Louisiana history: Why do we say parish instead of county? Which parish is oldest?

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana is the only state to have parishes and not counties, but which parish in the state is the oldest?

Louisiana began its embarkation as a statehood back on April 30, 1982, when it was officially admitted to the Union as the 18th state in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Louisiana was first acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase by France in 1803.

The territorial legislature settled on the term “parish” in 1807, according to the Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission. The boundaries usually followed church parish divisions.

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The first parishes to be recognized for the state of Louisiana would be Orleans and Natchitoches when the Louisiana colony was established in 1717, according to Louisiana Genealogy Trails.

Check out what year when each parish in the WVLA/WGMB viewing area was first recognized:

  • Ascension Parish: 1807

  • Assumption Parish: 1807

  • East Baton Rouge Parish: 1812

  • East Feliciana Parish: 1824

  • Iberville Parish: 1807

  • Livingston Parish: 1832

  • Pointe Coupee Parish: 1807

  • St. Helena Parish: 1810

  • West Baton Rouge Parish: 1807

  • West Feliciana Parish: 1824

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