This project will document parishes, cities and towns throughout Louisiana along with the people and families for which they were named and that were instrumental in their inception. These settlements were influenced by French, Spanish, Irish, Germanic, Italian, African-American and Anglo-American ethnicities, each maintaining a cultural distinction.
Louisiana is divided into a number of cultural regions, each with a unique background, architecture and social style, yet all blending into an unverified whole that makes Louisiana a cultural amalgamation.
- Greater New Orleans boasts the greatest profusion of periods, styles and ethnic differences, yet it is almost invariably characterized as French. The parishes Included in the Greater New Orleans area are: Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard.
- German Coast which includes the parishes of: St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James. Its name derived from the large population of German pioneers who were settled there in 1721 by John Law and the Company of the Indies.
- Plantation Country or Louisiana's Florida Parishes have retained much of the character of the Eastern seaboard of the United States and reflects the Anglo-American tradition. The parishes included in the Plantation Country are: East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, and West Feliciana.
- The Crossroads located in the center of Louisiana, the Crossroads region is notorious for its rich culture. In essence this is the birthplace of Louisiana. Four years before New Orleans was founded, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis founded Natchitoches. It is the oldest settlement in Louisiana. The Crossroads include the following parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, La Salle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine and Vernon.
- North Louisiana's hill country boasts Scottish-Irish influences. North Louisiana includes the parishes of: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, De Soto, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Red River, Richland, Tensas, Union, Webster, West Carroll and Winn.
- Southwestern Louisiana also called Acadiana or Cajun Country, takes pride in heritage. The people of this area refer to themselves as Acadians or Cajuns. This includes the parishes of: Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Pointe Coupee, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion, and West Baton Rouge.
The U.S. state of Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes in the same way that 48 of the other states of the United States are divided into counties (Alaska is divided into boroughs and census areas).
Louisiana was formed from French and Spanish colonies, which were both officially Roman Catholic. Local government was based upon parishes, as the local ecclesiastical division (French: paroisse or Spanish: parroquia). Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Territorial Legislative Council divided the Territory of Orleans (the predecessor of Louisiana state) into twelve counties. The borders of these counties were poorly defined, but they roughly coincided with the colonial parishes, and hence used the same names.
On March 31, 1807, the territorial legislature divided the state into 19 parishes without abolishing the old counties (which continued to exist until 1845). In 1811, a constitutional convention was held to prepare for Louisiana's admission into the Union. This organized the state into seven judicial districts, each consisting of groups of parishes. In 1816, the first official map of the state used the term, as did the 1845 constitution. Since then, the official term for Louisiana's primary civil divisions has been parishes
- Acadia Parish - The name of the parish is derived from the former French colony of Acadia in Canada (which consisted of the modern provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and much of New Brunswick) many of whose French-speaking inhabitants were deported to Louisiana in the Great Upheaval of 1755. Established 1886. The parish was founded from parts of St. Landry Parish.
- Allen Parish - Named for former Confederate States Army general and Governor of Louisiana Henry Watkins Allen. It was separated in 1912 from the larger Calcasieu Parish to the southwest.
- Ascension Parish - Named for the Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. One of the original 19 parishes that were established in 1807.
- Assumption Parish - Named for the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, the oldest in the state. One of the original 19 parishes that were established in 1807.
- Avoyelles Parish - Named for the Avoyel Native American people that lived in this part of Louisiana. The Avoyel or Avoyelles was a small Natchez-speaking tribe who inhabited land near the mouth of the Red River in the area of present-day Marksville, Louisiana. The indigenous name for this tribe is Tamoucougoula. The word Avoyel is of French derivation and means either "Flint People" or "the people of the rocks." One of the original 19 parishes that were established in 1807.
- Beauregard Parish - The Parish was named after P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general and one of the designers of the Confederate Battle Flag. Beauregard Parish was formed on 1 January 1913 from part of Calcasieu Parish.
- Bienville Parish - Named after the founder of the city of New Orleans, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Established in 1848 from part of Claiborne Parish.
- Bossier Parish - Bossier Parish is named for Pierre Bossier, a 19th-century Louisiana state senator and U.S. representative from Natchitoches Parish. Established in 1843 from part of Claiborne Parish.
- Caddo Parish - Named for the Caddo Native American people. Established in 1838 from part of Natchitoches Parish.
- Calcasieu Parish - The name Calcasieu comes from the Atakapan word, "quelqueshue", meaning "crying eagle". It was originally the name of an Atakapa chief, but became the name given to what was formerly the Rio Hondo River (Rio Stondo or "Deep River"), now the Calcasieu River. The parish then inherited this name. Established in 1840 from part of St. Landry Parish. The Atakapa, also spelled Attakapa, Attakapas, Attacapa, called themselves the Ishaks, pronounced "ee-SHAKS", translated as "The People". They were a Southeastern culture of Native American tribes with a common language who lived along the Gulf of Mexico. They lived in rivers valleys, lake shores, and coasts from Galveston Bay, Texas to Vermilion Bay, Louisiana.
