St. Francisville, Louisiana
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|Town of St. Francisville|
One of several former plantation houses near St. Francisville
|Elevation||115 ft (35.1 m)|
|Area||1.8 sq mi (4.7 km2)|
|- land||1.8 sq mi (5 km2)|
|- water||0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%|
|Density||936.6/sq mi (361.6/km2)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
St. Francisville is a town in and the parish seat of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,712 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The town of St. Francisville was established in 1809, and a number of historic structures from that period still exist. Called "the town two miles long and two yards wide" because it was developed atop a narrow ridge overlooking the Mississippi River, it was the commercial and cultural center of the surrounding plantation country. Below St. Francisville's bluffs, another early settlement called Bayou Sara had been established in the early 1790s, and was at one time the largest antebellum Mississippi River port between New Orleans and Memphis. Destroyed by repeated flooding and fires, nothing exists of Bayou Sara today, but a few of its structures were hauled up the hill into St. Francisville in the 1920s.
Years of contention as to exactly where the eastern boundary of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase was—depending on which treaty was cited; as France, Great Britain, and Spain shifted the territory amongst themselves during the second half of the 18th century—allowed Spain to continue to claim territory on the eastern side of the Mississippi River (after Britain ceded West Florida in 1783, at the end of the American Revolutionary War), which region is today called the Florida Parishes.
In 1810, St. Francisville served as the capital of the Republic of West Florida, when the local planters ousted the Spanish government and set up their own independent republic for 74 days, before being annexed to the Territory of Orleans, as a possession of the United States.
In June 1863, Confederate Army officer William Walter Leake arranged for the burial of Union Navy officer John E. Hart, who had died aboard his ship while taking part in the Union blockade of the Mississippi River; the event is re-enacted every June during a three-day commemoration called "The Day the War Stopped."
After the American Civil War, some Jewish emigrants fleeing religious persecution in Germany arrived and made important contributions to commerce in the lean years, providing credit when the banks failed and building impressive Victorian homes such as the Wolf-Schlessinger House, now the St. Francisville Inn Bed and Breakfast.
In recent years, community efforts have focused on restoration and preservation of the town's historic homes. St. Francisville is a popular tourist destination, with a number of restored historic plantations open daily for tours, including Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, Audubon State Historic Site, Butler Greenwood Plantation, The Myrtles, The Cottage Plantation, and Greenwood Plantation, as well as several antebellum gardens.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,712 people, 693 households, and 456 families residing in the town. The population density was 936.9 people per square mile (361.2/km²). There were 783 housing units at an average density of 428.5 per square mile (165.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 71.03% White, 27.22% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.93% of the population.
There were 693 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $42,262, and the median income for a family was $54,333. Males had a median income of $41,563 versus $25,083 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,639. About 5.8% of families and 8.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under the age of 18 and 12.4% of those 65 and older.
Government and infrastructure
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- Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps
- Chris Broadwater, current District 86 state representative, was born in St. Francisville in 1972.
- Herschel F. Harrington, artist and impressionist painter
- Billy Cannon, former L.S.U. football great and a dentist in St. Francisville
- Gil Dozier, former state commissioner of the Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry; practiced law in St. Francisville prior to 2011.
- Rod Dreher, author and journalist
- Cheston Folkes, state representative from West Feliciana Parish, 1908-1920, 1924-1932, and 1936-1940
- Warren Davis Folkes, member of both houses of the state legislator from West Feliciana Parish, 1944-1976; St. Francisville native and farmer
- Kenny Havard, current District 62 state representative from East and West Feliciana parishes and for part of East Baton Rouge Parish
- Samuel Lawrason, state senator who authored the Lawrason Act regarding municipal government; practiced law in St. Francisville from 1875 until his death.
- William Walter Leake, Confederate Army officer, state senator, circuit court judge
- Sam A. LeBlanc, III, lawyer and politician, retired to St. Francisville c. 2006
- Tom McVea, state representative, 1980-1984 and 2000-2012
- Christian Mixon, film and television actor reared near St. Francisville
- John Rarick, former state district judge and U.S. Representative; lived most of his adult life in St. Francisville.
- West Feliciana High School 
- West Feliciana Middle School
- 2nd Grade-5th Grade: Bains Elementary School
- Preschool-1st Grade: Bains Lower Elementary
Julius Freyhan High School, the first public school in St. Francisville, was named after Jewish businessman Julius Freyhan. After his 1904 death, Freyhan bequeathed $8,000 (about $213244.44 in today's currency) to have it built.) Freyhan High was built in 1907. The school was later rebuilt and renamed after him and it served the community until the early 1950s. As of 2013 it is being restored to serve as a community center and a museum.
The West Feliciana Parish Library is located in St. Francisville. In 1996 the library moved into its current facility, a former U.S. post office at 11865 Ferdinand Street. The library, previously a part of the Audubon Regional Library System, became independent in January 2004.
- Mayor Aquilla is listed among the state and local officials who have endorsed the reelection in 2014 of Democrat U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
- "Landrieu's GOP Endorsements Pale In Comparison To 2008 Election". thehayride.com. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Peña, Christopher (2008). The Day the War Stopped.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Saint Francisville." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on March 21, 2013.
- "Running for Office: Chris Broadwater, Louisiana House District 86". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- "Gilbert L. Dozier, Lawyer". legaldirectories.com. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- "Warren Davis Folkes". findagrave.com. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
- "Running for Office: Kenny Havard". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- "Rep. Thomas McVea (R)". congress.org. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- St. Francisville, Louisiana (Archive, Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities. Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life; retrieved February 21, 2013.
- St. Francisville Historic District. National Park Service; retrieved March 21, 2013.
- Directory, West Feliciana Parish Library; retrieved September 29, 2010.
- About Us, West Feliciana Parish Library; retrieved on September 29, 2010.
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