St. James Parish, Louisiana

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St. James Parish
Parish of St. James
Oak Alley Plantation Mansion.
Official seal of St. James Parish
Map of Louisiana highlighting St. James Parish
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Map of the United States highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 30°02′N 90°48′W / 30.03°N 90.8°W / 30.03; -90.8
Country United States
State Louisiana
FoundedMarch 31, 1807
Named forSt. James
SeatConvent
Largest townLutcher
Area
 • Total258 sq mi (670 km2)
 • Land242 sq mi (630 km2)
 • Water16 sq mi (40 km2)  6.4%
Population
 • Total20,192
 • Density78/sq mi (30/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district2nd
Websitewww.stjamesla.com

St. James Parish (French: Paroisse de Saint-Jacques) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Convent.[1] The parish was created in 1807.[2] St. James Parish is a part of the New Orleans–Metairie, Louisiana metropolitan statistical area, sitting between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River. According to the 2020 United States census, the population was 20,192.[3]

It is perhaps best known for being located within Cancer Alley, and as the home base of Goldman Environmental Prize-winning environmental activist Sharon Lavigne.

History[edit]

St. James is one of the state's nineteen original parishes, created by act of the territorial legislature, March 31, 1807. The original seat of government was the community of St. James, on the west bank of the Mississippi, but this was moved in 1869 to what is now Convent, on the east bank.

St. James Parish is part of the Acadian Coast. While it is possible that some Acadians did arrive prior to 1755 or between 1755 and 1764, the first documented group of Acadians [4 families: 20 individuals] arrived in New Orleans in February 1764. The arrival was documented in a letter dated April 6, 1764, from Governor D'Abbadie to his superior in France. They were settled along the Mississippi River in present-day St. James.

St. James is known for its tradition, Bonfires on the Levee, which takes place every Christmas Eve. Residents build large bonfires along the River levee, lighting them all at nightfall. The townsfolk tell the children that the purpose of this tradition is so Papa Noel can easily see his way down the Mississippi as he is delivering gifts.

St. James is the only cultivation site in the world for Perique tobacco, introduced by an Acadian exile, Pierre Chenet, whose nickname was "Perique." It has been produced by his descendants for nearly two centuries (now covering only a 300-acre (1.2 km2) tract) and is in great demand by large tobacco companies.

Post office in Paulina, 1938

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 258 square miles (670 km2), of which 242 square miles (630 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (6.4%) is water.[4] It is the fourth-smallest parish in Louisiana by land area and second-smallest by total area.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent parishes[edit]

Communities[edit]

Map of St. James Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Towns[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other unincorporated community[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18205,660
18307,14626.3%
18408,54819.6%
185011,09829.8%
186011,4993.6%
187010,152−11.7%
188014,71444.9%
189015,7156.8%
190020,19728.5%
191023,00913.9%
192021,228−7.7%
193015,338−27.7%
194016,5968.2%
195015,334−7.6%
196018,36919.8%
197019,7337.4%
198021,4958.9%
199020,879−2.9%
200021,2161.6%
201022,1024.2%
202020,192−8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1790-1960[6] 1900-1990[7]
1990-2000[8] 2010-2013[9]
St. James Parish racial composition as of 2020[10]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 9,917 49.11%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 9,486 46.98%
Native American 28 0.14%
Asian 28 0.14%
Other/Mixed 390 1.93%
Hispanic or Latino 343 1.7%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 20,192 people, 7,719 households, and 5,732 families residing in the parish.[10] Its racial and ethnic makeup in 2020 was 49.11% non-Hispanic white, 46.98% Black and African American, 0.145 Native American, 0.14% Asian, 1.93% other or mixed race, and 1.7% Hispanic or Latin American of any race. In 2019, the racial and ethnic makeup was 48.2% non-Hispanic white, 49.6% Black and African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.4% two or more races, and 1.7% Hispanic or Latin American of any race.[11] At the 2010 census, the racial and ethnic composition of the parish was 50.6% Black or African American, 48.0% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.4% of some other race and 0.7% of two or more races. 1.2% were Hispanic or Latin American (of any race). An estimated 15.2% of the parish were of French ancestry at the 2019 census estimates. In 2000, 93.78% of the population spoke only English at home, while 4.97% spoke French or Cajun French .

