River Parishes

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River Parishes
Main building at "Laura" Creole plantation, in Vacherie, St. James, 2002 photograph

The River Parishes are those parishes in Louisiana between New Orleans and Baton Rouge that span both banks of the Mississippi River, and are officially part of the rather large Acadiana region. Traditionally they are considered to be St. Charles Parish, St. James Parish, and St. John the Baptist Parish. These parishes also made up an historical area once referred to as the German Coast of Louisiana.

Two of the River Parishes, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist, are also part of the New Orleans metropolitan area, based on the U.S. Census Bureau definition. The third River Parish, St. James, together with Ascension Parish, was known historically as the Acadian Coast. Ascension Parish, sometimes included as part of the River Parishes sub-region, is home to the River Parishes Community College, chartered in 1997.

The area contains a large number of architecturally-significant historic plantation homes.

The three traditional parishes have a combined land area of 1,939.04 km² (748.67 sq mi). They have a total 2000 census population of 112,332 inhabitants. If Ascension Parish is included, the total land area is 2,694.10 km² (1,040.198 sq mi) and the census population is 188,959.

Its four largest communities are all unincorporated census-designated places: LaPlace, Luling, Destrehan, and Reserve. Its two largest incorporated cities are actually located in Ascension Parish, which may not be considered by some to be within the community: Gonzales and Donaldsonville. Another sizable community within the traditional parishes is St. Rose, also unincorporated. Still smaller in population, however, are the largest incorporated towns in the three-parish area: Lutcher and Gramercy. The largest of all communities in this region is LaPlace in St. John the Baptist Parish.

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