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Jefferson Davis Parish

Named for the president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis Parish was carved out of the "Imperial Calcasieu" Parish in 1912.  Early settlers to the region included German, Irish, Italian, and Acadian immigrants.Jefferson Davis Parish Map

Attracted to the Southern Pacific Railroad, a large influx of midwestern immigrants from half a dozen states also came to the region, with Iowans comprising the largest group.  The Midwestern immigrants were instrumental in establishing the southwestern Louisiana rice industry through the introduction of steam-powered technology and an extensive irrigation system.

Jefferson Davis Parish is perhaps best known for its parish seat, Jennings, which bears the recognition and title as "Cradle of the Louisiana Oil Industry."  The discovery and successful drilling of the first oil well in Louisiana transpired at Jennings Oil Field, five miles east of Jennings in the community of Evangeline on September 21, 1901, thereby commencing the state’s most lucrative industry.

DOTD Jefferson Davis Parish MapIn recent years, however, agriculture has been the bastion of the parish’s economy.  Present-day Jefferson Davis, with a population of slightly over 30,000, leads the state in rice production.  The parish also produces soybeans, corn, beef cattle, sweet potatoes, and a variety of vegetable crops.  Forestry, especially timber, remains a viable industry as well.

Traveling east on Interstate 10, Jeff Davis Parish offers a first glimpse of Acadiana and if traveling west, a last chance to explore and experience the unique Cajun culture.  The cities and towns of Jennings, Lake Arthur, Welsh and Elton provide the visitor with an opportunity to stroll down brick sidewalks with gaslights, view National Historic Register homes, Victorian architecture, unique museums, a replica of the state's first oil well, and scenic byways.  Jefferson Davis Parish is also home to the Coushatta Indians, a wildlife refuge, and Rambeaux, a 100-year-old, 100-pound turtle.  Both residents and tourists enjoy the authentic cuisine of gumbo, jambalaya, and boudin.

by Alana A. Carmon


Principle Towns




Lake Arthur


Jefferson Davis Parish Tourism Commission

Events and Festivals

Jennings Alive Arts and Crafts Festival

Lake Arthur Christmas Festival

Historic Sites, Plantations & Museums

W. H. Tupper Museum (Jennings)

Zigler Museum (Jennings)

The Louisiana Telephone Pioneer Museum (Jennings)

National Register of Historic Places

Wildlife Preserves

Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge



Chateau des Cocodries (Jennings)

Jefferson Davis Parish Library

Jefferson Davis Parish Courthouses

LSU AgCenter