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Charenton, Louisiana
Charenton, Louisiana is located in Louisiana
Charenton, Louisiana
Charenton, Louisiana
Location in Louisiana
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish St. Mary
 • Total 5.22 sq mi (13.51 km2)
 • Land 4.97 sq mi (12.86 km2)
 • Water 0.25 sq mi (0.65 km2)
13 ft (4 m)
 • Total 1,699
 • Density 342.06/sq mi (132.07/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s) 337
FIPS code 22-14310

Charenton (historically French: Lieu-des-Chetimachas) is a census-designated place (CDP) in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,903 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Morgan City Micropolitan Statistical Area. According to legend, the community received its name from one of the earliest settlers of the region, Alexandre Frere. Frere, a native of Paris, reportedly exclaimed on his deathbed that "anyone choosing to move to that part of Louisiana belonged in Charenton!" Charenton was the name of a notorious insane asylum outside of Paris.


Charenton is home to the only remaining community of Chitimacha Indians. In 1855, the Chitimacha were seriously reduced by yellow fever that struck the region. By 1881, the eastern band had disappeared, leaving the remaining Chitimacha on Grand Lake, located near Charenton. The census of 1900 listed only six families of Chitimacha, with a total of 55 people. Of them, only three were full-blooded Chitimacha. During this period, the Chitimacha's land base had continued to decline as reservation land was divided again and again among members unable to pay the annual taxes. As a result, the land was sold. A court divided the last 505 acres (2.04 km2) of the reservation in 1903, but attorney's fees claimed 280 acres (1.1 km2) of it two years later. Answering a plea from the Chitimacha women, Miss Sarah Avery McIlhenney purchased the land at a sheriff's sale in 1915 and immediately ceded it to the federal government who in turn placed the land in trust for the tribe. Federal recognition followed in 1917, and the Chitimacha became the only tribe in Louisiana to achieve such status. This new recognition and the land held in trust could not have come at a better time. World War I and the pressure it placed on oil companies led to exploration in the region and purchase of land there.

With their land secure, many Chitimacha found employment in the new Louisiana oil fields as drillers and foremen. Following the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934, the Chitimacha created a new tribal organization. Unfortunately, their small enrollment and success in finding work outside their reservation led to an attempt by the government to terminate their federal status in 1952. This move was ultimately defeated, and the Chitimacha, growing in number and organization, put into effect a constitution and bylaws in 1971 that remain in effect today.

The Chitimacha operate a museum, fish processing plant and school on the reservation. In addition, what began as a bingo operation grew into a lucrative casino that operates on the tribe's land in Charenton. Revenue from the Cypress Bayou casino has provided the Chitimacha with funds used to recover land historically part of the reservation. Consequently, land that had dwindled to just 260 acres (1.1 km2) has now swelled to over a thousand acres (4 km²). The Chitimacha are an important part of Charenton's history as well as a major part of the current community.


Charenton is located at 29°53′01.47″N 91°31′37.78″W / 29.8837417°N 91.5271611°W / 29.8837417; -91.5271611 (29.88436373442272,-91.5274459771368).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 5.2 square miles (13.5 km2), of which 5.0 square miles (12.9 km2) is land and 0.23 square miles (0.6 km2), or 4.79%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2020 1,699
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Charenton racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 787 46.32%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 388 22.84%
Native American 416 24.48%
Asian 3 0.18%
Other/Mixed 70 4.12%
Hispanic or Latino 35 2.06%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,699 people, 665 households, and 414 families residing in the CDP.


The Chitimacha Tribal School, a K-8 school, is affiliated with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). It is in Charenton.

In 1937 a two classroom public school building condemned by the St. Mary Parish School Board was moved to Charenton, and began serving the community as a 1-8 school; the student population went over 60. In 1968 the kindergarten was established. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) built a new school, which began operations in 1978, to replace the former facility. It had 38 in the 1978-1979 school year, but this went down to 29 in 1980-1981 and 22 in 1981-1982. In 1982 it got a funding cut due to Reaganomics, which led to fears that the school could close.

St. Mary Parish School Board operates local public schools.

Notable residents

Notable natives of Charenton

  • Dr. Emmanuel Paul Bercegeay, Founding Professor and Head of School of Petroleum Engineering at University of Louisiana, Lafayette (1950s-1970's) President of UL University College 1980's
  • Leslie Bercegeay, Head of the Aeronautical Engineering Department, NARF, MCAS Cherry Point, NC (brother of Dr. Emmanuel Paul Bercegeay)
  • Anne Bercegeay Caffery Iberia Parish Elected Representative to the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee 2000-2008

wife of United States Representative Patrick Thomson Caffery of St. Mary and Iberia Parish.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Charenton (Luisiana) para niños

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