Originally settled in the 1720’s by Spanish colonists from the Canary Islands, St. Bernard Parish was carved out the New Orleans Territory and officially founded on March 31, 1807. As a result of its rich soil and riverside location, the area cultivated successful crops including sugarcane and indigo, and became known as an area for cattle grazing.
The most significant historical landmark in St. Bernard Parish came into being just years after the incorporation of the Louisiana Territory into the United States. In January of 1815, General Andrew Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans, a conflict which asserted U.S. control over the Lower Mississippi River Valley and concluded the War of 1812.
St. Bernard’s presence has been felt throughout Louisiana and United States history.
On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Southeast Louisiana and devastated large parts of the Metro New Orleans area as well as parts of Mississippi. As a result of multiple failures in the levee system designed to protect the region, the storm damaged virtually every structure in St. Bernard Parish and dislocated nearly its entire population of approximately 67,000 people. Despite Hurricane Katrina, St. Bernard has fought back and rebounded, being hailed as one of the true success stories of recovery in the Metro New Orleans Region. With recovery and reconstruction still underway, St. Bernard Parish embraces the opportunities to grow and redevelop smarter, better, and stronger than ever before.
St. Bernard Parish is located in the Southeastern part of Louisiana just four miles from Downtown New Orleans and borders Orleans and Plaquemines Parishes. Largely surrounded by water and marshland, St. Bernard includes 465 square miles of land and boasts one of the largest and richest wetland ecosystems in North America. Wildlife, fisheries, and agriculture have always influenced the culture of our region, and with the growth and expansion of New Orleans, St. Bernard has come to develop a major industrial and petrochemical industry, as well as increased port, commercial, and retail businesses. St. Bernard Parish’s population is currently estimated at 42,000 and includes the communities of Arabi, Chalmette, Meraux, Violet, Caernarvon, Contreras, Delacroix Island, Hopedale, Kenilworth, Poydras, Reggio, Sebastopol, Shell Beach, Toca, Verret, and Yscloskey.
Population (2010 Estimate)* 35,897
Persons 18 years and over, 2009** 73.9%
Persons 65 years and older, 2009** 11.1%
Male Persons, 2009** 48.7%Female Persons, 2009** 51.3%
* U.S. Census Bureau, **2005-2009 American Community Survey
African American 15.7%
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.9%
U.S. Census Bureau, 2010