Houma, Louisiana
City of Houma
Former City Hall, now Le Petit Theatre
Former City Hall, now Le Petit Theatre
Location of Houma in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Houma in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
Houma, Louisiana is located in Louisiana
Houma, Louisiana
Houma, Louisiana
Houma, Louisiana is located in the United States
Houma, Louisiana
Houma, Louisiana
Coordinates: 29°35′15″N 90°42′58″W / 29.58750°N 90.71611°W / 29.58750; -90.71611Coordinates: 29°35′15″N 90°42′58″W / 29.58750°N 90.71611°W / 29.58750; -90.71611
Country United States
States Louisiana
Founded1834; 188 years ago (1834)
Incorporated1848; 174 years ago (1848)
Reincorporated1898; 124 years ago (1898)
Named forHouma people
County seatTerrebonne
Principal cityHouma–Bayou CaneThibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area
South Louisiana
 • TypeGovernment
 • BodyConsolidated City-Parish
 • Parish PresidentGordon Dove
 • City14.60 sq mi (37.80 km2)
 • Land14.47 sq mi (37.47 km2)
 • Water0.13 sq mi (0.33 km2)
 • City33,406
 • Density2,309.12/sq mi (891.55/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
70360, 70363-64
Area code985
FIPS code22-36255

Houma (/ˈhmə/ HOH-mə)[2] is the largest city in, and the parish seat of,[3] Terrebonne Parish in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is also the largest principal city of the Houma–Bayou CaneThibodaux metropolitan statistical area. The city's government was absorbed by the parish in 1984, which currently operates as the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government.[4][5]

The population was 33,727 at the 2010 census, an increase of 1,334 over the 2000 census tabulation of 32,393.[6] In 2020, the population estimates program determined 32,467 people lived in the city.[7] At the 2020 census, its population rebounded to 33,406.[8] Many unincorporated areas are adjacent to the city of Houma. The largest, Bayou Cane, is an urbanized area commonly referred to by locals as being part of Houma, but it is not included in the city's census counts, and is a separate census-designated place. If the populations of the urbanized census-designated places were included with that of the city of Houma, the total would exceed 60,000 residents.

Houma was rated as an "affordable" city by Demographia's 2013 International Housing Survey.[9]


The city was named after the historic Native American tribe of Houma people, believed to be related to the Choctaw. The United Houma Nation is recognized by the state of Louisiana, but it has not achieved federal recognition.[10]


Settled by the Chitimacha and then the Houma Indians prior to European colonization, Houma was soon named for the Houma Indians who were at Ouiski Point. Land claimed for the Houma Indians by the Spanish was not recognized by the United States after the Louisiana Purchase.

Present-day Houma was formed in 1832; the city was incorporated in 1848.[11] The area was developed for sugar cane plantations in the antebellum years. Plantations were sited along the rivers and bayous in order to have access to water transportation.

Civil War

In 1862, four Union soldiers traveling by wagon from New Orleans to Houma were ambushed by several armed citizens. Two of the Union men were killed, and the other two were seriously wounded. In retaliation, Union officers brought 400 troops into Houma, and began a wholesale arrest of residents. In his 1963 book The Civil War in Louisiana, historian John D. Winters describes the following events:

The investigation of the murders lasted several days but failed to reveal the guilty parties. To frighten the citizens, the home of a Doctor Jennings was burned, two other houses were torn down, and the home and slave quarters of an outlying plantation were burned. The soldiers next began to seize sheep, cattle, mules, wagons, and saddle horses. Negroes began to desert their masters and to flock to the protection of the troops. The frightened citizens had no means of resistance, and many found it hard to stand by and see their country despoiled by a few hundred troops.[12]

Reconstruction to present

Sugar cane continued to be important after the war and into the 20th century.

On January 24, 1970, an accidental gas explosion killed three people and caused extensive damage downtown. Latour's Jewelry Store was destroyed.[13][14]

In 1984, the city and parish consolidated their governments.[5] In 2008 Bill Ellzey, a columnist at Houma Today, wrote that area residents were often unaware of the Houma city boundaries as the city and parish governments had consolidated.[15]

In late August 2021 Houma was struck by the intense eye-wall of category 4 Hurricane Ida causing widespread damage.[16]


Houma is located at 29°35′15″N 90°42′58″W / 29.58750°N 90.71611°W / 29.58750; -90.71611 (29.587614, -90.716108) and has an elevation of 10 feet (3.0 m) above sea level.[17][18] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.2 square miles (37 km2), of which 14.0 square miles (36 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.92%) is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild, sometimes warm winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Houma has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Houma, Louisiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 88
Average high °F (°C) 67
Daily mean °F (°C) 56
Average low °F (°C) 45
Record low °F (°C) 14
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.1
Source: [19]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
The "Twin Spans" bridges in downtown Houma serve as the main thoroughfare for crossing the Intracoastal Waterway
The "Twin Spans" bridges in downtown Houma serve as the main thoroughfare for crossing the Intracoastal Waterway
Houma racial composition as of 2020[21]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 19,456 58.24%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 8,065 24.14%
Native American 1,428 4.27%
Asian 472 1.41%
Pacific Islander 12 0.04%
Other/Mixed 1,537 4.6%
Hispanic or Latino 2,436 7.29%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 33,406 people, 12,612 households, and 7,970 families residing in the city.

