St. Bernard Parish
St. Bernard Parish Courthouse
St. Bernard Parish Courthouse
Flag of St. Bernard Parish
Official seal of St. Bernard Parish
Map of Louisiana highlighting St. Bernard Parish
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Map of the United States highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 29°53′N 89°21′W / 29.89°N 89.35°W / 29.89; -89.35
Country United States
State Louisiana
FoundedMarch 31, 1807
Named forBernardo de Galvez
Largest communityChalmette
 • Total2,158 sq mi (5,590 km2)
 • Land378 sq mi (980 km2)
 • Water1,781 sq mi (4,610 km2)  83%
 • Total43,764
 • Density115.78/sq mi (44.70/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district1st

St. Bernard Parish (French: Paroisse de Saint-Bernard; Spanish: Parroquia de San Bernardo) is a parish in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat and largest community is Chalmette.[2] The parish was formed in 1807.[3] St. Bernard Parish is part of the New OrleansMetairie metropolitan statistical area; the parish is located southeast of the city of New Orleans and comprises the Chandeleur Islands and Chandeleur Sound in the east.

St. Bernard was the fastest growing parish in Louisiana from 2010 to 2020,[4] increasing from a population of 35,897 in the 2010 census to 43,764 in 2020.[5][6] It remains at less than two-thirds of its 2000 population of 67,229, prior to Hurricane Katrina.


Kenilworth Plantation House (originally Bienvenu) in St. Bernard's Terre aux Boeufs dates back to the 1750s.

St. Bernard Parish contains a large community of Spanish descent. Sometimes referred to informally as "Spanish Cajuns", the Isleños are descended from Canary Islanders. This linguistically isolated group eventually developed its own dialect. The Isleños settled along Bayou Terre aux Boeufs, a relict distributary bayou of the Mississippi River. According to Dumont de Montigny, who was in Louisiana from 1719 to 1738, Terre aux Bœufs (bœuf is 'steer' or 'ox' in French, thus Terre aux Bœufs means 'land of oxen') was named in that period, presumably due to the presence of domestic or feral cattle there, and not because of bison (bison in French). This settlement was called La Concepción and Nueva Gálvez by Spanish officials, but was also called Tierra de Bueyes (Spanish for 'land of oxen'). Saint Bernard, the patron saint of colonial governor Bernardo de Gálvez, was used in documents to identify the area.[7]

St. Bernard Parish is also home to the earliest Filipino community in the United States, Saint Malo, Louisiana.

The chief historical attraction in St. Bernard Parish is the Chalmette Battlefield (part of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve), at which the Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815, during the War of 1812. Many street names near the battlefield bear the names of the chief participants, or take a pirate theme, since the pirate Jean Lafitte was considered to be a hero in the battle. A high school, later elementary and now a middle school, was named in honor of Andrew Jackson, who was the commanding officer in charge of defending New Orleans against the British invasion.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln mentioned St. Bernard Parish in the Emancipation Proclamation as an area not in rebellion against the Union during the Civil War.[8]

From 1919 to 1969, the parish was effectively ruled as part of the fiefdom of Leander Perez, a local Democratic official in neighboring Plaquemines Parish.

1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre

In 1868, St. Bernard Parish was home to one of the deadliest massacres in Louisiana history. The St. Bernard Parish massacre occurred during the Reconstruction era, days before the Presidential election of 1868. As black men gained the right to vote, white Democrats of the parish feared losing their majority. Armed groups mobilized to violently silence these recently emancipated voters to win the election in favor of Democrat Horatio Seymour over Republican Ulysses S. Grant. A Seymour victory meant the end of Reconstruction over the South and the return of Louisiana to home rule. Many freedmen were dragged from their homes and murdered. Others fled to the cane fields to hide from the perpetrators.

The use of violence to suppress Republican votes was successful. Grant only received one vote from St. Bernard Parish, despite having a Republican majority. The reported number of freedmen killed varies from 35 to 135; the number of whites killed was two (one was killed in an attempt to help the victims).[9]

Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927

An Army Corps Photo of the levee at Caernarvon being dynamited during the floods of 1927.

