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Jefferson Parish Louisiana was established in 1825 and was named in honor of Thomas Jefferson commemorating his role in purchasing the Louisiana territory from France in 1803. The settlement of Jefferson Parish dates back to the 1600's, as seen in excavations within the boundaries of the Barataria Preserve of Jean Lafitte's National Park. Native American tribes, including ancestors of the area's Houma Indians, were found throughout Jefferson. French colonists began farming, soon joined by Spaniards, Germans, Africans and settlers from the Canary Islands. Later groups included Acadians (Cajuns) resettling from elsewhere in Louisiana, as well as Italians, Chinese and later Hispanic and Vietnamese immigrants as well.

The Parish originally extended from present day Felicity Street in New Orleans, Louisiana to the St. Charles Parish line. As Orleans Parish grew it annexed from Jefferson Parish such established areas as the Garden District, Lafayette, Jefferson and Carrollton. The present boundary was set in 1874 and the seat of Parish government was transferred to the West Bank in Gretna where it has remained.