- Caldwell Parish - Named for the locally prominent Caldwell family. Established in 1838 from part of Catahoula Parish and Ouachita Parish.
- Cameron Parish - Cameron is named for Simon Cameron, a Pennsylvanian who was President Abraham Lincoln's first secretary of war. It was organized in 1870 from parts of Calcasieu and Vermilion Parishes.
- Catahoula Parish - Named from a Taensa word meaning big, clear lake. It was formed in 1808 from parts of Ouachita Parish and Rapides Parish. The Taensa were a people of northeastern Louisiana.
- Claiborne Parish - The parish is named for the first Louisiana governor, William C. C. Claiborne. It was formed in 1828 from part of Natchitoches Parish.
- Concordia Parish - Name is of uncertain origin and may be from an early land grant called New Concordia, from the "concord" reached by local authorities over a mutual surrender of slaves or for a mansion called Concord which was owned by Governor de Lemos. It is one of the 19 original parishes of 1807.
- De Soto Parish - The parish is named for Hernando de Soto, the Spaniard who explored the future southeastern United States and discovered and named the Mississippi River. It was formed in 1843 from part of Caddo Parish and Natchitoches Parish.
- East Baton Rouge Parish - French phrase bâton rouge meaning red stick. A red stick was used by local Native Americans to mark the boundaries between tribal territories. Carved out from part of the original West Florida territory in 1810.
- East Carroll Parish - Named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last surviving signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The parish was part of Carroll Parish which was founded in 1838 and was divided in 1877 into East Carroll Parish and West Carroll Parish.
- East Feliciana Parish - Named for Felicite de Gálvez, the wife of Bernardo de Gálvez, a Spanish governor of the Louisiana Territory. The parish was part of Feliciana Parish which was founded in 1810 and was divided in 1824 into East Feliciana Parish and West Feliciana Parish.
- Evangeline Parish - The parish was named Evangeline in honor of the Acadian people who lived further south; their history had been commemorated in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's narrative poem, Evangeline. Established in 1910 from part of St. Landry Parish.
- Franklin Parish - Named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Established in 1843 from parts of Carroll Parish, Catahoula Parish, Madison Parish and Ouachita Parish.
- Grant Parish - Named in honor of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant (born as Hiram Ulysses Grant). Established in 1869 from parts of Rapides Parish and Winn Parish.
- Iberia Parish - Name derives from Iberian Peninsula in consideration of the founding of this area by the Spaniards during the Colonial Era.. Established in 1868.
- Iberville Parish - Named in honor of Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. Established in 1805.
- Jackson Parish - Named din honor of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. Established in 1845.
- Jefferson Parish - Named in honor of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. Established in 1825.
- Jefferson Davis Parish - Named in honor of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Established in 1912.
- Lafayette Parish - Named in honor of Marquis de la Fayette. Established in 1823.
- Lafourche Parish - la fourche, French for the fork. It was used to describe how the Bayou Lafourche which flows almost centered through the entire parish and was once a descending fork of the Mississippi River Established in 1807.
- LaSalle Parish - Named in honor of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. Established in 1908.
- Lincoln Parish - Named in honor of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Established in 1873.
- Livingston Parish - Name in honor of U.S. Secretary of State Edward Livingston. Established in 1832.
- Madison Parish - Name in honor of U.S. President James Madison Jr. Established in 1838.
- Morehouse Parish - Named in honor of Abraham Morehouse, who led the first settlers into the region Established in 1844.
- Natchitoches Parish - Namde in honor of the Natchitoches Native American people that once lived in the area. Established in 1807.
- Orleans Parish - Named after the Duke of Orléans. Established in 1807.
- Ouachita Parish - Named in honor of the Ouachita Native American people that once lived in the area. Established in 1807.
- Plaquemines Parish - Plaquemines translates to persimmon; created from the Louisiana Creole French and the Mobile Native American language. Established in 1807.
- Pointe Coupee Parish - Pointe Coupee Parish was named for the bend in the Mississippi River. The French phrase la pointe coupée translates to the cut-off point in English. Established in 1807.
Natchitoches was established in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis. It is the oldest permanent settlement within the borders of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Natchitoches was founded as a French outpost on the Red River for trade with Spanish-controlled Mexico; French traders settled there as early as 1699. The post was established near a village of Natchitoches Indians, after whom the city and parish are named. After the United States' Louisiana Purchase of 1803, migration into the territory increased, and Natchitoches experienced a population boom. Several plantations were built along the Red River. However, the course of the river shifted, bypassing Natchitoches and cutting off its lucrative connection with the Mississippi River. A 33-mile (53 km) lake was left in the river's previous location.
Slidell was founded on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in 1882 and 1883 during construction of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad (N.O.N.E.). The N.O.N.E. line connected New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi. The town was named in honor of American politician and Confederate ambassador to France John Slidell, father in law of real estate developer Baron Frederic Emile d'Erlanger and officially chartered by the Louisiana State Legislature in 1888.