Terrebonne Parish

In 2022, Terrebonne Parish will be celebrating 200 years and its Bicentennial. Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove invites you to a year-long celebration highlighting the 200 years of history and culture of Terrebonne Parish.

On April 6, 1822, at Alexandre Dupre's home, acting on a petition of 12 inhabitants and an order of election from Parish Judge Francis M. Guyol, there was a meeting to form a Police Jury for Terrebonne Parish (currently the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government). The first 4 Resolutions were on the organizing of the Terrebonne Parish Police Jury, appointment of a Clerk, and forming rules and regulations.

Today's parish seat, Houma, was founded in 1834 on land donated by Hubert M. Belanger and Richard H. Grinage, located at the southeast corner of Main and Goode Streets. Because of this significant donation, Grinage and Belanger are considered the “Fathers of Houma.” Houma was incorporated on March 16, 1848. Houma was named after the Houmas Indian. The native word "houma" means red, and the tribe’s war emblem was the crawfish. Historians say the Houmas Indians originally came from Mississippi and Alabama and settled near Baton Rouge. After many conflicts with other Indian tribes, losing a war to the Tunicas in 1706, and to escape the encroachment of the white man, the Houmas Indians continued moving south to more remote areas. They settled in Terrebonne Parish in the mid to late eighteenth century and established a camp known as Ouiski Bayou on the high ground northwest of present-day downtown Houma. They were subsequently pushed from the highlands of the north to the coastal regions of the south by the European settlements in the late 1700's and 1800's. Evidence of the Houma Tribes can still be found in this area today. The parish seat consisted of five stores, ten or twelve dwelling houses, a church, a blacksmith shop, a school-house, hotel, grogshop(tavern) and a billiard-room, together with justice such as the courthouse, clerk's, sheriff's and recorder's offices, (all in one building) and a jail. The first courthouse was built on the land of Alexander Dupre. A small jailhouse was also constructed.

One of the most southern of all Louisiana parishes, Terrebonne Parish covers an area of 2100 square miles, it is the 2nd largest parish in the state. The early French settlers who christened this parish must have been impressed with the fertility of the soil and marshes because the words "terre bonne" mean "good earth." In 1834, Terrebonne Parish founded the city of Houma in order to establish a centrally located and more easily accessible parish seat. Prior to this, the county seat had been set at Williamsburg (now Bayou Cane) approximately 4 miles northwest of present-day downtown Houma. While Williamsburg sat at the junction of two bayous, Bayou Cane and Bayou Terrebonne, government officials felt that Houma, which sat at the convergence of six bayous, would provide better access for commerce and development in Terrebonne Parish.

Most of the pioneers who came to Terrebonne migrated from the Mississippi River, down Bayou Lafourche to Bayou Terrebonne. There was an influx of the French from New Orleans to the bayou country after the Spanish domination in 1762. The district Spanish commandant granted concessions of title to not more than 630 acres of land to each newcomer to the bayou lands. While many Frenchmen came into the area prior to this, there are recorded claims by Anglo-Saxons and Spanish as well.

Other pioneers in the area in 1760 were the exiled French colonists known as Acadians from Nova Scotia, who roamed the world for 10 years in search of a home before they settled on the banks of the bayous in Terrebonne Parish. They chose this area because of its isolated geographic location, a minimum of government control, fertile land and an abundance of fish and wildlife.

These people lived in seclusion for generations and continued their family traditions of living off the land. Today they celebrate their heritage and joy of life through their festivals and church fairs.

In 1848, Houma was incorporated as a city by an act of legislature. By this time, industry in Houma consisted largely of farming plantations, seafood, fur trading and logging industries. The cultivation of sugar cane was the principal agricultural industry in the parish. The first plantation was established in 1828. By 1851, Terrebonne had 110 plantations with 80 sugar houses. Southdown Plantation was founded in 1858 by the Minor family. Stephen Minor was the Secretary to the Spanish Governor Gayoso. Today, the home serves as the parish museum. The sugar mill itself was sold in 1979, dismantled and shipped to Guatemala where it was reassembled and is still in use today.

Calendar of Events

Join us all year long for presentations celebrating the history and culture of Terrebonne Parish.

  • 8. Good Earth Gumbo: A Blending of Cultures (Part 1)

    Date:   09/22/2022
    Location:  Terrebonne Parish Main Library

  • 9. Good Earth Gumbo: A Blending of Cultures (Part 2)

    Date:  09/24/2022
    Location:  Terrebonne Parish Main Library

  • 10. Architecture

    Date:  10/06/2022
    Location:  Barry P. Bonvillain Civic Center

  • 11. Festival & Parade

    Date:  10/15/2022
    Location:  Downtown Houma / Courthouse Square
    Parade Route:  Town Hall to Courthouse Square

  • 12. Les Sports De Terrebonne

    Date:   10/27/2022
    Location:  Terrebonne Parish Main Library

  • 13. Seafood

    Date:  11/03/2022
    Location:  Barry P. Bonvillain Civic Center

  • 14. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Terrebonne

    Date:  12/01/2022
    Location:  Terrebonne Parish Main Library

News and Announcements

  • Terrebonne Parish Bicentennial Festival and Parade Vendor Application Deadline August 15, 2022
    JUNE 03, 2022

    Bicentennial festival and parade will be held in downtown Houma, and around the Courthouse Square area on Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The vendor application deadline for the Terrebonne Parish Bicentennial Celebration is July 5, 2022. Spaces will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please review all rules and regulations in detail as they will be enforced. Your signature on the application acknowledges your understanding of the rules. We look forward to a successful and fun event and hope you will join us! Read More...

  • Terrebonne Parish Bicentennial Poster Contest Deadline June 15
    APRIL 07, 2022

    Bayou Regional Arts Council in partnership with Terrebonne Bicentennial Celebration is holding a poster contest to commemorate Terrebonne’s 200 year celebration. The celebration of the “Good Earth” will take place October 15, 2022. The deadline for the poster contest is June 15, 2022. Any current or past resident of Terrebonne Parish may enter the contest. The winning entry will be chosen based on theme, overall design, visual impact and marketability. Read More...

Terrebonne 200 Committee Members

Christopher Pulaski, Chair

Contact us

If you need more information on this event, call or email using the contact information given below or fill out the contact form below.

P.O. Box 2768, Houma LA 70360


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