During the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, New Orleans city and state leaders used dynamite to breach a levee at Caernarvon, 13 miles (21 km) below Canal Street, to save the city of New Orleans from flooding. At the time, it was thought by New Orleans residents that the dynamiting saved the city, but historians now believe that the dynamiting was unnecessary due to major upstream levee breaks that relieved pressure on the New Orleans levees. The levee breach caused flooding and widespread destruction in most of Eastern St. Bernard Parish and parts of Plaquemines Parish. Residents were never adequately compensated for their losses.[10]

Hurricane Katrina, 2005

See also: Murphy Oil USA refinery spill

"Involuntary Demolition" notice, posted on buildings in St. Bernard Parish when there has been no significant effort to gut, secure, or repair the building over a year after Hurricane Katrina.

On August 29, 2005, St. Bernard was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The storm damaged virtually every structure in the parish. The eye of Katrina passed over the eastern portion of the parish, pushing a 25-foot (7.6 m) storm surge into the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet ("MRGO"). This surge destroyed the parish levees. Almost the entire parish was flooded, with most areas left with between 5 and 15 feet (1.5–4.6 m) of standing water. The water rose suddenly and violently, during a period which witnesses reported as no more than fifteen minutes. In many areas, houses were smashed or washed off their foundations by a storm surge higher than the roofs.

For more than two months after the storm, much of the parish remained without proper services, including electricity, water, and sewage. Parish President Henry "Junior" Rodriguez declared all of the parish's homes unlivable. Emergency Communities offered one reason for hope in the first year after Hurricane Katrina. In the parking lot of a destroyed off-track betting parlor, EC built the Made with Love Cafe and Grill, a free kitchen and community center serving 1500 meals per day. Made with Love, housed in a geodesic dome, also offered food and clothing distribution, and emotionally supportive volunteers. Upon leaving, EC has offered logistical support for the founding of a new long-term Community Center of St Bernard.[11]

As of late November 2005, it was estimated that the Parish had some 7,000 full-time residents, with some 20,000 commuting to spend the day working, cleaning up, or salvaging in the parish and spending their nights elsewhere. By mid-December some businesses had returned to the Parish, most notably the ExxonMobil plant in Chalmette and the Domino Sugar plant in Arabi, together with a handful of small local stores and businesses.

At the start of January 2006, it was estimated that some 8,000 people were living in the Parish. The H.O.P.E. Project, a collective of volunteer relief workers, founded itself in January 2006 in the empty shell of the Corinne Missionary Baptist Church in Violet, LA, providing the tools for rebuilding and community empowerment. Since June 2006, Camp Hope, located in Arabi, has been housing volunteers' assisting residents of St. Bernard Parish in their recovery from Hurricane Katrina. A grassroots organization, the St. Bernard Project, opened in March 2006. A fully volunteer-run organization funded by the United Way, they help residents get back into their homes by working on the houses, providing tools, support and where possible, funding.[12]

As of October 2006, the population was estimated to be 25,489.[13] After population losses due to Hurricane Katrina, the school was reopened for elementary grades for the 2006–2007 school year.

Hurricane Ida, 2021

With the landfall of Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021, St. Bernard Parish experienced heavy flooding.[14] Two days before, local officials and weather experts advised citizens to prepare for the storm, warning that storm surge could reach as much as 11 feet. St. Bernard Parish President, Guy McInnis, stated he did not plan to issue a formal evacuation order.[15]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 2,158 square miles (5,590 km2), of which 378 square miles (980 km2) is land and 1,781 square miles (4,610 km2) (83%) is water.[16] It is the second largest parish in Louisiana by total area and has the largest percentage of area in water of any parish.

The parish of St. Bernard embraces numerous small islands. The parish is classed among the alluvial lands of the state. The ridges comprise the arable lands of the parish and have an area of 37,000 acres (150 km2). The principal streams are the Bayous Terre aux Boeufs and La Loutre. There are numerous smaller streams which are efficient drainage canals. The dominant tree species is bald cypress, of which the most valuable trees have been cut and processed.

Bodies of water

Major highways

Adjacent counties and parishes

National protected areas

State park


Map of St. Bernard Parish with municipal labels
Historic place names in St. Bernard Parish

There are no incorporated areas in St. Bernard Parish.

