Donaldsonville History


  • Donaldsonville, Louisiana is the parish seat of Ascension Parish, located on the west bank of the Mississippi River which served as the capitol of Louisiana from 1829-1831.

  • The city is situated between New Orleans and Baton Rouge in the southeast region of the state.

  • The city's population, as of 2012, was 7,436.

  • The area is surrounded by several industrial and chemical facilities, a food manufacturing facility, and miles of sugarcane fields.
  • The Historic District is second in size and importance to just the French Quarter in New Orleans


Donaldsonville has a wealth of riches for those interested in history. 

The city's history dates back to 1805 when Englishman William Donaldson purchased land near Bayou Lafourche from Acadian Marguerite Allain. By 1806, "Donaldson" was dedicated. The mostly French population called it "La Ville de Donaldson."

In 1823, with a growing English presence, it was reincorporated under its present name, Donaldsonville.  From 1829-1831, Donaldsonville served as the capitol of Louisiana.

In 1903, a two-century-old debate ended with the damming of Bayou Lafourche in favor of locks to prevent seasonal flooding in the bayou’s lower reaches.  Once the debate ended, so did the talk of locks and for two decades Donaldsonville declined. With the advent of the automobile, by 1930, this was reversed, and the town once again resumed it onward development.

Historically, Ascension Parish was always an agricultural economy.  In the 1950’s and 60’s this changed with the addition of major industries, the Sunshine Bridge over the Mississippi, and the opening of Interstate 10.

Donaldsonville is known today as the “Gateway to Cajun and Plantation Country” because of its rich heritage and the numerous plantations along the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche.

The city capitalizes on its hometown charm and character. It has a passionate core of citizens interested in making the most of the opportunities to create a dynamic and prosperous future.

Studies have shown a steady flow of a quarter of a million tourists to the river plantation region surrounding Donaldsonville. The area boasts the magnificent resources of the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche, which begins in Donaldsonville and ends in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mayor and Council of Donaldsonville are here to serve you. Please take some time to explore our website to find out more about our city. If you are looking for more resources, feel free to give us a call at (225) 473-4247.

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