South Eastern Louisiana – The Florida Parishes
From the Pearl River on the east to the Mississippi River on the west, the eight parishes, which form the area of Southeast Louisiana north of Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas are known as the Florida Parishes. Recognized by knowledgeable historians and proponents of ecological and cultural heritage tourism for its many and varied unique environmental, historical and cultural resources, this area had enormous significance in the development of the Louisiana Territory and the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It is our contention that it has an even larger role to play in the intelligent development of tourism in the region.
First claimed by Spain as part of La Florida when visited by Hernando De Soto’s expedition 1538-1542, it was also claimed by Rene’ Robert Cavalier de La Salle for France in 1682; secured in 1699 by the French Canadian expedition of the Le Moyne brothers, it was ceded by a secret Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1762 as part of the Biloxi District of Louisiana to the Spanish crown.
However, by the Treaty of Paris, in 1763, which ended the Seven Years War (French and Indian War), France lost all her territory east of the Mississippi River to England, including the Florida Parishes, which became the Manchac District of British West Florida. However, by the Preliminary Articles of the 1781 Treaty of Peace ending the Revolutionary War in North America, England deeded the Florida Parishes to Spain. It became the District of Feliciana.
When President Thomas Jefferson determined to buy the Isle de Orleans from Napoleon Bonaparte,
the American representatives in Paris, Robert Livingston and James Monroe, were instructed to include portions of the north shore in the purchase. The access to New Orleans and the Mississippi river near Baton Rouge through Lakes Borgne, Pontchartrain, and Maurepas were considered necessary, as it provided an easier and alternate access to New Olreans and the river above, in the days before steam when it could take several days for a sailing ship to make its way upriver against the current.
Despite the ownership of the Florida Parishes by Spain, with the large influx of settlers whose sentiments were with the U.S., by 1810 President James Madison felt confident enough to declare West Florida as having been part of the Louisiana Purchase. This, plus the surrender of the British to U.S. Naval Captain William Pickles during the Revolutionary War Battle of Lake Pontchartrain in 1779, established America’s claim to the territory.
East Baton Rouge,
St..Tammany, the Gateway Parish
Including some of the River Parishes, they form the Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council.