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
1790-1960[19] 1900-1990[20]
1990-2000[21] 2010-2013[5]
St. Bernard Parish racial composition as of 2020[22]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 23,165 52.93%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 11,370 25.98%
Native American 215 0.49%
Asian 972 2.22%
Pacific Islander 6 0.01%
Other/Mixed 2,026 4.63%
Hispanic or Latino 6,010 13.73%

The 2019 American Community Survey determined 46,266 people and 15,005 households lived in the parish.[23] At the 2020 census, there were 43,764 people,[6] down from the prior census estimates yet up from 2010's 35,897 people. The racial and ethnic makeup of the parish was 69.4% non-Hispanic white, 23.3% Black and African American, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.5% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 2.0% some other race, and 2.4% from two or more races in 2019; an estimated 10.1% of the population were Hispanic and Latino American of any race in 2019. In 2020, the racial and ethnic composition was 52.93% non-Hispanic white, 25.98% Black or African American, 0.49% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 4.63% two or more races, and 13.73% Hispanic and Latino American of any race,[22] reflecting the trend of diversification in the U.S.[24]

Of the population, 90.7% spoke English at home, 5.5% Spanish, 1.6% other Indo-European languages, 1.6% Asian and Pacific Islander languages, and 0.7% other languages in 2019.[23]

Among the 15,005 households, the median age was 34.2. Approximately 73.2% of the population were aged 18 and older, 7.4% under 5 years of age, and 11.1% aged 65 and older. The parish population was spread out in 17,035 housing units and there was a home-ownership rate of 67.7% compared to 64.0% nationwide from 2015 to 2019.[23] The median housing value was $151,300, and median gross rent was $951. There was a median household income of $44,661; males had a median income of $48,252 versus $33,302 for females. An estimated 26.2% of the parish lived at or below the poverty line.

Christianity was the parish's largest religion according to the Association of Religion Data Archives in 2020.[25] Most of the religiously affiliated population are members of the Roman Catholic Church via the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, with 14,439 adherents as of 2020.[25] Historically common throughout the state, Baptists were the second-largest Christian group in the parish; Southern Baptists made up 1,012 members and National Missionary Baptists numbered 1,230. Non/inter-denominational Protestants spread among independent congregationalist, Bible, and United or Uniting churches numbered 900 in 2020 per the Association of Religion Data Archives.


Public schools in the parish are operated by the St. Bernard Parish Public Schools school district.[26]

Due to Hurricane Katrina (2005), the parish's 20 plus public schools were consolidated as one school, the St. Bernard Unified School, or SBUS. St. Bernard Unified School broke up into several different schools in the 2006–2007 school year.

The parish is served by Nunez Community College.[27]

Additionally Delgado Community College states that its Sidney Collier Campus in East New Orleans is in proximity to St. Bernard Parish.[28]

St. Bernard Parish also has only one Catholic school, Our Lady of Prompt Succor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. There is also one private Montessori school, Classique Academy.

Sports and recreation

Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center


While St. Bernard is served mainly by New Orleans media sources, such as a local section of The Times-Picayune, the Parish does have multiple newspapers. The St. Bernard Voice, established in 1890, serves as the official journal of the parish.[31] The St. Bernard News was established in 1967 and publishes weekly.

Formerly published newspapers that served the parish include the St. Bernard Eagle and the St. Bernard Weekly Eagle which published in the 1870s through 1884 in Arabi, Progress which published from Stock Landing (Arabi) in 1888–1889, St. Bernard Protector 1925–1926, and the St. Bernard Guide which published from 1982 to 1986.[32]


