St. Mary Parish Data
St. Mary Parish Neighbors
Welcome to St. Mary Parish!
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About St. Mary Parish...
A territorial act dated April 17, 1811 divides the county of Attakapas into two parishes: The parish of St. Martin and the parish of St. Mary - The parish of St. Martin shall contain all that part of the country north, or above a line running east from the upper line of the plantation of Francisco Boutte, on the Bayou Teche, to the great lake, and west from the said Francisco Boutte to the mouth of the petite Anse on the Bay; and the parish of St. Mary shall contain all the remainder of the county, that is to say, all that is south or below the said line. The parish seat is Franklin, named for Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin was founded in 1808 as Carlin's Settlement, and became the parish seat in 1811. The town was incorporated in 1820. Though early settlers included French, Acadian, German, Danish and Irish, the town's culture and architecture is heavily influenced by the unusually large numbers of English that chose to settle there after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Numerous large sugar plantations arose in the area, and with the development of steamboating, Franklin became an interior sugar port. Franklin and their neighbor Morgan City have had a lasting healthy rivalry between each other. Franklin has a rivalry football game called 'Fire on the Bayou.' Every year its either held in Baldwin or Franklin. Franklin's First United Methodist Church was established in 1806, making it the first Protestant church established in the state of Louisiana.
Cajun History - The French province of Acadia (today's Nova Scotia and surrounding regions) was settled in the 1600s by French colonists, but the area became a British possession soon afterwards. In 1755, as war neared between France and England, the British authorities demanded that the Acadians renounce their Roman Catholic faith and swear allegiance to the Crown. The Acadians refused and the mass exile that followed is well known to all who have read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Evangeline".
The migration of the French Acadians to Louisiana was neither smooth nor immediate. Many were shipped to the New England colonies, others to the West Indies or back to France, and many wandered for 20 years before learning that they were welcome in the predominantly French territory of Louisiana. Here they established small farms along the Mississippi River, Bayou Teche, Bayou Lafourche and other streams in the southern part of the region. Fishing and trapping villages were established in the swamplands. Cajun (the word is a corruption of the original French pronunciation of Acadian--A-ca-jan) Country today lies within a triangle whose base is the Louisiana coast and whose apex is near Alexandria in the central part of the state. The triangle contains 22 parishes and the region's principal city, Lafayette, is the unofficial capital of "Acadiana".
Originally farmers, trappers and fishermen, today's Cajuns occupy virtually every occupation and are the backbone of the state's oil and gas exploration and production industry, particularly offshore. When oil was first discovered in the North Sea more than 5,000 Cajuns with experience working on oil rigs in the open sea were employed to drill the first wells and to provide training. Along with its food and music, the major trademarks of Cajun Country are pirogues (canoes made from a single cypress log), Spanish moss, alligators, swamps, bayous and "Cajun Cabins".
Cajun music can be lively or melancholy and sometimes both at once. The traditional instruments are fiddle, accordion and triangle, and those still dominate (although drums and guitars have found their way into Cajun bands in recent years). Like the spoken language of the Cajuns, the lyrics of their songs are part French, part English. The themes are universal, love (lost and found) and the beauty of their land, but the melodies and phraseology are unique.
Cajun music has its roots in early Acadian (Nova Scotia), French, Creole, and Anglo-Saxon folk songs. Many Acadians arrived in Louisiana in the mid-1700's, settling in New Orleans and the surrounding prairies, marshes and bayous. Troubles and hard times were frequent themes in the early ballads and lullabies and were often hummed or sung a cappella. Later, simple instrumentation was added in the form of violins, German accordian and home-made rhythm instruments like the triangle ('tit fer). The Acadians brought with them the influences of Native Americans and the Scots-Irish; and the Cajun repertoire includes jigs, reels, and contradances. The Cajuns recognized a good thing, and in Louisiana, they absorbed more music and culture from the Spanish, Germans and Caribbeans.
Zydeco is actually the most modern form of Creole music from Acadiana, first appearing shortly after World War II. Zydeco is a popular accordion-based musical genre originating from southern Louisiana and is the music of south Louisiana’s Creoles. According to the Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture, the Creoles borrowed many of zydeco’s defining elements from Cajun music. Recognizing a good thing, the Cajuns also adapted musical influences of the Creoles. Zydeco now incorporates pop music sources like the blues, soul, disco, rap, and even reggae, using modern instrumentation that includes drums, electric and steel guitars, saxaphones, horns and keybords. Many songs are in English as well as French and Creole patois.
The parish has a total area of 1,119 square miles, of which 613 square miles is land and 506 square mile (45.23%) is water. The population recorded in the 1900 Federal Census was 34,145. The 2010 census recorded 51,857 residents in the Parish.
Neigboring parishes are Iberia Parish (north), St. Martin Parish (east), Assumption Parish (southeast), and Terrebonne Parish (south). Communities in the parish include Amelia, Baldwin, Bayou Vista, Berwick, Charenton, Franklin, Morgan City, and Patterson.
St. Mary Parish Records
Birth Records - The Louisiana State office maintains records for 100 years after the date of birth. Birth records are considered confidential for the first 100 years. For current information on who may obtain a birth record as well as how to submit a request visit the Office of Public Health, Vital Records Registry website or write to them at PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Birth records older than 100 years are available through the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Death Records - The Louisiana State office maintains records for 100 years after the date of death. Death records are considered confidential for the first 100 years. For current information on who may obtain a death record as well as how to submit a request visit the Office of Public Health, Vital Records Registry website or write to them at PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Death records older than 100 years are available through the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Marriage Records - For current information on how to submit a request for a certified copy of an Orleans Parish marriage record less than 50 years old, see the Louisiana Office of Public Health Director, Vital Records and Statistics website or write to PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Marriage records over 50 years are stored by the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Divorce Records - To obtain current information on how to submit a request for a certified copy of divorce records contact the Clerk of Court. For the address of the parish Clerk of Court visit the St. Mary Parish Important Addresses page.