|Parish of Lafourche|
Lafourche Parish Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
|Named for||la fourche, French for the fork|
|o Total||1,474 sq mi (3,820 km2)|
|o Land||1,068 sq mi (2,770 km2)|
|o Water||406 sq mi (1,050 km2) 28%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||65/sq mi (25/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Congressional districts||1st, 6th|
Lafourche Parish (French: Paroisse de la Fourche) is a parish located in the south of the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 96,318. The parish seat is Thibodaux. The parish was formed in 1807. It was originally the northern part of Lafourche Interior Parish, which consisted of the present parishes of Lafourche and Terrebonne. Lafourche Parish was named after the Bayou Lafourche. The city buildings have also been featured in television and movies, such as in Fletch Lives, due to its architecture and rich history.
Long a center of sugar cane plantations and sugar production, in November 1887 the parish was the site of the Thibodaux Massacre. After state militia were used to suppress a massive Knights of Labor strike involving 10,000 workers in four parishes, many African Americans retreated to Thibodaux. Local paramilitary forces attacked the men and their families, killing an estimated 50 persons, and hundreds more were missing, wounded, and presumed dead in one of the deadliest incidents of labor suppression and racial terrorism.
South Louisiana became known as Sugarland, and Lafourche one of the sugar parishes, where sugar cane plantations were established before and after the Civil War. They required the labor of large numbers of enslaved African Americans. In the postbellum era, they comprised from 50 to 80 percent of the population in most of the sugar parishes.
Particularly after Reconstruction, whites in the parish used violence and intimidation against the large population of freedmen to suppress Republican voting and re-establish white supremacy, but were less successful than in North Louisiana until after disenfranchisement of blacks at the turn of the century. From 1877 through the early 20th century, there were 52 lynchings of African Americans in Lafourche Parish. Most of the deaths were due to white suppression of labor unrest in 1887; blacks were skilled sugar workers and had begun to organize for better wages and conditions. Some 10,000 workers had struck in Lafourche and three other parishes during the critical harvest period. At the request of the planters, the state sent in militia against the workers to break the strike.
In what was called the Thibodaux Massacre of November 22, 1887, local whites organized by leaders of the town killed up to 50 blacks who had taken refuge in the African-American quarters after a major Knights of Labor strike was called on sugar plantations. Hundreds more were wounded or missing.
The total deaths in this parish due to this racial terrorism were the highest of any parish in the state and nearly twice as high as some others among the six parishes with the highest totals. In general, most of the lynching and racial terrorism took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 1,474 square miles (3,820 km2), of which 1,068 square miles (2,770 km2) is land and 406 square miles (1,050 km2) (28%) is water. To the south of the parish is the Gulf of Mexico.
As of the census of 2000, there were 89,974 people, 32,057 households, and 24,299 families residing in the parish. The latest estimates are at 90,255. The population density was 83 people per square mile (32/km2). There were 35,045 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km2). The racial makeup of the parish was 82.85% White, 12.61% Black or African American, 2.30% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.58% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. 1.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.12% reported speaking French or Cajun French at home, while 1.51% speak Spanish.
There were 32,057 households, out of which 37.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.10% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.20% were non-families. 19.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the parish the population was spread out, with 27.30% under the age of 18, 10.50% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.30 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $34,910, and the median income for a family was $40,504. Males had a median income of $34,600 versus $19,484 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $15,809. About 13.20% of families and 16.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.90% of those under age 18 and 18.30% of those age 65 or over.