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Tensas Parish, Louisiana
Map of Louisiana highlighting Tensas Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Seat St. Joseph
Largest city Newellton
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

641 sq mi (1,661 km²)
602 sq mi (1,560 km²)
39 sq mi (100 km²), 6.04%
Population
 - (2000)
 - Density

6,618
11/sq mi (4/km²)
Founded 1843
Named for Tensas or Taensa Native Americans
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Tensas Parish Courthouse in St. Joseph, Louisiana


Tensas Parish (French: Paroisse des Tensas) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The seat of the parish is St. Joseph. In 2000, the population of the parish was 6,618; it is the least-populous parish in Louisiana.

Contents

History

The name Tensas is derived from the Taensa people.

Near Newellton is the Winter Quarters Plantation restoration, where Union General Ulysses S. Grant and his men spent the winter of 1862-63, prior to launching the assault in July 1863 against Vicksburg, Mississippi, to the northeast of Tensas Parish.

St. Joseph numbered no more than 720 residents (and Tensas Parish, 19,070) at the turn of the 20th century, most having been engaged in cotton growing and related river work.

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Racial issues

Prior to January 1964, when fifteen blacks were permitted to register, there were no African American voters on the Tensas Parish rolls. Tensas was hence the last of Louisiana's sixty-four parishes to register any blacks as voters.

In 1962, the parish, with only whites registered, gave the Republican Taylor W. O'Hearn 48.2 percent of the vote in a race for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Russell B. Long. Tensas Parish also voted for Republican presidential nominee Barry M. Goldwater in 1964, when few blacks were yet registered.

After the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, large numbers of Tensas Parish blacks were able to register to vote. These new black voters were staunchly Democratic. Since then, the parish has been a Democratic stronghold. However, some white Democrats have continued to win some public offices in the parish, including Sheriff Rickey A. Jones and several school board members.

Tensas Academy in St. Joseph opened in 1970.

Tensas Parish was desegregated at one time in the fall of 1970. However, the schools remain de facto segregated by parental decisions. The majority of white students attend the private Tensas Academy in St. Joseph[citation needed]. Nearly all African American students attend the public schools, whereas few whites are registered[citation needed]. Enrollment in the public system, now based in St. Joseph, has been declining in recent years. Former high schools and elementary schools in Newellton and Waterproof have closed because of decreased enrollments. Tensas Parish High School in St. Joseph is the latest consolidation of the former Davidson High School of St. Joseph as well as Newellton and Waterproof high schools.

Partisan politics

Tensas Parish is an historical stronghold of the Democratic Party. In 2007, however, the Republican Party gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Representative Bobby Jindal, polled a plurality (40 percent) in Tensas Parish. The parish also gave a plurality (48 percent) to Secretary of State Jay Dardenne. Both Jindal and Dardenne were easy statewide winners in the jungle primary held on October 20. A GOP candidate even won a seat on the Tensas Parish Police Jury, the parish governing body, with the victory of Emmett L. Adams, Jr., in District 1 over fellow Republican Patrick Glass. Adams prevailed, 207-179, a 54-46 percent margin.

In 2004, the Democratic ticket of John F. Kerry and John Edwards carried Tensas Parish by only sixteen votes. The tabulation was 1,460 for Kerry-Edwards and 1,453 for President George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore, won Tensas Parish by 250 votes. The Democratic electors polled 1,580 votes that year to 1,330 for the Bush-Cheney ticket.

In the 2004 U.S. Senate primary election, Tensas Parish gave a plurality to the Republican candidate, Congressman David Vitter of St. Tammany Parish. Vitter polled 1,145 votes (41 percent) compared to 881 ballots (32 percent) for his chief Democratic rival, Congressman Christopher John of Crowley, the seat of Acadia Parish. There was no general election to determine if Vitter would have surpassed 50 percent plus one vote to obtain an outright majority in this traditionally Democratic parish. [1]

Prior to 1968, each parish regardless of population had at least one member in the Louisiana House of Representatives. The last member to represent only Tensas Parish was Democrat S. S. DeWitt (1914-1998) of Newellton and later St. Joseph. DeWitt won the legislative post in 1964 by unseating 20-year incumbent J.C. Seaman of Waterproof. He lost the seat in the 1971 primary to Lantz Womack of Winnsboro in Franklin Parish.

