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Once a railroad hub and the current anchor of Interstate 55, LaPlace is just up the river from New Orleans. The town combines the best of rural southeastern Louisiana life with easy access to the state’s two largest metropolitan areas in New Orleans and the state capitol, Baton Rouge.
Like many communities in southeastern Louisiana, LaPlace has Acadian French roots. Sugar farmer and pharmacist Basile Laplace gave the small town its name in the late 1700s. Officials later decided to change the capitalization of the town’s name. Some residents claim that Basile had a questionable background and that the name change was to distance it from its founder’s rakish reputation; others believe the change evolved naturally as a way to tell visitors how to pronounce the town’s name.
As New Orleans became an increasingly important port, the communities up-river from it also prospered, particularly LaPlace. In the late 1800s, its rail station made it a vital link between imported goods coming up the river and exports moving down from major metropolitan centers farther north. Manufacturing jobs enjoyed a boom throughout the earlier half of the 20th century, but as Baton Rouge and New Orleans grew, LaPlace evolved into more of a bedroom community.
Today, LaPlace retains its rural atmosphere and relaxed pace. Fields of sugar cane still cover much of the surrounding land, and spreading oak trees line the older streets in town. As home to the Port of South Louisiana, it’s also a key part of the nation’s infrastructure.
Like most communities on the Mississippi Delta, LaPlace is flat and low-lying. Long levees protect the town from the Mississippi River that curves into its southern edge and Lake Pontchartrain is to its northeast. Although the region is an average of 10 feet above sea level, many homes are built off the ground to cope with flood waters. The table-flat topography makes low-lying areas especially susceptible to flooding, but residents have built to accommodate the occasional spring or summer flood.
Population and Demographics
More than 32,000 people call LaPlace home, according to the most recent U.S. Census data. It’s a diverse community, and although census figures show a predominantly white populace, that figure doesn’t illustrate the true diversity of the region. LaPlace is at the northern edge of Cajun country, and many older lifelong residents still speak Cajun French as fluently as they speak English. Because of its busy port, LaPlace is an unusual and lively combination of small-town life and cosmopolitan diversity.
Attractions and Events
Known as the andouille capital of the world, LaPlace is famous in the region for its festivals. The annual Andouille Festival in the fall is a draw for visitors from neighboring Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi as well as thousands of locals.
Elements of the old and new combine in St. John the Baptist Parish, and that includes LaPlace. Plantation homes still dot the region, attracting visitors who want a glimpse of antebellum life. Other attractions are decidedly more modern. The film industry has become a thriving industry in LaPlace, and locals often get to see movie magic being made. “Monster’s Ball” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” are two major productions that filmed entirely or partially in the area.
One word best describes southeastern Louisiana’s climate: sultry. Temperatures in LaPlace can soar into triple digits in August and the humidity often tops 90 percent. Like other communities in the region, LaPlace is prone to tropical storms during hurricane season, which lasts from June through November. Winters are typically mild but overnight freezes happen at least a few times a year.
Bryans United Air Conditioning in LaPlace, LA
In southeastern Louisiana, a reliable air conditioning service is a must. Owners of old homes that need conversion to central air or newer houses that are ready for upgrades have learned to trust reliable names that have supplied cool comfort to the region for years. Bryans United Air Conditioning is based in nearby Gretna, LA, and the company has been serving the community since 1982. Certified, factory-trained technicians can take care of everything from the retro-fitted ductwork in a centuries-old plantation home to an emergency repair on the hottest August day.