There were 7,719 households and 8,919 housing units in 2019, and the median household income was $51,603; the median housing value was $158,500 and the median rent was $644.[12] From 2015 to 2019, the parish had a poverty rate of 17.0%. In 2000, the median income for a household in the parish was $35,277, and the median income for a family was $41,751. Males had a median income of $37,487 versus $21,712 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $14,381. 20.70% of the population and 18.00% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 27.70% are under the age of 18 and 15.10% are 65 or older.

Economy[edit]

Approximately 85% percent of reported air pollution in the parish is produced by industries located in primarily black census districts, Convent and Uncle Sam and the town of St James.[13] These include the Shell Convent Refinery, an Occidental Chemical Factory, American Styrenics, and Mosaic Fertilizer.[13]

Formosa Plastic Group plans to build a $9.4 billion petrochemical plant in the parish.[13] The plant's property includes a grave of enslaved people, and is being built on the site of a plantation.[13] The site has become a site of environmental justice protest for both the lack of addressing the historical relationship to the land and due to the expected rise in pollution due to the plant.[13]

Education[edit]

St. James Parish Public Schools serves all of St. James Parish.

Politics[edit]

The current parish president is Peter “Pete” Dufresne (D), who took office at the beginning of 2020. In 2016, his predecessor Timmy Roussel was indicted on corruption charges, when he was accused of having parish employees build a private natural gas line.[14]

St. James Parish is strongly Democratic, although in 2016 Donald Trump came within ten percent of carrying the parish, and Trump was within five percent vs. Joe Biden in 2020. The last Republican to win a majority of the parish's vote was Warren G. Harding in 1920, when Louisiana's Acadian population revolted against Woodrow Wilson because of his bitter disagreement with French President Georges Clemenceau.[15] Dwight D. Eisenhower won a 17-vote plurality in 1956, and Richard Nixon also won a plurality in his 2,900-plus-county 1972 landslide.

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[16]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 47.3% 5,954 51.7% 6,510 1.0% 126
2016 45.2% 5,456 53.1% 6,418 1.7% 211
2012 42.0% 5,209 57.0% 7,059 1.0% 127
2008 43.2% 5,432 55.7% 6,994 1.1% 138
2004 40.9% 4,545 57.7% 6,407 1.4% 156
2000 35.6% 3,813 60.9% 6,523 3.5% 369
1996 26.4% 2,832 67.5% 7,247 6.2% 664
1992 29.9% 3,339 59.1% 6,609 11.1% 1,238
1988 35.4% 3,799 62.6% 6,707 2.0% 213
1984 43.1% 4,627 55.8% 5,989 1.1% 119
1980 34.9% 3,429 63.2% 6,206 1.9% 189
1976 36.9% 2,751 60.7% 4,531 2.5% 184
1972 49.5% 3,112 41.9% 2,633 8.7% 546
1968 11.9% 778 45.7% 2,987 42.3% 2,765
1964 25.8% 1,467 74.2% 4,214
1960 11.7% 620 82.1% 4,362 6.3% 332
1956 49.2% 1,849 48.7% 1,832 2.1% 78
1952 38.5% 1,353 61.5% 2,165
1948 21.4% 453 40.6% 859 38.0% 805
1944 16.0% 265 84.0% 1,387
1940 25.7% 506 74.3% 1,463
1936 14.1% 259 85.9% 1,575
1932 12.3% 240 87.7% 1,715
1928 7.9% 128 92.1% 1,486
1924 31.0% 278 68.6% 615 0.3% 3
1920 60.9% 533 39.1% 342
1916 25.5% 185 71.5% 520 3.0% 22
1912 33.6% 228 54.1% 367 12.4% 84

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  2. ^ "St. James Parish, Louisiana". Archived from the original on December 15, 1996. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  3. ^ "QuickFacts: St. James Parish, Louisiana". U.S. Census Bureau.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  6. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  7. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  9. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  11. ^ "2019 Demographic and Housing Estimates". data.census.gov. Retrieved July 17, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Geography Profile: St. James Parish, Louisiana". data.census.gov. Retrieved July 17, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ a b c d e "The rise of environmental justice". Chemical & Engineering News. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  14. ^ McKnight, Laura; ‘St. James Parish president indicted on corruption charges: Louisiana Attorney-General’
  15. ^ Phillips, Kevin P.; The Emerging Republican Majority, p. 211 ISBN 978-0-691-16324-6
  16. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 6, 2018.

External links[edit]

Geology

Coordinates: 30°02′N 90°48′W / 30.03°N 90.80°W / 30.03; -90.80