Population decline

Tensas Parish is considered the fastest declining parish in the state. No other parish has lost such a large percent of its population as has Tensas. Every year families, mostly white, leave the parish, seeking a more convenient life near more urbanized areas. The exodus throws the parish even further behind economically.

Between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, Tensas Parish lost 173 residents, or 2.9 percent of its population. Police Jury Vice President Jane Merriett Netterville (born ca. 1956) of St. Joseph expressed surprise at the latest exodus figures considering that some had moved there after Hurrican Katrina. "Maybe the loss was the people who died. We have a large elderly population," she told the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Netterville explained that younger people leave Tensas Parish because of the scarcity of higher-paying jobs.[1]

Tensas Parish has one principal cemetery, Legion Memorial, north of Newellton. Tall manicured cedar trees surround the graves.

Legion Memorial Cemetery north of Newellton serves all of Tensas Parish.

Geography

The parish has a total area of 641 square miles (1,661 km²), of which, 602 square miles (1,560 km²) of it is land and 39 square miles (100 km²) of it (6.04%) is water.

St. Joseph is located adjacent to the Mississippi River levee system.

There are three communities in the parish: Newellton, St. Joseph, and Waterproof. Newellton was founded by the planter and attorney John David Stokes Newell, Sr., who named it for his father Edward D. Newell, a North Carolina native. All three communities are linked by Highway 65, which passes just to the west of each town. The developed Lake Bruin State Park lies near St. Joseph. Lake Bruin is an oxbow lake created by the meandering of the Mississippi River.

Major highways

Adjacent parishes and counties

National protected area

Demographics

Census Pop.  %±
1900 19,070
1910 17,060 −10.5%
1920 12,085 −29.2%
1930 15,096 24.9%
1940 15,940 5.6%
1950 13,209 −17.1%
1960 11,796 −10.7%
1970 9,732 −17.5%
1980 8,525 −12.4%
1990 7,103 −16.7%
2000 6,618 −6.8%
Est. 2006 6,138 [2] −7.3%
Tensas Parish Census Data[3]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 6,618 people, 2,416 households, and 1,635 families residing in the parish. The population density was 11 people per square mile (4/km²). There were 3,359 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 43.43% White, 55.38% Black or African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.29% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 1.25% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,416 households out of which 30.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.10% were married couples living together, 20.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 29.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the parish the population was spread out with 26.50% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 25.10% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $19,799, and the median income for a family was $25,739. Males had a median income of $26,636 versus $16,781 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $12,622. About 30.00% of families and 36.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.20% of those under age 18 and 29.60% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns

Map of Tensas Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Education

Public schools in Tensas Parish are operated by the Tensas Parish School Board.

Notable natives and residents

See also

Media

Tensas Parish is served by a weekly newspaper, the Tensas Gazette, circulated Wednesdays throughout the parish.

References

External links

Gallery

Coordinates: 32°00′N 91°20′W / 32.00°N 91.33°W / 32.00; -91.33


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

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Tensas Parish, Louisiana
Map
File:Map of Louisiana highlighting Tensas Parish.png
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the USA highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the USA
Statistics
Founded 1843
Seat St. Joseph
Largest City Newellton
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

 sq mikm²)
 sq mi ( km²)
 sq mi ( km²), 6.04%
wikipedia:Population
 - (2000)
 - Density

6618
Time zone Central : UTC-6/-5
Named for: Tensas or Taensa Native Americans

Tensas Parish (French: Paroisse des Tensas) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The name Tensas is derived from the Taensa people. The seat of the parish is St. Joseph. In 2000, the population of the parish was 6,618. It is the least-populous parish of Louisiana. St. Joseph is located adjacent to the Mississippi River levee system.

