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The city of Gretna is the parish seat of Jefferson Parish, in the US state of Louisianamarker.

Gretna is on the west bank of the Mississippi River, just east and across the river from uptown New Orleansmarker. It is part of the New OrleansmarkerMetairiemarkerKennermarker Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 17,423 at the 2000 census.


Gretna was settled in 1836 , originally as Mechanicsham, growing with a station on the Mississippi River for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, Texas and Pacific Railroad, and Southern Pacific Railroad, with a ferry across the River to New Orleansmarker. 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

The City of Gretna received considerable press coverage when, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (late August 2005), displaced and dehydrated survivors who attempted to escape from New Orleans by walking over the Crescent City Connectionmarker 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 of these officers threatened to shoot New Orleans residents and tourists as they attempted to cross into Gretna on foot.


Gretna is located on (29.916459, -90.054260) and has an elevation of .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10.0 km²), of which, 3.5 square miles (9.1 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (9.33%) is water


As of the census of 2000, there were 17,423 people, 6,958 households, and 4,286 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,983.9 people per square mile (1,922.0/km²). There were 7,665 housing units at an average density of 2,192.6/sq mi (845.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.32% White, 35.53% African American, 0.60% Native American, 3.12% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.63% from other races, and 1.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.34% 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 population was spread out with 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.


Gretna's public schools are operated by the Jefferson Parish Public Schools agency.Schools are in the City of Gretna unless otherwise noted.

Elementary schools:
  • George Cox Elementary School (Unincorporated Jefferson Parish, Gretna address)
  • Frederick Douglass Elementary School
  • Gretna Park Elementary School
  • William Hart Elementary School
  • McDonogh #26 Elementary School
  • Middleton Elementary School
  • Solis Elementary School (Unincorporated Jefferson Parish, Gretna address)
  • Terrytown Elementary School (Unincorporated Jefferson Parish, Gretna address)

Middle schools:
  • Gretna Middle School
  • L.W.Ruppel Academy for Advanced Studies
  • Livaudais Middle School (Unincorporated Jefferson Parish, Gretna address)

High schools:

Gretna Police Department


Notable natives and residents

See also


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