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St. James Parish, Louisiana facts for kids

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St. James Parish
Parish of St. James
Oak Alley Plantation Mansion.
Official seal of St. James Parish
Map of Louisiana highlighting St. James Parish
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Map of the United States highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 610: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Founded March 31, 1807
Named for St. James
Seat Convent
Largest town Lutcher
 • Total 258 sq mi (670 km2)
 • Land 242 sq mi (630 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (40 km2)  6.4%
 • Total 20,192
 • Density 78.26/sq mi (30.22/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 2nd

St. James Parish (French: Paroisse de Saint-Jacques) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Convent. The parish was created in 1807. St. James Parish is a part of the New Orleans–Metairie, Louisiana metropolitan statistical area, sitting between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River. According to the 2020 United States census, the population was 20,192.

It is perhaps best-known for being located within Cancer Alley, and as the home base of Goldman Environmental Prize-winning environmental activist Sharon Lavigne.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 5,660
1830 7,146 26.3%
1840 8,548 19.6%
1850 11,098 29.8%
1860 11,499 3.6%
1870 10,152 −11.7%
1880 14,714 44.9%
1890 15,715 6.8%
1900 20,197 28.5%
1910 23,009 13.9%
1920 21,228 −7.7%
1930 15,338 −27.7%
1940 16,596 8.2%
1950 15,334 −7.6%
1960 18,369 19.8%
1970 19,733 7.4%
1980 21,495 8.9%
1990 20,879 −2.9%
2000 21,216 1.6%
2010 22,102 4.2%
2020 20,192 −8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 21,308 people living in the parish in 2019, down from 22,102 at the 2010 United States census, yet up from 21,216 at the 2000 census. At the 2020 census, there were 20,192 people in the parish.

In 2019, the racial and ethnic makeup was 48.2% non-Hispanic white, 49.6% Black and African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.4% two or more races, and 1.7% Hispanic or Latin American of any race. At the 2010 census, the racial and ethnic composition of the parish was 50.6% Black or African American, 48.0% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.4% of some other race and 0.7% of two or more races. 1.2% were Hispanic or Latin American (of any race). An estimated 15.2% of the parish were of French ancestry at the 2019 census estimates. In 2000, 93.78% of the population spoke only English at home, while 4.97% spoke French or Cajun French .

There were 7,719 households and 8,919 housing units in 2019, and the median household income was $51,603; the median housing value was $158,500 and the median rent was $644. From 2015 to 2019, the parish had a poverty rate of 17.0%. In 2000, the median income for a household in the parish was $35,277, and the median income for a family was $41,751. Males had a median income of $37,487 versus $21,712 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $14,381. 20.70% of the population and 18.00% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 27.70% are under the age of 18 and 15.10% are 65 or older.


Approximately 85% percent of reported air pollution in the parish is produced by industries located in primarily black census districts, Convent and Uncle Sam and the town of St James. These include the Shell Convent Refinery, an Occidental Chemical Factory, American Styrenics, and Mosaic Fertilizer.

Formosa Plastic Group plans to build a $9.4 billion petrochemical plant in the parish. The plant's property includes a grave of enslaved people, and is being built on the site of a plantation. The site has become a site of environmental justice protest for both the lack of addressing the historical relationship to the land and due to the expected rise in pollution due to the plant.


St. James Parish Public Schools serves all of St. James Parish.

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