There are three communities in the parish: Newellton, St. Joseph, and Waterproof. Newellton was founded by the planter and attorney John David Stokes Newell, Sr., who named it for his father Edward D. Newell, a North Carolina native. All three communities are linked by Highway 65, which passes just to the west of each town. The developed Lake Bruin State Park lies near St. Joseph. Lake Bruin is an oxbow lake created by the meandering of the Mississippi River.

Tensas Parish is served by a weekly newspaper, the Tensas Gazette, circulated Wednesdays throughout the parish.

Contents

Racial issues

Prior to January 1964, when fifteen blacks were permitted to register, there were no black voters at all on the Tensas Parish rolls. Tensas was hence the last of Louisiana's sixty-four parishes to register any blacks as voters.

In 1962, the parish, with only whites registered, gave the Republican Taylor W. O'Hearn a 48.2 percent of the vote in a race for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Russell B. Long. Tensas Parish also voted for Republican presidential nominee Barry M. Goldwater in 1964, when few blacks were yet registered.

After the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, large numbers of Tensas Parish blacks were able to register to vote. These new black voters were staunchly Democratic. Since then, the parish has been a Democratic stronghold. However, some white Democrats have continued to win some public offices in the parish, including sheriff Rickey A. Jones and several school board members.

Tensas Parish was desegregated at one time in the fall of 1970. However, the schools remain de facto segregated by parental decisions. The majority of white students attend the private Tensas Academy in St. Joseph. Nearly all African American students attend the public schools, whereas few whites are registered. Enrollment in the public system, now based in St. Joseph, has been declining in recent years. Former high schools and elementary schools in Newellton and Waterproof have closed because of declining enrollments. Tensas Parish High School in St. Joseph is the latest consolidation of the former Davidson High School of St. Joseph as well as Newellton and Waterproof high schools.

Tensas Parish politics

Tensas Parish is an historical stronghold of the Democratic Party. In 2007, however, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Representative Bobby Jindal, polled a plurality (40 percent) in Tensas Parish. The parish also gave a plurality (48 percent) to Secretary of State Jay Dardenne. Both Jindal and Dardenne were easy statewide winners in the jungle primary held on October 20. A GOP candidate even won a seat on the Tensas Parish Police Jury, the parish governing body, with the victory of Emmett L. Adams, Jr., in District 1 over fellow Republican Patrick Glass. Adams prevailed, 207-179, a 54-46 percent margin.

District Attorney Buddy Caldwell of Tallulah, whose Sixth Judicial District includes Tensas Parish, is the Democratic choice for state attorney general in the November 17, 2007, general election.

In 2004, the Democratic ticket of John F. Kerry and John Edwards carried Tensas Parish by only sixteen votes. The tabulation was 1,460 for Kerry-Edwards and 1,453 for President George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney. In 2000, Democrat Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., won Tensas Parish by 250 votes. The Democratic electors polled 1,580 votes that year to 1,330 for the Bush-Cheney ticket.

In the 2004 U.S. Senate primary election, Tensas Parish gave a plurality to the Republican candidate, Congressman David Vitter of St. Tammany Parish. Vitter polled 1,145 votes (41 percent) compared to 881 ballots (32 percent) for his chief Democratic rival, Congressman Christopher John of Crowley, the seat of Acadia Parish. There was no general election to determine if Vitter would have surpassed 50 percent plus one vote to obtain an outright majority in this traditionally Democratic parish. [1]

Tensas Parish in 1900

St. Joseph numbered no more than 720 residents (and Tensas Parish, 19,070) at the turn of the twentieth century, most having been engaged in cotton growing and related river work. The pages of the Tensas Gazette between 1890 and 1914 often read like notes from a church social and still do to a great extent. Almost everybody in St. Joseph's white society seemed to know everybody else, from the mayor to the sheriff to society belles to the druggist, and the bailiff at the parish jail, a kindly old "colored" man, as African Americans were then called, named "Collins."

