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City of Donaldsonville
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Ascension
Elevation 26 ft (7.9 m)
Coordinates 30°6′0″N 90°59′39″W / 30.1°N 90.99417°W / 30.1; -90.99417
Area 2.5 sq mi (6.5 km2)
 - land 2.5 sq mi (6 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 7,605 (2000)
Density 2,986.9 /sq mi (1,153.2 /km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 225
Location of Donaldsonville in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States

Donaldsonville (historically French: Lafourche-des-Chitimachas[1]) is a city in and the parish seat of Ascension Parish, Louisiana, United States,[2] along the west bank of the Mississippi River. The population was 7,605 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church in 1772.

Acadians began to settle in the area in 1758 and Spanish Isleños also settled here. In 1772 when the territory was under Spanish rule, the militia constructed La Iglesia de la Ascension de Nostro Senor Jesu Cristo da Lafourche de los Chetimaches (the Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church of Lafourche of the Chitimaches) to serve the area. The region returned later to French control and then was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 by the United States.[3][4]

Donaldsonville is named after landowner William Donaldson. In 1806 Donaldson commissioned architect and planner Barthélemy Lafon to plan a new town. This served briefly as the Louisiana capital (1830 - 1831) after New Orleans was deemed "too noisy".

Although Donaldsonville is a small town, it has many historic sites. Its museum, the River Road African American Museum, has been included on the state's African American Heritage Trail.[5] It also has parks, shopping centers, and Civil War grounds.

The official newspaper of the city is the Donaldsonville Chief, which has been published since 1871.[6].

Specific historical facts about Donaldsonville can be learned through the books of Sidney Marchand (historian, mayor, legislator, attorney). Mr. Marchand as a state Senator was a contemporary of Huey Long. It was during the mayoral administrations of Sidney Marchand, Sr. and Sidney Marchand, Jr. that significant infrastructure was constructed in Donaldsonville (including about 12 miles of paving, and the still-extant sewerage system).


State Capitol

The state capitol of Louisiana was moved from New Orleans in 1829 then to Donaldsonville in 1830, but was moved back to New Orleans in 1831.


Donaldsonville is the home of one of the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States.[7] The wooden building, now in use as an Ace Hardware store, was built in 1872 by Congregation Bikur Cholim, which disbanded in the 1940s.[8]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.6 km²), all of it land. Coming upriver on the Mississippi, Donaldsonville is the point of the first expanse of land beyond the narrow natural levee. The town sits approximately 25 feet above sea level, with excellent drainage.


As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 7,605 people, 2,656 households, and 1,946 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,986.9 people per square mile (1,151.5/km²). There were 2,948 housing units at an average density of 1,157.8/sq mi (446.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 29.82% White, 69.13% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 0.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.10% of the population.

There were 2,656 households out of which 39.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.4% were married couples living together, 30.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.7% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the city the population was spread out with 32.1% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 81.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,084, and the median income for a family was $29,408. Males had a median income of $31,849 versus $17,528 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,009. About 32.8% of families and 34.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.0% of those under age 18 and 22.2% of those age 65 or over.

Notable natives and residents


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Donaldsonville Historical Marker".  
  4. ^ "About Us"
  5. ^ Ron Stodghill, "Driving Back Into Louisiana’s History", NY Times, 26 May 2008, accessed 7 Jul 2008
  6. ^ Donaldsonville Chief
  7. ^ Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues, Mark W. Gordon, American Jewish History 84.1 (1996) 11-27 [1]
  8. ^
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  10. ^ Ron Stodghill, "Driving Back Into Louisiana’s History", The New York Times, 25 May 2008, accessed 7 Jul 2008]


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