 2 1 3 7 0.06% 0.03% 0.10% 0.23%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) x 34 29 128 x 0.95% 0.94% 4.29%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 41 72 93 178 1.21% 2.01% 3.03% 5.97%
Total 3,385 3,579 3,074 2,984 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 2,984 people, 1,201 households, and 750 families residing in the CDP.[18]


St. Charles Parish Public School System operates public schools, including:

Prior to 1969 Mary M. Bethune High School in Norco served area black students; that year it closed, with high school students moved to Destrehan High School.[20]

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The eponymous video game NORCO takes place in the alternative future Norco and the surrounding area.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Norco Census Designated Place". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  3. ^ "Norco LA ZIP Code". 2023. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  4. ^ "2020 Race and Population Totals". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  5. ^ [1] Steve Lerner, Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana's Chemical Corridor, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005, pp. 24, 228. ISBN 978-0-262-12273-3. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  6. ^ Adam Rothman, Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005, pp. 106-108
  7. ^ Adam Rothman, Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005, p. 111
  8. ^ James W. Lowen, Lies Across America: What Our History Sites Get Wrong, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007, p. 192
  9. ^ "Sacred Heart of Jesus Church Norci, Louisiana-History". Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  10. ^ "After Ida, Toxic Smoke From Shell's Norco Plant in Louisiana Creates Apocalyptic Landscape". August 31, 2021. Retrieved May 15, 2023.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  12. ^ na's chemical corridor Cambridge, Mass. ; MIT
  13. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decade". US Census Bureau.
  14. ^ a b "1990 Census of Population - General Population Characteristics - Louisiana" (PDF). United States Census Bureau.
  15. ^ a b "P004 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2000: DEC Summary File 1 – Norco CDP, Louisiana". United States Census Bureau.
  16. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Norco CDP, Louisiana". United States Census Bureau.
  17. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Norco CDP, Louisiana". United States Census Bureau.
  18. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  19. ^ "Destrehan High School" (Archive). AdvancED. p. 4. Retrieved on December 3, 2016. "The school pulls from the five communities which make up the East Bank of St. Charles Parish: Destrehan, Montz, New Sarpy, Norco, and St. Rose."
  20. ^ "About Our School." Destrehan High School. Retrieved on December 3, 2016.
  21. ^ "Mary Sparacello, St. Charles Parish-based 56th Louisiana House district draws trio of hopefuls, September 28, 2011". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  22. ^ Review by Emily Price (May 10, 2022). "Norco review: A Deep South dystopia about mundane, corporate evils". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  23. ^ "Norco is an unforgettable game about losing and finding religion". Polygon. April 14, 2022.

External links[edit]

  • Fenceline, PBS documentary about the oil industry in Norco, and how the community is divided over issues around it.