Members of the Tullis family were frequently mentioned in the newspaper, including the Gazette's then publisher and editor Hugh Tullis, a lawyer who would go on to become a state judge. This was the same Tullis family that had slaves on its St. Joseph plantation and who remained prominent social and political leaders in the parish for many years after the Thirteenth Amendment ended chattel slavery. It was the same Tullis family whose matriarch, Sarah Tullis, had educated at least one slave in defiance of Louisiana law.

Garner H. Tullis, a son of Hugh Tullis and the former Nellie Watson, was born in St. Joseph in 1893. He became a prominent businessman and civic leader in New Orleans. He first formed his own brokerage firm, Tullis, Craig & Bright and then became a partner of E.F. Hutton and Company. He was also a nationally known yachtsman who won the St. Petersburg, to Havana, races in 1930, 1932, and 1948.

The old Tensas Gazette was filled with events and scenes from the lives of white people in the Delta region before and after 1900. The people who toiled to support their way of life, the slaves and freedmen, were a mere faceless backdrop to the stories. Entire columns in the Gazette were given over to quaint descriptions of the most arcane happenings of small town life. http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9239/9239.ch01.html

Population decline

Tensas Parish is considered the fastest declining parish in the state. No other parish has lost such a large percent of its population as has Tensas. Every year families, mostly white, leave the parish, seeking a more convenient life near more urbanized areas. The exodus throws the parish even further behind economically and socially.

Geography

The parish has a total area of 1,661 km² (641 sq mi). 1,560 km² (602 sq mi) of it is land and 100 km² (39 sq mi) of it (6.04%) is water.

Major Highways

Adjacent parishes and counties

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there were 6,618 people, 2,416 households, and 1,635 families residing in the parish. The population density was 4/km² (11/sq mi). There were 3,359 housing units at an average density of 2/km² (6/sq mi). The racial makeup of the parish was 43.43% White, 55.38% Black or African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.29% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 1.25% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,416 households out of which 30.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.10% were married couples living together, 20.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 29.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the parish the population was spread out with 26.50% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 25.10% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $19,799, and the median income for a family was $25,739. Males had a median income of $26,636 versus $16,781 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $12,622. About 30.00% of families and 36.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.20% of those under age 18 and 29.60% of those age 65 or over.

Tensas Parish notables

Near Newellton is the Winter Quarters Plantation restoration, where Union General Ulysses S. Grant and his men spent the winter of 1862-1863, prior to launching the assault in July 1863 against Vicksburg, to the northeast of Tensas Parish.

World War II Major General Claire Chennault of the "Flying Tigers," though born in Commerce, was reared in Waterproof in southern Tensas Parish. He is also claimed by neighboring Ferriday in Concordia Parish as a local notable.

The late Governor James Albert Noe, Sr., once owned farm property in Tensas Parish. He was in the communications and oil businesses as well.

Newellton is the birthplace of a prominent African American economist and business leader, Andrew Brimmer, the first black appointed (by President Lyndon B. Johnson) to the Federal Reserve Board in Washington

St. Joseph was the birthplace of Jack Keahey (1935-2007), the longtime member and president of the Tensas Basin Levee Board. Keahey, who owned a crop dusting business in Columbia, the seat of Caldwell Parish, was also a former president of the Caldwell Parish School Board.

Cities and towns

Map of Tensas Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

References

Coordinates: 32°00′N 91°20′W / 32.00, -91.33


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Tensas Parish, Louisiana. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
Facts about Tensas Parish, LouisianaRDF feed
County names Tensas Parish, Louisiana  +
County of country United States  +
County of subdivision1 Louisiana  +
Short name Tensas Parish  +

This article uses material from the "Tensas Parish, Louisiana" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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