A short tour of history

Staff Report

     Donaldsonville is a small city with numerous historic sites of live history, meaning the events or persons were actually a part of the city.

Its story begins in 1806 when landowner and planter William Donaldson commissioned the architect and planner, Barthelemy Lafon, to plan a new town at the site, to be renamed Donaldsonville after him. Donaldsonville served as the Louisiana state capitol from January 1830 to January 1831.

In the summer of 1862, Donaldsonville was bombarded by Union forces during the American Civil War as part of the Union's efforts to gain control of the Mississippi River. The Union sent gunboats to the city and warned that if shots were fired, the Union Navy would strike the area for six miles to the south and nine miles to the north and destroy every building on every plantation. Admiral David G. Farragut destroyed much of the former state capital and put Ascension Parish under martial law, extending that to other River parishes.

After the war, Donaldsonville became the third largest black community in the state, as many freedmen moved there to join those who had settled near Union forces for safety during the war.

In 1868, the city elected the first African-American mayor in the United States, Pierre Caliste Landry, a former slave who had been educated in schools on a plantation owned by the Bringier family. After the war, he had advanced to become an attorney and state politician, serving in both houses of the legislature.

And its story grew to include so many other pieces of history. With its bright future ahead and plans to restore its culture,The Donaldsonville Chief would like to know, what's your favorite thing about Donaldsonville? Send us an email, give us a call (225) 473-3101, or stop by 120 Railroad Ave.