This section needs expansion with: general information and details that provide context for the election results table. You can help by adding to it.Find sources: "St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana" Politics – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2024)
United States presidential election results for St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana[33]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 11,179 63.34% 6,151 34.85% 320 1.81%
2016 10,237 64.73% 4,960 31.36% 618 3.91%
2012 8,501 60.92% 5,059 36.25% 395 2.83%
2008 9,643 71.21% 3,491 25.78% 407 3.01%
2004 19,597 65.68% 9,956 33.37% 285 0.96%
2000 16,255 56.79% 11,682 40.82% 684 2.39%
1996 13,549 43.86% 14,312 46.33% 3,031 9.81%
1992 16,131 48.97% 12,305 37.36% 4,502 13.67%
1988 19,609 61.79% 11,406 35.94% 721 2.27%
1984 24,428 74.80% 8,076 24.73% 153 0.47%
1980 19,410 60.53% 11,367 35.45% 1,288 4.02%
1976 12,707 47.94% 12,969 48.92% 832 3.14%
1972 15,198 77.69% 3,189 16.30% 1,176 6.01%
1968 3,486 18.32% 2,485 13.06% 13,056 68.62%
1964 8,055 56.61% 6,175 43.39% 0 0.00%
1960 1,431 13.07% 4,660 42.56% 4,858 44.37%
1956 3,648 50.55% 3,283 45.49% 286 3.96%
1952 2,267 51.71% 2,117 48.29% 0 0.00%
1948 107 4.38% 91 3.72% 2,247 91.90%
1944 80 3.77% 2,044 96.23% 0 0.00%
1940 110 6.03% 1,715 93.97% 0 0.00%
1936 25 1.09% 2,269 98.91% 0 0.00%
1932 106 6.50% 1,525 93.50% 0 0.00%
1928 77 3.16% 2,359 96.84% 0 0.00%
1924 13 2.41% 526 97.59% 0 0.00%
1920 56 13.53% 358 86.47% 0 0.00%
1916 23 5.88% 363 92.84% 5 1.28%
1912 17 6.80% 221 88.40% 12 4.80%

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana". Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "St. Bernard Parish". Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  4. ^ "2020 Population and Housing State Data".
  5. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "QuickFacts: St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  7. ^ Din, Gilbert (1988). The Canary Islanders of Louisiana.
  8. ^ "National Capital Regional Office". National Park Service. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  9. ^ Dier, Chris (2017). The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre: Blood in the Cane Fields. The History Press. ISBN 978-1540227010.
  10. ^ Barry, John M. (1997). Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America (1998 paperback ed.). New York: Touchstone Books. pp. 253–258. ISBN 0-684-84002-2.
  11. ^ "is almost here!". Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  12. ^ "St Bernard Louisiana -Katrina Relief -New Orleans Volunteer". Archived from the original on June 13, 2006.
  13. ^ "New Orleans population still cut by more than half". Reuters. November 29, 2006. Retrieved December 6, 2006.
  14. ^ "Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish Braces for Severe Flooding From Hurricane Ida". Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  15. ^ writer, HALLE PARKER | Staff. "For St. Bernard residents, 'the time to act is now' as parish prepares for Ida". Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  16. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  17. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. Geographic Names Phase I data compilation (1976-1981). December 31, 1981. Primarily from U.S. Geological Survey 1:24,000-scale topographic maps (or 1:25K, Puerto Rico 1:20K) and from U.S. Board on Geographic Names files. In some instances, from 1:62,500 scale or 1:250,000 scale maps.
  18. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  19. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  20. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  21. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  22. ^ a b "2020 Race and Population Totals". Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  23. ^ a b c "Geography Profile: St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana". Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  24. ^ "The Chance That Two People Chosen at Random Are of Different Race or Ethnicity Groups Has Increased Since 2010". Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "Maps and data files for 2020 | U.S. Religion Census | Religious Statistics & Demographics". Retrieved January 17, 2023.
  26. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: St. Bernard Parish, LA" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 31, 2022. Retrieved July 31, 2022. - Text list
  27. ^ "Our Colleges". Louisiana's Technical and Community Colleges. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  28. ^ "Locations". Delgado Community College. Retrieved May 19, 2021. The Sidney Collier Site [...] as well as St. Tammany and St. Bernard parishes.
  29. ^ "Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center". Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  30. ^ "Val Riess Recreation Complex". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  31. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State. "Official Parish Journals" (PDF). Retrieved May 30, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections. "Louisiana Newspaper Project". Archived from the original on February 4, 2010. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  33. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved February 16, 2018.

29°53′N 89°21′W / 29.89°N 89.35°W / 29.89; -89.35