Washington is a village in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 964 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Opelousas–Eunice Micropolitan Statistical Area. Washington was the largest inland port between New Orleans and St. Louis for much of the 19th century.
Town of Washington
Location of Washington in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Louisiana in the United States
|• Mayor||James Olivier (I)
|• Total||0.85 sq mi (2.20 km2)|
|• Land||0.83 sq mi (2.14 km2)|
|• Water||0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)|
|Elevation||46 ft (14 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,152.36/sq mi (444.68/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
Washington is located at (30.614428, -92.058363).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2), of which 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) is land and 1.15% is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 964 people residing in the town. The racial makeup of the town was 52.8% Black, 43.2% White, 0.4% Native American, 0.1% Asian and 1.7% from two or more races. 1.9% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
At the 2000 census, there were 1,082 people, 459 households and 289 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,256.8 per square mile (485.8/km²). There were 535 housing units at an average density of 621.4 per square mile (240.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 43.07% White, 56.28% African American, 0.37% from other races, and 0.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.
There were 459 households of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.2% were married couples living together, 25.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.05.
Age distribution was 29.1% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.3 males.
The median household income was $12,177, and the median family income was $17,727. Males had a median income of $36,250 versus $14,479 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,607. About 45.6% of families and 48.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 58.0% of those under age 18 and 38.4% of those age 65 or over.
During the American Civil War, the Thirteenth Connecticut, part of Union General Nathaniel P. Banks' forces, occupied Washington. The city was then larger than the parish seat of Opelousas. In The Civil War in Louisiana, historian John D. Winters described the city as "squalid and dirty . . . [with] filth, ugly buildings, and its large number of black inhabitants."
Winters wrote that Banks' men operated from the towns of Washington, Opelousas, New Iberia, and Alexandria in "gathering cotton, vegetables, molasses, rum, sugar, saddles, bridles, horses, mules, cattle, corn, and sweet potatoes. Negroes were mounted and assisted in driving in the cattle and horses found hidden in the woods and swamps. Between eight and ten thousand bales of cotton were collected. It was estimated that the . . . region was stripped of legitimate forage valued at more than ten million dollars. . . . "
After the war, there was extensive white resistance to the emancipation and enfranchisement of former slaves or freedmen. Some insurgents based in Opelousas formed the Seymour Knights, a unit of the Knights of the White Camellia. In the fall of 1868 before the election, white Democrats in Washington rejected African Americans who sought to join their political party, and the Seymour Knights physically drove the blacks out of the city.
A series of events followed in which blacks marched on Opelousas and 29 men were captured. All but two were executed without trial, and whites rampaged against blacks in the parish seat and surrounding area, killing an estimated 50 to 200-300 African Americans, in what is known as the Opelousas Massacre.
- Washington was the birthplace of Louisiana Governor Oramel H. Simpson, who served from 1926 until his defeat by the legendary Huey Pierce Long, Jr. in the 1928 Democratic gubernatorial primary.
- John Travis Nixon, newspaper publisher in Monroe and Crowley, formerly resided in Washington; his wife, Leona White Nixon, a prominent educator was a native of St. Landry Parish.
- Arthur T. Prescott, the founding president of Louisiana Tech University and a long-time administrator at Louisiana State University, was reared on a sugar plantation near Washington.
According to a 2007 report, Washington was named among the ten worst speed traps in the state of Louisiana. Washington made 50.84 percent of its revenue, an average of roughly $370 per capita population, from fines and forfeitures in the 2005 fiscal year. A motorist passing through for the Catfish Festival could be ticketed for going two miles over the speed limit.
In 2014, State Representative Alan Seabaugh targeted Washington as the most "notorious" speed trap in the state. He obtained approval of the House Transportation Committee to allow enforcement of traffic laws only if a community had incorporated at least one-half mile of land that extends to each side of an interstate highway, excluding overpasses and ramps. Seabaugh said that he receives many complaints from his constituents in Shreveport and even out-of-state residents who have been ticketed for speeding when exceeding the 75 m.p.h. limit only by a mile per hour or two.
- "Election Returns: St. Landry Parish". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
- Mayor Joseph Pitre is listed among the state and local officials who have endorsed the reelection in 2014 of Democrat U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
- "Landrieu's GOP Endorsements Pale In Comparison To 2008 Election". thehayride.com. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 2, 2017.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 233
- Winters, p. 237
- "Nixon, John Travis". Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, 1925), pp. 313-314
- "Washington, LA - Washington, Louisiana Map & Directions - MapQuest". www.mapquest.com. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
- "Mike Hasten, Bills aimed at 'speed trap' advance to Louisiana House". The Town Talk. Archived from the original on April 23, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2014.