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. 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.

Houma was named after the Houma Indians. The native word "houma" means red, and the tribe’s war emblem is the crawfish. The Houma Indians originally came from Mississippi and settled on both sides of the Mississippi river to the north of Baton Rouge. After losing a war to the Tunicas in 1706, and to escape the encroachment of the white man, the Houma Indians continued moving south to more remote areas. They settled in Terrebonne Parish in the mid to late eighteenth century after their village at Burnside Louisiana was decimated by a measles epidemic. They 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. The direct descendants of the Houma Indians are known as The United Houma Nation. At 17,000 members, The United Houma Nation is the largest indigenous population in the State of Louisiana. With over 6000 of those members residing in Terrebonne Parish today, the tribe, as well as other tribal communities, remain a visible and integral part of the community.

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.

Congratulations to Our Terrebonne 200 Bicentennial celebration poster contest winner!

Past and present residents of Terrebonne parish were invited to submit original artwork for the Terrebonne 200 Bicentennial poster contest. Thank you to all those who participated in this poster contest. The winner was chosen based on theme, overall design, visual impact, and marketability.

We are pleased to announce Celeste Boudwin as the winner of the Terrebonne 200 Bicentennial Poster Contest! For more information on Celeste and her small business, read her bio below and visit RC Southern Craftin'.

Celeste Matherne Bio: I am a self-taught painter and crafter living in Terrebonne Parish with my husband and our three amazing children who are my biggest motivations. I’ve always had a love for painting and creating eye catching pieces of art. I own my small business, RC Southern Craftin’, in which I specialize in making custom painted door hangers and wood decor. My artwork does not have one primary focus; I enjoy painting all different types of subjects using acrylics as well as bringing others and my own ideas to life. What I enjoy most about painting is the creative freedom and sharing my art with others to enjoy as well!

Be sure to come out for the Bicentennial Festival & Parade to meet Celeste and get your own poster print to commemorate this historic event. The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2022, in Downtown Houma.

A Year in Review: Remembering Terrebonne Parish's Bicentennial Celebration

Clear skies, warm sunshine, and the historic Courthouse Square provided the perfect backdrop for the October 2022 celebration of 200 years of Terrebonne Parish in Houma, Louisiana.

Throughout the year, residents and visitors were treated to events centered around specific themes relevant to Terrebonne Parish. It was clear that everyone was most excited to attend the festival and parade; however, the year-long celebration was filled with several thought-provoking presentations that reminded guests just how far Terrebonne Parish has come and what we can do to continue progressing in the future.

The first few presentations, held at the recently renamed Barry P. Bonvillain Civic Center and the Terrebonne Parish Main Library, focused on business, transportation, military/law enforcement, environment, education, and government. Complete with trivia games, video presentations, Q&A sessions, and more, each presentation offered an intimate look into the Parish’s past with the help of current and former residents, professionals from various industries, and knowledgeable historians.

Additional presentations before the festival focused on construction, culture, and architecture. They included interactive elements such as music and art exhibits, a Native American Smudging Ceremony, and a meet and greet with the descendants of Frederick Douglass and Thomas Jefferson. The architecture presentation highlighted the newly constructed Houma Courthouse Square Bandstand, which was completed just in time to host its first concert at the bicentennial celebration.

The pièce de resistance was the bicentennial festival and parade. Held on Saturday, October 15, 2022, the parade rolled through Downtown Houma beginning at Barrow Street and ending in front of the Courthouse Square. Old-fashioned cars, the Parish’s first fire truck, the Terrebonne Genealogical Society, and many others paraded down the street waving and throwing special bicentennial throws to onlookers in celebration of the Parish’s 200th year.

The festival featured interactive murals, historical demonstrations, food, musical performances, local vendors, a contest to see how quickly kids can successfully make a call from a desktop rotary phone, and a crawfish pie eating contest. The final presentation was the dedication and burial of a time capsule filled with items that represent Terrebonne Parish and all that its residents have accomplished and endured over the years. The time capsule was placed in the Courthouse Square adjacent to the time capsule from the Sesquicentennial and both are to be opened in 2122.

The final presentations, which focused on sports, seafood, and entertainment, were held from October to December 2022. The Bicentennial Celebration culminated with a twelve-act play performed by members from various ensembles from around the Parish.

