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West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana
Map of Louisiana highlighting West Feliciana Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the USA highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1824
Seat St. Francisville
Largest town St. Francisville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

426 sq mi (1,103 km²)
403 sq mi (1,044 km²)
23 sq mi (60 km²), 5.3%
 - (2015)
 - Density

39/sq mi (15/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Named for: Marie Felice de Gálvez
Louisiana State Penitentiary entrance

West Feliciana Parish (French: Paroisse de Feliciana Ouest) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,625. The parish seat is St. Francisville. The parish was established in 1824.

Feliciana Parish was one of two 19th-century Louisiana parishes to be divided into East and West, the other being Carroll Parish.

West Feliciana Parish is part of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The River Bend Nuclear Generating Station, operated by Entergy Nuclear, is located in West Feliciana Parish below St. Francisville. It produces approximately 10 percent of the total electric power demand in Louisiana.

The Louisiana State Penitentiary is also located in the Parish, in Angola.


Bayou Sacra Luisiana Henry Lewis
Bayou Sara seen from the Mississippi, late 1840s; St. Francisville on the rise in the background.

18th & 19th centuries

Following the founding of the Bayou Sara settlement by Franciscan/Capuchin monks in the late 17th century, the area was explored further by Spain, France, and Great Britain. The original settlement has been covered over by waters of the Mississippi River, which shifted course.

After 1763, when France was defeated by Britain in the Seven Years' War, it ceded this part of La Louisiane to Great Britain, which included it in its West Florida province. Spain gained control of the area in about 1780 – during the American Revolutionary War – and maintained its authority in the area for the next three decades.

In 1810, the colonists, many of whom were of British descent, rebelled against the colonial regime and established the short-lived independent Republic of West Florida. Within a few months, the United States declared the area to be part of the territory included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. (Today this region is called the Florida Parishes).

Feliciana Parish was established in 1810, in the Territory of Orleans, which was admitted to the Union two years later as the state of Louisiana. With continued growth of population, in 1824 Feliciana Parish was divided into the East Feliciana and West Feliciana parishes.

During the American Civil War, West Feliciana Parish provided financial assistance to the families of soldiers fighting for the Confederate States of America. Wives and children of soldiers were to receive from $10 to $40 per month, depending on family size.

West Feliciana & national politics

Since before the Civil War, West Feliciana had been historically Democratic in voter preference. But after passage of Federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s, many white conservatives in the South began to shift to the Republican Party, at least in terms of supporting Presidential candidates. In 1972, the year of Richard Nixon's re-election as President, West Feliciana was the only Louisiana parish to support the George McGovern and Sargent Shriver ticket. During the same period, most African Americans in the South began to support the national Democratic Party, which had helped their drive for civil rights.

Since 2000, white voters in the parish have supported the Republican Party candidates in Presidential elections. That year Bush-Cheney polled 2,512 votes (55 percent), compared to 2,187 (45 percent) for Democrats Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. West Feliciana voters helped to re-elect George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in 2004, with 2,932 (56 percent) to 2,214 (42 percent) over Democratic candidates John Kerry and John Edwards. Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin won the parish in 2008, but they lost the Presidential/Vice-Presidential contest to Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 426 square miles (1,100 km2), of which 403 square miles (1,040 km2) is land and 23 square miles (60 km2) (5.3%) is water.

The parish is located on the Mississippi River, and is bordered by Pointe Coupee Parish to the west and East Feliciana Parish to the east. The parish is about 30 miles (48 km) north of Baton Rouge and about 60 miles (97 km) south of Natchez, Mississippi.

The area—including references to the loess soil and Louisiana State Penitentiary—was used by Walker Percy as the setting for his last novel, The Thanatos Syndrome.

Major highways

  • US 61.svg U.S. Highway 61
  • Louisiana 10.svg Louisiana Highway 10
  • Louisiana 66.svg Louisiana Highway 66

Adjacent parishes and counties

National protected area

  • Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 12,732
1830 8,629 −32.2%
1840 10,910 26.4%
1850 13,245 21.4%
1860 11,671 −11.9%
1870 10,499 −10.0%
1880 12,809 22.0%
1890 15,062 17.6%
1900 15,994 6.2%
1910 13,449 −15.9%
1920 12,303 −8.5%
1930 10,924 −11.2%
1940 11,720 7.3%
1950 10,169 −13.2%
1960 12,395 21.9%
1970 11,376 −8.2%
1980 12,186 7.1%
1990 12,915 6.0%
2000 15,111 17.0%
2010 15,625 3.4%
Est. 2015 15,385 −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 15,625 people residing in the parish. 52.0% were White, 46.5% Black of African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Native American, 0.6% of some other race and 0.6% of two or more races. 1.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census of 2000, there were 15,111 people, 3,645 households, and 2,704 families residing in the parish. The population density was 37 people per square mile (14/km²). There were 4,485 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 48.63% White, 50.51% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. 1.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,645 households out of which 38.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.10% were married couples living together, 15.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.80% were non-families. 23.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the parish the population was spread out with 20.30% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 40.00% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 7.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 191.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 223.60 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $39,667, and the median income for a family was $47,239. Males had a median income of $35,046 versus $21,922 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $16,201. About 15.00% of families and 19.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.30% of those under age 18 and 23.40% of those age 65 or over.

In January 2007 the State of Louisiana estimated that 15,318 people lived in the parish, with 5,000 of them being prisoners at Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola).


Map of West Feliciana Parish Louisiana With Municipal Labels
Map of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels


Unincorporated communities

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