West Feliciana Parish Data
West Feliciana Parish Neighbors
- Avoyelles Parish
- Concordia Parish
- East Baton Rouge Parish
- East Feliciana Parish
- Pointe Coupee Parish
- West Baton Rouge Parish
- Wilkinson County, MS
Welcome to West Feliciana Parish!
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About West Feliciana Parish...
Feliciana, a inspired Spanish word for Happy Land, graced a region whose history paralleled that of the West Florida Territory.
Aboriginal residents were Tunica Indians who had previously usurped the native Houmas. Later the Spanish appeared, laying claim to the territory by right of exploration until 1699. The French were not far behind. LaSalle, having explored the Mississippi River in 1682, claimed all the lands drained by it in the name of Louis XIV.
Encouraged by land grants, emigrants – mainly from the English colonies or from Britain – poured into West Florida. By 1775, many British loyalists migrated here, establishing large, prosperous plantations.
Covering West Florida, Spain supported American colonists hoping to regain lost American territory. Bernado de Galvez, Louisiana’s Spanish governor, undertook surprise attacks on Fort Bute and Baton Rouge and both soon capitulated. Thus, West Florida became Spanish again, remaining so until 1810. In 1800, Spain ceded Louisiana back to France. In 1803, Napoleon sold Louisiana to the U.S. West Florida was included since the Louisiana Purchase was vague in defining Louisiana’s eastern boundary. Though President Jefferson insisted that West Florida was American, the Spanish denied this and continued their occupation.
Feliciana settlers, unhappy under Spanish rule, revolted in 1810 and established the Republic of West Florida. They quickly petitioned President Madison to annex the area. Their request was honored in 1810 when West Florida was declared part of the Louisiana Purchase. The U.S. formed Feliciana County. It later separated to form four parishes – Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, St. Helena and St. Tammany. In 1812, Louisiana was admitted to the Union.
Addressing complaints that citizens of western Feliciana Parish found it difficult to travel during bad weather to the east, Louisiana separated the area into two parishes – East Feliciana and West Feliciana. St. Francisville, the oldest town chartered in the Florida Parishes, was established as the parish seat.
During the 1820s the parish was home to the naturalist and artist, John James Audubon. He came to live at Oakley Plantation, now the Audubon State Historic Site, to teach drawing to Eliza Pirrie, the daughter of the owners. The pay was low, but the job was ideal, because it allowed him time to roam and paint in the woods. More than 80 of the birds in his Birds of America were painted in West Feliciana Parish.
A project began In 1980 and expanded in 1982 saw the residential and commercial structures lining Royal and Ferdinand Streets listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic preservation remains important to the parish, and tourist visit the parish to attend the Audubon Pilgrimage and visit the many plantation homes, gardens and historic churches. The parish is also home to two state historic sites, Audubon and Rosedown State Historic Site.
The parish has a total area of 426 square miles, of which 406 square miles is land and 20 square miles (4.7%) is water. The population recorded in the 1830 Federal Census was 8,629. The 2010 census recorded 15,535 residents in the Parish.
Neigboring parishes and counties are Wilkinson County, Mississippi (north), East Feliciana Parish (east), East Baton Rouge Parish (south), West Baton Rouge Parish (south), Pointe Coupee Parish (southwest), Avoyelles Parish (northwest), and Concordia Parish (northwest). Communities in the parish include St Francisville, Angola, Bains, Tunica, and Wakefield.
West Feliciana 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 West Feliciana Parish Important Addresses page.