Parishes in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Jamaica

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,509
What I don't understand about parishes in Louisiana is they are about the size of counties. I assume a parish would have been the area serviced by one church. Perhaps they are big because the early population of Louisiana was low.

Jamaica has 3 counties and 14 parishes. That makes parishes similar in size to townships in the northeastern US. Apparently those parishes were created after England took over the island, and were apparently the area serviced by a church.

Eastern South Carolina had parishes until Reconstruction. Those were apparently originally the area serviced by an Anglican church.
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,193
Kansas
What I don't understand about parishes in Louisiana is they are about the size of counties. I assume a parish would have been the area serviced by one church. Perhaps they are big because the early population of Louisiana was low.
Parishes (In the Catholic sense) dont need to be confined to one church, though they usually are.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,628
Las Vegas, NV USA
What I don't understand about parishes in Louisiana is they are about the size of counties. I assume a parish would have been the area serviced by one church. Perhaps they are big because the early population of Louisiana was low.
They are the same as counties in other states. The are secular government entities. All US states are wholly divided into county equivalents except Alaska.
 
Sep 2012
1,175
Tarkington, Texas
Louisiana was subdivided into Parishes instead of counties. The Americans tried to make them into Counties, but the people went back to calling them Parishes. Parishes were divided into Wards and ruled by Police Juries. Sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officers here. The Louisiana Sheriff is also the chief tax collector (except in New Orleans, I can't say why). Wards have a Marshal and a Judge or two, depending on the Population. If a Ward is too small, the Judge will be set up in the largest Ward. Calcasieu Parish has 8 Wards and two sets of Judicial Courts in Lake Charles and Sulphur. Ward Marshals normally deliver court papers.

In the old days Parish Churches were used by the French and Spanish. Jamaica was once Spanish so that may explain the connection. Not every Parish in Louisiana have a Catholic Church, but most do. In West Calcasieu Parish there are Catholic Churches in Westlake, Sulphur. and Vinton, Dequincy is serviced by a Mission from a Sulphur Church. The further North you go the fewer Catholics one finds. Many Parishes have a Catholic Church School. Most are in the South.

Pruitt
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,509
Interesting about Louisiana government. I guess it was based on the French and Spanish model, where there were royal appointees who were bosses. In English colonies, there was more rule of law and elections. However, things were still run mainly by people appointed by a governor appointed by the king and by the local oligarchy.

Perhaps they had divisions into parishes in South Carolina because most of the original planters and so on came from Barbados, which also had parishes. Barbados was never ruled by any European power than England. The Anglican Church made some reforms but continued to follow many Catholic practices, so I assume that is part of the reason for parishes various English colonies.