According to the 2019 American Community Survey, the racial and ethnic makeup of the city was 62.1% non-Hispanic white, 23.3% Black or African American, 0.3% Asian alone, 0.1% some other race, 3.9% two or more races, and 4.3% Hispanic and Latin American of any race.[22] At the 2010 census, the racial make up of the city was 67.46% White American, 20.62% Black or African American, 5.45% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.71% Asian, 0.12% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races; Hispanics and Latin Americans of any race were 5.76% of the population.

In 2019, the median age was 36.8. Of the population aged 18 and older, they made 75.9% of the demographic; 8.1% of the population were aged 5 and under; 14.6% were aged 65 and older. The median income for a household at the 2019 American Community Survey was $42,949 and 23.8% of the population lived at or below the poverty line.


Terrebonne Parish School District operates the city and parish public schools. Houma is home to Louisiana's second-oldest high school, Terrebonne High School.[23][24] South Terrebonne High School was founded in 1961. H.L. Bourgeois High School, Ellender Memorial High School and Vandebilt Catholic High School are also in Terrebonne Parish. Southdown High School (originally Houma Colored High School) was constructed in the mid-20th century as a segregated school for black students, serving them exclusively from 1946 to 1969.[25] After that the school was integrated as a result of 1964 civil rights legislation.


Houma and the surrounding communities are steeped in the French, Native, Cajun, African and Creole history of the region. Originally the region was colonized by French and Spanish who made their way south through Bayou Lafourche. In the late 18th century, numerous Acadians (later known as Cajuns) settled in the region. The Acadians had been expelled by the British from Nova Scotia during the Seven Years' War for their unwillingness to take a loyalty oath to the British King. The number expelled was about 15,000 in number, of which 3,000 eventually settled in this region. Others went to France. As the French, Spanish, Acadians and Native American people mixed over the decades, a unique Cajun culture was born.

The swampland around Houma resulted in the area being quite isolated from the rest of Louisiana and the United States well into the 1930. Outside influences such as radio and concomitant popular culture failed to penetrate Cajun culture, so Cajun culture and the use of French language in this region persevered much longer than in cities on the border of Cajun country, such as Lake Charles or Baton Rouge. Traditional Cajun culture in Houma includes the French language, Cajun cuisine, and celebration of Catholic festivals such as Mardi Gras. That folk culture remains evident today and attracts many tourists to the region.[26]

In the 1970s, many South Vietnamese refugees emigrated following the reunification of Vietnam. They settled in Southern Louisiana to work as shrimpers, just as they had in Vietnam. A fairly significant portion of them settled in New Orleans, and many settled in Houma as well, in addition to elsewhere along the Gulf Coast. Many ethnic Vietnamese families still work at shrimping, as their families have for several decades.[27]

Downtown Houma has been designated as an historic district and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers a downtown walking tour and attractions such as the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum, the Folklife Culture Center, the Regional Military Museum, Southdown Plantation, the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, monuments to local armed forces, and local eateries.[28]

Although Houma is quickly changing, many residents in the surrounding communities continue to make their living from the Gulf as their ancestors did. They harvest shrimp, oyster, crab, fish, and engage in trapping, although more have shifted to work in occupations of the oil industry and shipbuilding. According to the United States Government Patent and Trademark Office, Houma, Louisiana was the site of the deepest oil well in Terrebonne Parish.[citation needed]

Tab Benoit's Voice of the Wetlands Music Festival, established in 2005, takes place in Houma, annually in October.[29]


The local newspaper is The Courier, founded in 1878 as Le Courrier de Houma by the French-born Lafayette Bernard Filhucan Bazet. He first published it in four-page, half-French half-English editions. Sold to The New York Times Company in 1980, it is now part of GateHouse Media.[30]

The Houma Times is located in Houma. The newspaper is a weekly publication with a website updated daily. It serves the Terrebonne, Lafourche, and St. Mary parishes. In 2014, Houma-based Rushing Media merged with Guidry Group, Inc., which had owned the publication since its inception in 1997.[31]

The area's only local broadcast TV station, KFOL-CD, is located in Houma. KFOL, also known as HTV, produces a weeknight newscast, followed by local phone calls and guests. Other shows include Sportsman's Paradise and One on One. KFOL broadcasts in digital on channel 30.1. The statewide TV network LCN-TV produces original Louisiana programming which showcases Louisiana's entertainment, culture, talent and industry. LCN-TV is delivered to all media distributors. Debuted in 2007, LCN-TV continues to produce Louisiana TV shows for the U.S.[citation needed]

The following radio stations are located in the Houma-Thibodaux metropolitan area:


Houma is served by Houma-Terrebonne Airport, located 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of the central business district.[32]

Good Earth Transit is Houma's parish bus system.[33] It has five major routes and serves the surrounding suburban areas, including the small bayou communities and the city of Thibodaux.[34]

Houma relies mainly on roads and personal vehicles as the main form of transportation. The major roads in Houma are:

Notable people

See also: Category:People from Houma, Louisiana

Twin towns

In popular culture



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