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Gretna, Louisiana

Gretna, Louisiana
Gretna City Hall
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Jefferson
Elevation 0 ft (0 m) [1]
Area 3.9 sq mi (10.1 km2)
 - land 3.5 sq mi (9 km2)
 - water 0.4 sq mi (1 km2), 10.26%
Population 17,736 (2010)
Density 4,983.9 / sq mi (1,924.3 / km2)
Mayor Belinda Cambre Constant
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 70053, 70056
Area code 504
Location of Gretna in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States

Gretna is the second-largest city and parish seat of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. [2] [3] Gretna is on the west bank of the Mississippi River, just east and across the river from uptown New Orleans. It is part of the New OrleansMetairieKenner Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 17,736 at the 2010 census.[4]


  • History 1
    • Hurricane Katrina controversy 1.1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Government and infrastructure 4
  • Education 5
    • Primary and secondary schools 5.1
    • Public libraries 5.2
  • Culture 6
  • Notable people 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10
    • Audio and video 10.1


Gretna was settled in 1836,[5] originally as Mechanicsham, growing with a station on the Mississippi River for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, Texas and Pacific Railway, and Southern Pacific Railroad, with a ferry across the River to New Orleans. The famous spice-maker Zatarain's was founded here in 1889. Gretna was incorporated in 1913, absorbing the section of McDonogh within the Jefferson Parish boundaries. In the 1940 census, Gretna had a population of 10,879.

Hurricane Katrina controversy

High water along the Mississippi River levee at Gretna, 2005

The City of Gretna received considerable press coverage when, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (late August 2005), people who attempted to escape from New Orleans by walking over the Crescent City Connection bridge over the Mississippi River were turned back at gunpoint by City of Gretna Police, along with Crescent City Connection Police and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputies, who set up a roadblock on the bridge in the days following the hurricane. According to eyewitnesses, some officers threatened to shoot those coming from New Orleans as they attempted to cross into Gretna on foot, and shots were fired overhead.[6]


Gretna is located on (29.916459, -90.054260) [7] and has an elevation of 0 feet (0 m).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10 km2), of which 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (9.33%) is water.


As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 17,734 people, 6,958 households, and 4,286 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,685 people per square mile (1,922.0/km²). There were 7,665 housing units at an average density of 2,082 per square mile (845.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 48.05% White, 20.43% African American, 1.20% Native American, 8.12% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 4.03% from other races, and 2.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.38% of the population.

There were 6,958 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.7% were married couples living together, 19.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.4% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 23.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years, higher than Louisiana's median age of 34.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,065, and the median income for a family was $31,881. Males had a median income of $28,259 versus $21,019 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,735. About 20.8% of families and 24.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.7% of those under age 18 and 20.2% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure

Gretna Post Office

The United States Postal Service operates the Gretna Post Office.[9]


Primary and secondary schools

Gretna's public schools are operated by the Timberlane, an unincorporated area.[11]

Most residents are zoned to Gretna Middle School, while some are zoned to Livaudais Middle School in Terrytown.[12] Most residents are zoned to West Jefferson High School in Harvey, an unincorporated area of Jefferson Parish, while some are zoned to Helen Cox High School, also located in Harvey.[13] In regards to advanced studies academies, residents are zoned to the Gretna Academy.[14]

Gretna #2 Academy for Advanced Studies a Pre-5 magnet school and L. W. Ruppel Academy, a 6-8 magnet school, are in Gretna.[15] Thomas Jefferson High School [2] is another magnet school in Gretna.

Previously Kate Middleton Elementary in Terrytown served a portion of Gretna.[16] In 2012 Kate Middleton Elementary closed.[17]

Milestone Sabis Academy, a K-8 charter school, is in Gretna.

Public libraries

Jefferson Parish Library operates the Gretna Public Library in Gretna. The current facility, with more than 5,800 square feet (540 m2) of space, opened on March 17, 2010. The library includes a 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) meeting room that can accommodate 58 people. The library is almost twice the size of the previous 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) facility.[18]

Gretna Police Department


Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "Gretna, Louisiana".  
  2. ^ "Gretna, Louisiana (LA) Detailed Profile" (notes), City Data, 2007, webpage: C-Gretna.
  3. ^ "Census 2000 Data for the State of Louisiana" (town list), US Census Bureau, May 2003, webpage: C2000-LA.
  4. ^ a b "Gretna (city), Louisiana". Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ "City of Gretna". City of Gretna. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  6. ^ "Police in Suburbs Blocked Evacuees, Witnesses Report".  
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Post Office Location - GRETNA." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on September 27, 2010.
  10. ^ "Map" (Archive). City of Gretna. Retrieved on May 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "Westbank Elementary." (Archive) Jefferson Parish Public School System. Retrieved on September 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "Middle School Districts 2012-2013 West Bank of Jefferson Parish Louisiana" (Archive). Jefferson Parish Public Schools. Retrieved on May 18, 2014.
  13. ^ "High School Districts 2012-2013 West Bank of Jefferson Parish Louisiana" (Archive). Jefferson Parish Public Schools. Retrieved on May 18, 2014.
  14. ^ "Westbank Advanced Studies Academies Attendance Zones" (Archive). Jefferson Parish Public Schools. Retrieved on May 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "L. W. Ruppel Academy." City of Gretna. Retrieved on September 26, 2010.
  16. ^ "Elementary School Districts 2009-2010 West Bank of Jefferson Parish Louisiana." (Archive) Jefferson Parish Public School System. Retrieved on September 26, 2010.
  17. ^ Waller, Mark. "Group of schools shuts down as Jefferson Parish adjourns for the summer." The Times-Picayune. May 25, 2012. Retrieved on April 4, 2013.
  18. ^ "The New Gretna Library Opens." Jefferson Parish Library. Retrieved on September 28, 2010.
  19. ^ "Joseph J. Bouie". Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  20. ^ "James St. Raymond". Retrieved May 22, 2015. 

External links

  • City of Gretna Website
  • Gretna Police Department
  • Gretna Heritage Festival
  • The real heroes and sheroes of New Orleans (First report of the bridge incident that was later picked up by major media.)
  • March to Gretna
  • "The Bridge to Gretna" story from CBS News 60 Minutes program, December 18, 2005

Audio and video

  • Trapped in New Orleans: Emergency Medical Worker Describes How Police Prevented Evacuation, from Pacifica Democracy Now! program, September 16, 2005
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