Ascension Parish, in the heart of Plantation Country, is a jambalaya of cultures that are common to southern Louisiana. First known as the Acadian Coast, Ascension Parish was created by the territorial government in 1807, and was originally settled by the Houma Tribe and Acadian refugees who migrated from the Maryland and Pennsylvania areas.
In the early 19th century, plantations produced one of the nation’s most important staples, sugar. Today, sugar cane is still harvested, along with many other forms of agriculture. The petrochemical industry and tourism in the area also help to make up the local economy. Ascension Parish has become the second-fastest growing parish in Louisiana. From a population of 2,219 in 1810, the current population exceeds 97,000 people.
There are three major incorporated areas in Ascension Parish. Donaldsonville, located on the west bank, was settled in 1806 and served as the state capital from 1830-31. Gonzales, located on the east bank, was formally established in 1906 as a village, and later became a city in 1977. Gonzales holds the distinct title of “Jambalaya Capital of the World.” Sorrento, also on the east side, was originally known as Conway, and later renamed in 1909 after Sorrento, Italy. The community became classified as a town in 1962. Many other small towns make up Ascension Parish, including Geismar, Galvez, Dutchtown, Darrow, Prairieville and St. Amant, just to name a few.