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Parish History

Livingston Parish was created in 1832 from the southern portion of what was then St. Helena Parish, which occupied the area south of the present Louisiana-Mississippi boundary line and north of the Amite River and Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain. Boundaries were amended in 1850 and again in 1869 to the present boundaries.
One of the Florida Parishes, it is generally believed that the new parish was named in honor of Edward Livingston, a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson. However, it has also been argued that the parish may have been named for his brother, Robert Livingston, a well known lawyer and negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase as a minister to France.

Livingston Parish was one of the earliest settled parishes of the state, with both French and Spanish colonists settling here in the early 1700s in the Lake Maurepas area. The early settlers traveled the Amite River to Lake Maurepas then crossed the narrow pass into Lake Pontchartrain to get to New Orleans. Industry at that time centered primarily on farming, lumbering, and harvesting fish and seafood from the waterways.

The present Illinois Central Gulf rail line was constructed between 1854 and 1856, leading to the growth of communities along the rail line through Livingston Parish. Not long after that, the parish was embroiled with the rest of the country in the Civil War. Some 14 engagements of the Civil War were fought in Livingston Parish between 1862 and 1865. They included eight battles fought in the vicinity of the Amite River, one at Benton’s Ferry, two at French Settlement, two in the Springfield area and one on the Tickfaw River.

Transformed by Growth

The second fastest growing parish in the state, Livingston Parish has seen its population grow tremendously over the past 20 years. The 2000 census data lists nearly 92,000 Livingston Parish residents in over 32,000 households compared to just over 70,000 residents in 1990. Enrollment at the parish’s 36 public schools has increased from over 16,000 students in 1990 to over 20,000 students during the 2001-2002 school year. This growth has been attributed to the excellence of the parish’s schools, availability of affordable housing, low crime rates and good law enforcement, as well as the appeal of small-town community living.

Livingston Parish’s land area covers approximately 700 square miles plus approximately 100 miles of inland waterways. A total of 11 communities are located within the parish, eight of which are supported by municipal police departments. Approximately 75-80 percent of the residents of the parish live outside these eight municipalities and are served by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Today, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office operates with a team of 160 deputies and support staff on a $11 million annual budget funded primarily through property and sales taxes. Sheriff Jason Ard and his staff are active in many community events and activities, from parades and school functions to funeral escorts and crime prevention/education programs. “I’m blessed to have a staff that’s very committed to the community,” said Sheriff Ard. “We’re here to help everybody we can help and to make a difference in Livingston Parish.”

A proud history of service

The first sheriff of Livingston Parish was William Lee Breed who was elected in 1832. He served until 1835 when he became the first elected state representative from Livingston Parish. Other sheriffs who have served in Livingston Parish include:

Sylvester G. Parsons


H.J. Bostick


Jacob J. Watts


William L. Breed


James H. Harvey


J.H. Smart


George McMichael


Berlin B. Starns


Samuel Patterson


W.J. Gates


Simpson Kemp


Jesse T. Felder


Adam Lobell


P. Marion Bankson


M. William Watson


George W. Kimbell


F.E. Hill


James Gatlin


F.E. Hill


Jesse T. Felder


James R. Singletary


Daldridge A. Brannon


F.W. Miscar


George Felder


Charles Herman Miller


L.D. Allen


William Lemuel Smart


Simpson H. Sharp


Louis R. Kimball


Louis F. Harris


Rudolph P. Easterly


P.R. Erwin


Taft Faust


Odom Graves


Willie Graves

1996 to 2012

Jason Ard


* Died in office
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