St. Martin Parish, Louisiana

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Saint Martin Parish, Louisiana
St. Martin Parish Courthouse, St. Martinville, Louisiana.jpg
St. Martin Parish Courthouse, St. Martinville
Map of Louisiana highlighting Saint Martin Parish
Location in the U.S. state of Louisiana
Map of the United States highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1807
Named for St. Martin
Seat St. Martinville
Largest city Breaux Bridge
 • Total 816 sq mi (2,113 km2)
 • Land 738 sq mi (1,911 km2)
 • Water 79 sq mi (205 km2), 9.7%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 53,835
 • Density 71/sq mi (27/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

St. Martin Parish (French: Paroisse de Saint-Martin) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 52,160.[1] The parish seat is St. Martinville.[2] The parish was founded in 1811.

St. Martin Parish is part of the Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area. 27% of the population of St. Martin Parish have French fluency, rated as one of the highest concentrations of French speakers in the nation.


In 1811, the division of Attakapas Parish created St. Martin Parish and St. Mary Parish. In 1824, St. Martin Parish was divided, resulting in the creation of Lafayette Parish. In 1844, St. Martin Parish was again divided, creating Vermilion Parish. In 1868, Iberia Parish was formed from parts of St. Martin Parish and St. Mary Parish, literally dividing St. Martin Parish in two, as part of Iberia Parish runs between the two non-contiguous parts of St. Martin Parish.

St. Martin Parish was largely colonized by people from France and Acadia in the 1700s, accounting for the large concentration of French-speaking population today. The Acadians brought with them the tale of Evangeline, a young woman who was separated from her supposedly-mortally-wounded betrothed during the Expulsion of the Acadians. According to the tale, Evangeline later met her betrothed in St. Martin Parish, but he had moved on to a new love and she never recovered from the shock of both finding him and losing him again. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's most famous work, Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie, was based on this story. Evangeline was and remains an icon of Acadian and American culture. The historical Evangeline, who is believed by some to have been an orphan girl named Emmeline Labiche, is supposed to have been buried on the grounds of the St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in St. Martinville.[3]

St. Martin was a very prosperous parish, growing rapidly in the early 1800s. Most of the money at that time was being made by raising cattle. Other profitable crops were cotton, sugar, corn, rice and tobacco. These were sold to the New Orleans market. Wealthy planters utilized slave labor on their plantations, and by 1860, there were over 7,000 slaves in the parish.

A yellow fever epidemic in 1855, followed by a deadly fire and a destructive hurricane, ended an era of unbridled prosperity. These events, combined with the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction took a heavy toll on the parish. However, the people proved resilient, and in short order became prosperous again. Corn, cotton, and sugar cane ruled once more, and trees from the swamps were profitably sold.


The parish is split into two non-contiguous parts, because of a surveying error dating to 1868, when Iberia Parish was created by the Louisiana Legislature. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 816 square miles (2,110 km2), of which 738 square miles (1,910 km2) is land and 79 square miles (200 km2) (9.7%) is water.[4] Iberia Parish divides St. Martin Parish into two separate areas, Upper and Lower St. Martin. St. Martin Parish is in the Atchafalaya Basin, with Bayou Teche running through it. The Bayou was used to ship products to New Orleans.

St. Martin Parish has a wealth of oak and magnolia trees.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent parishes[edit]

Protected areas[edit]

The parish has both national and state protected areas within its borders.

National protected area[edit]

State protected areas[edit]

Part of the Attakapas Wildlife Management Area is located within St. Martin Parish as well as in St. Mary and Iberia Parishes.[5]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 7,205
1840 8,674 20.4%
1850 11,761 35.6%
1860 12,674 7.8%
1870 9,370 −26.1%
1880 12,663 35.1%
1890 14,884 17.5%
1900 18,940 27.3%
1910 23,070 21.8%
1920 21,990 −4.7%
1930 21,767 −1.0%
1940 26,394 21.3%
1950 26,353 −0.2%
1960 29,063 10.3%
1970 32,453 11.7%
1980 40,214 23.9%
1990 43,978 9.4%
2000 48,583 10.5%
2010 52,160 7.4%
Est. 2015 53,835 [6] 3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 48,583 people, 17,164 households, and 12,975 families residing in the parish. The population density was 66 people per square mile (25/km²). There were 20,245 housing units at an average density of 27 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 65.95% White, 31.98% Black or African American, 0.92% Asian, 0.29% Native American, 0.20% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 0.83% of the population. The 2000 census counted 44,915 people in the parish who are at least five years old of whom 31,229 (69.5%) speak only English at home, 27.44% reported speaking French (Colonial French also known as Plantation Society French ) or Cajun French at home, while 1.52% speak Louisiana Creole French.[12] St. Martin has the highest percentage of French-speaking residents of any county or parish in the United States.

There were 17,164 households out of which 39.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.60% were married couples living together, 15.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.40% were non-families. 20.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the parish the population was spread out with 29.50% under the age of 18, 9.60% from 18 to 24, 29.60% from 25 to 44, 21.20% from 45 to 64, and 10.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $30,701, and the median income for a family was $36,316. Males had a median income of $30,701 versus $18,365 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $13,619. About 18.40% of families and 21.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.70% of those under age 18 and 22.10% of those age 65 or over.


Public schools in St. Martin Parish are operated by the St. Martin Parish School Board.


Map of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels




Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable people[edit]


There are several historically significant locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places that includes Acadian House (St. Martinville, Louisiana), St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, and the D. W. Voorhies House.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ Attakapas WMA- Retrieved 2017-02-19
  6. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 30°08′N 91°37′W / 30.13°N 91.61°W / 30.13; -91.61