Terrebonne Parish, the second largest parish in Louisiana, is located in the South Central portion of the state on the westbank of the Mississippi River. New Orleans is just a short drive to the east and the historically Evangeline country is to the west. To the south of Terrebonne Parish are the oil and gas fields as well as the shrimp, fish and oyster-filled Gulf of Mexico. The state capital, Baton Rouge and the industrialized areas along the Mississippi River are to the north.
For many years, the people of Terrebonne Parish made their living from the earth. In the second decade of the 20th century, natural gas was found in the parish. The next decade brought oil wells. This meant a period of unsurpassed economic development to this area. From that period until the early 1980's the economy of Terrebonne Parish was very dependent on the oil industry. Several changes have occurred since the decline of that industry. These changes are responsible for having brought us to where we are today.
The people of Terrebonne Parish today still depend in some ways on the oil and gas related industries. In
addition, however, the marine or seafood industries as well as the tourism, medical, retail and construction industries are important assets that contribute to the economic base of Terrebonne Parish.
Terrebonne Parish is located 57 miles southwest of New Orleans and is the second largest Parish in
Louisiana. It borders the Gulf of Mexico, Lafourche Parish, Assumption and St. Mary Parishes. Despite its
status as Louisiana's second largest parish, more than 90 percent of Terrebonne is wetlands or covered by
open water (permanently or seasonally), a true coastal wetlands environment. Traditional vocations in
Terrebonne Parish are fishing, hunting, trapping, sugarcane farming, boat building, and more recently, oil
and gas production and support activities. Like much of Louisiana, the Parish suffered considerable
hardship during the 1980's slump in oil and gas business and weathered temporary set-backs with the
effects of the devastating hurricane Andrew in August of 1992. However, the Parish has recovered well
and the economy has shown significant improvement. Terrebonne Parish now ranks first in the State in
natural gas production, third in oil, accounts for 25% of the State's seafood production, and its
shipbuilding industry has benefited from the new demand for gambling boats. The Parish's
unemployment rate has recently been 1.5 to 2 points lower than the State-wide average.
Terrebonne Parish has a total population of 96,982 persons. Approximately 23% are minority. A total of
8.3% of the total population are 65 years of age or older. The median age of the total population is 29.3
years and the median household income for this area is $21,765 annually. Per capita income for our area
is $9,505. Approximately 15.6% of our total population are Social Security benefits recipients, and a
total of 24.2% of our population are living at or below the poverty level. Only 59.6% of our total
population are high school graduates. Approximately 7.2% of our labor force are unemployed.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development
Consolidated Plan Executive Summary