A celebration two hundred years in the making went off without a hitch despite the planning delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida. The bicentennial celebration united people in a way that only the spirit of southern hospitality can. New residents and long-time locals showed up to connect with neighbors and friends, support the community’s entrepreneurs, and celebrate the history of Terrebonne Parish.

The events of this past year all served a purpose. Some presentations were to explain or inform. Some were to entertain. Some even served as an opportunity to problem solve. Undoubtedly, the key purpose for each event was to inspire.

Just as today’s leaders serve the Parish using the foundation laid by its early leaders, the Terrebonne Parish Bicentennial Celebration was an opportunity to inspire future leaders to make relationships and decisions that will positively impact Terrebonne Parish for the next two hundred years. Parish President Gordon E. Dove says of this year, “On behalf of all of us here at TPCG, I’d like to thank you for celebrating the rich and vibrant history of Terrebonne Parish during this bicentennial year. I’d also like to challenge each of you to help steer Terrebonne Parish toward its bright future. Here’s to the next 200 years!”

Calendar of Events

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

News and Announcements

  • A Year in Review: Remembering Terrebonne Parish's Bicentennial Celebration
    DECEMBER 29, 2022

    Clear skies, warm sunshine, and the historic Courthouse Square provided the perfect backdrop for the October 2022 celebration of 200 years of Terrebonne Parish in Houma, Louisiana.. Read More...

  • Join Us this Saturday, October 15 for the Terrebonne Bicentennial Festival & Parade
    SEPTEMBER 16, 2022

    The Terrebonne Bicentennial Festival is fast approaching! Join us from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2022, in Downtown Houma. Read More...

  • Thank You to the Generous Sponsors of the Terrebonne 200 Bicentennial Festival & Parade
    SEPTEMBER 16, 2022

    The Bicentennial Festival and Parade will be the biggest part of the celebration, and the committee wishes to thank the generous sponsors that have made the event possible. Read More...

  • Terrebonne 200 Good Earth Gumbo: Blending of Cultures Presentation Part 2 - Sept 24
    SEPTEMBER 16, 2022

    The People & Culture Subcommittee of the Terrebonne 200 Committee, sponsored by the Terrebonne Parish Government and Parish President Hon. Gordon E. Dove, are pleased to announce that because of the importance of this specific topic there will be a second event held to commemorate the various groups of people whose cultures have blended together to form the unique essence of Terrebonne. Read More...

  • Terrebonne 200 Good Earth Gumbo: Blending of Cultures Presentation Part 1 - Sept 22
    SEPTEMBER 16, 2022

    The Finding Our Roots African American Museum (FORAAM) will take part in the Terrebonne Parish 200 Year Celebration on Life and Culture. This event will have an amazing exhibit and slideshow entitled “We Are Terrebonne”. The exhibit tells the story of those who once worked, lived, strived and raised their families in this wonderful place we call home as well as highlight cultural occurrences in our parish over the past 200 years. Read More...

  • Become a Sponsor for the Terrebonne Bicentennial Celebration Festival and Parade
    SEPTEMBER 12, 2022

    Planning is underway for the Terrebonne 200 Bicentennial Festival and Parade! The festivities, which will be held in Downtown Houma on Saturday, October 15, 2022, will be the culmination of the year-long celebration honoring 200 years of history and culture in Terrebonne Parish. Read More...

  • Wanted: Items for the 2022 Time Capsule
    SEPTEMBER 09, 2022

    On October 15, 2022, the Terrebonne Garden Club, in collaboration with the Terrebonne 200 Bicentennial Celebration, will dedicate and bury a time capsule in the Courthouse Square. We would like items that presently reflect our parish. Read More...

  • Terrebonne 200 Bicentennial Festival and Parade | Saturday, October 15
    AUGUST 10, 2022

    The Terrebonne Bicentennial Festival and Parade will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on October 15 throughout the streets of Downtown Houma. The festival will include various elements highlighting “the Good Earth,” including music on two stages, as well as storytelling and performances by local cultural organizations. In addition, the Cultural Tent Area will showcase live demonstrations of wood carving and basket weaving, as well as display historical collections and information about our parish’s history. We look forward to a successful and fun event and hope you will join us! Read More...

  • 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 Planning Committee Members

Christopher Pulaski, Chair
Anne Picou
Deborah Ortego
Earl Eues
Leilani Adams
Margie Scoby
Mary Cosper-LeBoeuf
Michael Toups
Patty Whitney

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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