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Gretna, Louisiana
City of Gretna
Gretna City Hall
Gretna City Hall
Location of Gretna in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Gretna in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Jefferson
Area
 • Total 4.50 sq mi (11.64 km2)
 • Land 4.04 sq mi (10.45 km2)
 • Water 0.46 sq mi (1.19 km2)
Elevation
0 ft (0 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 17,814
 • Rank JE: 2nd
 • Density 3,959/sq mi (1,530.4/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
70053, 70056
Area code(s) 504
FIPS code 22-31915

Gretna is the second-largest city in, and parish seat of, Jefferson Parish in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Gretna lies on the west bank of the Mississippi River, just east and across the river from uptown New Orleans. It is part of the New OrleansMetairieKenner metropolitan statistical area. The population was 17,814 at the 2020 U.S. census.

Geography

Gretna is located at 29°54′59″N 90°3′15″W / 29.91639°N 90.05417°W / 29.91639; -90.05417 (29.916459, -90.054260) and has an elevation of 0 feet (0 m) behind the levee along the Mississippi River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10 km2), of which 3.5 sq mi (9.1 km2) is land and 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2) (9.33%) is water.

History

Gretna was settled in 1836, originally as Mechanicsham, growing with a station on the Mississippi River for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, Texas and Pacific Railway, and Southern Pacific Railroad, with a ferry across the River to New Orleans. The famous spice-maker Zatarain's was founded here in 1889. Gretna was incorporated in 1913, absorbing the section of McDonogh within the Jefferson Parish boundaries. In the 1940 census, Gretna had a population of 10,879.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 717
1880 2,396
1890 3,332 39.1%
1920 7,197
1930 9,584 33.2%
1940 10,879 13.5%
1950 13,813 27.0%
1960 21,967 59.0%
1970 24,875 13.2%
1980 20,615 −17.1%
1990 17,208 −16.5%
2000 17,423 1.2%
2010 17,736 1.8%
2020 17,814 0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

The U.S. Census Bureau tabulated Gretna had a population of 17,814 at the 2020 United States census. The 2019 American Community Survey determined there were 7,156 households and 3,954 families residing in the city limits. In 2010, there were 17,734 people, 6,958 households, and 4,286 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,685 people per square mile (1,922.0/km2). There were 7,665 housing units at an average density of 2,082 per square mile (845.6/km2).

In 2019, the racial and ethnic makeup of the city was 44.9% non-Hispanic White, 35.5% Black and African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.9% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 0.2% some other race, 1.3% two or more races, and 16% Hispanic and Latin American of any race. In 2010, the racial makeup of the city was 48.05% White, 20.43% African American, 1.20% Native American, 8.12% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 4.03% from other races, and 2.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latin Americans of any race were 24.38% of the population.

As of 2010, there were 6,958 households, out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.7% were married couples living together, 19.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.4% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 23.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years, higher than Louisiana's median age of 34.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.3 males.

As of 2019, the median household income in Gretna was $47,244. Males had a median income of $44,902 versus $31,992 for females. Approximately 17.8% of the population lived at or below the poverty line. In 2010, the median income for a household in the city was $28,065, and the median income for a family was $31,881. Males had a median income of $28,259 versus $21,019 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,735. About 20.8% of families and 24.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.7% of those under age 18 and 20.2% of those age 65 or over.

Culture

  • In his book "On the Road", author Jack Kerouac mentions Gretna.
  • Portions of the movie "A Love Song for Bobby Long" were filmed in Gretna.
  • Portions of "Monster's Ball" were filmed in Gretna.

Education

Primary and secondary schools

Gretna's public schools are operated by the Jefferson Parish Public Schools system.

Schools serving portions of the city limits are in the City of Gretna unless otherwise noted. Zoned elementary schools serving sections of Gretna include Shirley T. Johnson Gretna Park Elementary School, William Hart Elementary School, and McDonogh #26 Elementary School. George Cox Elementary School, which also serves a portion of Gretna, is in Timberlane, an unincorporated area of Jefferson Parish.

Most residents are zoned to Gretna Middle School, while some are zoned to Livaudais Middle School in Terrytown. Most residents are zoned to West Jefferson High School in Harvey, an unincorporated area of Jefferson Parish, while some are zoned to Helen Cox High School, also located in Harvey. For advanced studies, residents are zoned to the Gretna Academy.

Gretna #2 Academy for Advanced Studies, a Pre-K to 5th grade magnet school, and L. W. Ruppel Academy, a Pre-K to 8th grade French immersion magnet school, are located in Gretna. Thomas Jefferson High School is another magnet school in Gretna.

Previously Kate Middleton Elementary in Terrytown served a portion of Gretna. In 2012 Kate Middleton Elementary closed.

Milestone Sabis Academy, a K-8 charter school, is in Gretna.

Public libraries

Jefferson Parish Library operates the Gretna Public Library in Gretna. The current facility, with more than 5,800 square feet (540 m2) of space, opened on March 17, 2010. The library includes a 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) meeting room that can accommodate 58 people. The library is almost twice the size of the previous 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) facility.

GretnaPoliceStation
Gretna Police Department

Notable people

  • Bianca Del Rio (born Roy Haylock, 1975), is an American actor, drag queen, insult comedian, costume designer, and reality-show personality in RuPaul's Drag Race
  • Joseph Bouie, Jr. (born 1946), member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 97 in Orleans Parish since 2014; former resident of Gretna
  • Joseph Cao (b. 1967), attorney and U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district, 2009-2011
  • Joe Clay (1938-2016), rockabilly musician
  • Kiem Do, former captain and Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) in the Republic of Vietnam Navy
  • Olaf Fink (1914-1973), educator and state senator for Orleans Parish from 1956 to 1972, is interred at Westlawn Memorial Park and Mausoleum in Gretna.
  • Frankie Ford (1939-2015), rock and roll performer
  • John Fourcade (b. 1960), former New Orleans Saints quarterback was born in Gretna.
  • Emmett Hardy (1903-1925), early jazz great
  • Frederick Jacob Reagan Heebe (1922-2014), United States district court judge
  • Girod Jackson, III, former state representative for Jefferson Parish and former Gretna resident
  • Eddie Lacy, running back for the Seattle Seahawks
  • Lash LaRue (1917-1996), Western film actor
  • John McDonogh (1799-1850), entrepreneur and philanthropist, established McDonoghville section of Gretna.
  • Greg Monroe, NBA player
  • Mel Ott (1909–1958), baseball hall of famer
  • Stanley Joseph Ott (1927-1992), Roman Catholic bishop
  • Elfrid Payton, Canadian Football League defensive lineman
  • Elfrid Payton, Jr., professional basketball player
  • James St. Raymond, businessman and former state representative in Orleans Parish; former resident of Gretna
  • Ike Taylor, Retired defensive back who played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Scott Williams, bassist for sludge metal band Soilent Green, died in 2004 in Gretna.
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