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Ascension Parish, Louisiana
Map of Louisiana highlighting Ascension Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1807
Named for Ascension of Our Lord Church in Donaldsonville
Seat Donaldsonville
Largest city Gonzales
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

303 sq mi (784 km²)
292 sq mi (755 km²)
11 sq mi (29 km²), 3.75
 - (2010)
 - Density

263/sq mi (101/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Ascension Parish (French: Paroisse de l'Ascension) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is the fastest growing parish in the state. Its population is 107,215 which is 39.9% greater than the 2000 census. One of the major reasons for parish growth is the number of families wanting to move their children from the East Baton Rouge Parish public schools to the higher-performing Ascension public school system, which is the best school system in Louisiana.

Ascension Parish is part of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Baton Rouge–Pierre Part Combined Statistical Area.

During the American Civil War, desertions had been of major concern to the Confederacy. Henry Watkins Allen, before he was governor, reported more than eight thousand deserters and draft-dodgers about Bayou Teche. There were some 1,200 deserters in Livingston, St. Tammany, and Ascension parishes.[1] Planters in Ascension Parish later complained of raids by guerrillas. In 1864, planter W.R. Hodges requested soldiers to protect the planted fields from such attacks. Union soldiers were accused of "wandering about at will, and helping themselves . . . to whatever could be found," explains the historian John D. Winters in his The Civil War in Louisiana (1963).[2]

Law and government[edit | edit source]

Long a Democratic bastion, Ascension Parish has become fertile ground for Republicans as the indigenous traditionalism has grown less comfortable with the Democratic Party on a national scale and as immigration has brought in new residents who are politically conservative. Since 2000, nearly 14,000 new voters have registered in Ascension Parish, and fewer than 1,000 of those are official Democrats.

Democrats still lead in registrants with 28,181; Republicans follow with 16,218. There are also 13,052 "No Party" registrants, as permitted under Louisiana law. Robert Poche, Ascension Parish voter registrar told the Advocate (Baton Rouge) in 2007 that "History tells us that those with no party affiliation have been voting conservatively."

Ascension Parish also had a small number of voters registered as upper case Independents. As of April 2007 there were 31 Libertarian Party members and 33 Reform Party registrants. The total registrants in April 2007 stood at 58,221.[3]

Republican Eddie J. Lambert, an attorney in Gonzales who resides in Prairieville, has represented Ascension Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives since 2004 and is a candidate for reelection in 2011.[4]

Geography[edit | edit source]

The parish has a total area of 303 square miles (784.8 km2). 292 square miles (756.3 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28.5 km2) (3.75%) is water.

Major highways[edit | edit source]

Adjacent parishes[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Census Pop.
1810 2,219
1820 3,728 68.0%
1830 5,246 40.7%
1840 6,951 32.5%
1850 10,752 54.7%
1860 11,484 6.8%
1870 11,577 0.8%
1880 16,895 45.9%
1890 19,545 15.7%
1900 24,142 23.5%
1910 23,887 −1.1%
1920 22,155 −7.3%
1930 18,438 −16.8%
1940 21,215 15.1%
1950 22,387 5.5%
1960 27,927 24.7%
1970 37,086 32.8%
1980 50,068 35.0%
1990 58,214 16.3%
2000 76,627 31.6%
2010 106,215 38.6%
Ascension Parish Census Data[5]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 76,627 people, 26,691 households, and 20,792 families residing in the parish. The population density was 263 people per square mile (101/km²). There were 29,172 housing units at an average density of 100 per square mile (39/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 77.39% White, 20.28% Black or African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.99% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 2.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 94.46% of the population spoke only English at home, while 2.76% spoke French or Cajun French, and 2.41% spoke Spanish.[7]

There were 26,691 households out of which 42.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.10% were married couples living together, 13.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.10% were non-families. 18.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the parish the population was spread out with 30.10% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 32.60% from 25 to 44, 20.20% from 45 to 64, and 7.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.50 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $44,288, and the median income for a family was $50,626. Males had a median income of $41,109 versus $23,054 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $17,858. About 10.70% of families and 12.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.30% of those under age 18 and 15.40% of those age 65 or over.

Cities, towns, and villages[edit | edit source]

Map of Ascension Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Incorporated[edit | edit source]

Unincorporated[edit | edit source]

Waterways[edit | edit source]

  • Bayou Napoleon
  • Bayou Verret
  • Bayou Vicknair
  • Black Bayou
  • Blind River
  • Boudreau Bayou
  • Boyle Bayou
  • Braud Bayou
  • Cocodrie Bayou
  • Cotton Bayou
  • Crowley Ditch
  • Duckroost Bayou
  • Flat Lake
  • Grand Goudine Bayou
  • Hackett Canal
  • Heath Bayou
  • Henderson Bayou
  • Jim Bayou
  • Johnson Bayou
  • Lake Millet
  • Lake Villars
  • Laurel Ridge Canal
  • McCall Bayou
  • Mississippi River
  • Muddy Creek
  • New River
  • New River Canal
  • Old New River
  • Panama Canal
  • Pipeline Canal
  • Rocky Canal
  • Roddy Bayou
  • Saveiro Canal
  • Sides Bayou
  • Smith Bayou
  • Spanish Lake
  • Welsh Gully

Education[edit | edit source]

Ascension Parish School Board operates local public schools. The parish is also home to private schools.

National Guard[edit | edit source]

The 922nd Engineer Company (Horizontal), a unit of the 769th Engineer Battalion and the 225th Engineer Brigade.

Media[edit | edit source]

Two newspapers are based in Ascension Parish's two cities, Donaldsonville and Gonzales. The Gonzales Weekly Citizen is a bi-weekly newspaper formed after the merger of The Gonzales Weekly (founded 1920) and The Ascension Citizen (founded 1996). The Donaldsonville Chief, founded in 1871, is the parish's longest continually published newspaper.

KKAY 1590 AM is headquartered in Donaldsonville on historic Railroad Ave. KKAY 1590 AM and is a local radio station that airs programs from local ministers and churches and airs local high school softball and football.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 30°12′N 90°55′W / 30.20, -90.91 ]

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