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French: Paroisse des Tensas

The name Tensas is derived from the Taensa people. Tensas was established by act of the Louisiana Legislature on March 17, 1843. The seat of the parish is St. Joseph. In 2000, the population of the parish was 6,618. It is the least-populous parish of Louisiana. St. Joseph is located adjacent to the Mississippi River levee system. In 1861, the Tensas area was increased by the annexation of a part of Madison Parish. In 1870, Tensas lost a small portion of its land through an annexation by Franklin Parish. Today, its boundaries are the Tensas River on the west, the Mississippi River on the east, Madison Parish on the north and Concordia on the south. Tensas Parish and river are named for the Native American tribe that once hunted and fished its forests and streams, the Taensa.

There are three communities in the parish: Newellton, St. Joseph, and Waterproof. Newellton was founded by the planter and attorney John David Stokes Newell, Sr., who named it for his father Edward D. Newell, a North Carolina native. All three communities are linked by Highway 65, which passes just to the west of each town. The developed Lake Bruin State Park lies near St. Joseph. Lake Bruin is an oxbow lake created by the meandering of the Mississippi River.

Cities and towns

St. Joseph

Adjacent parishes and counties
Madison Parish (north)
Warren County, Mississippi (northeast)
Claiborne County and Jefferson County, Mississippi (east)
Adams County, Mississippi (southeast)
Concordia Parish (south)
Catahoula Parish (southwest)
Franklin Parish (west)


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Acadia Parish

Madison Parish

Allen Parish

Morehouse Parish

Ascension Parish

Natchitoches Parish

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Ouachita Parish

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Plaquemines Parish

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Pointe Coupee Parish

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Rapides Parish

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Red River Parish

Calcasieu Parish

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Cameron Parish

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St. Helena Parish

Concordia Parish

St. James Parish

DeSoto Parish

St. John The Baptist Parish

East Baton Rouge Parish

St. Landry Parish

East Carroll Parish

St. Martin Parish

East Feliciana Parish

St. Mary Parish

Evangeline Parish

St. Tammany Parish

Franklin Parish

Tangipahoa Parish

Grant Parish

Tensas Parish

Iberia Parish

Terrebonne Parish

Iberville Parish

Union Parish

Jackson Parish

Vermilion Parish

Jefferson Davis Parish

Vernon Parish

Jefferson Parish

Washington Parish


Webster Parish

Lafourche Parish

West Baton Rouge Parish

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Livingston Parish

Winn Parish



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