JEANERETTE, La. (AP) — A city in southwest Louisiana could be losing its city status after population loss in the latest Census.
According to the Louisiana Directory of Cities, Towns and Villages, the population must be more than 5,000 to be considered a city. The 2020 Census count for the City of Jeanerette was about 200 fewer people, officials said.
Mike Hefner, chief demographer for Geographic Planning and Demographic Services, tells KATC-TV an official determination, however, comes from the state.
According to the Census Bureau, the population was 5,385 in 2019; in 2020, it was 4,813. Hefner said it is likely more than 5,000 people live in Jeanerette; however, not everyone filled out a census survey.
“That’s going to hurt the town overall, especially those that need services,” he added.
Hefner said fewer people living in an area means fewer police officers, fewer emergency services, and less assistance from the state.
“When you’re a city, you generally get a more generous allocation on that. When you’re a town, you won’t get as much as you did. It hurts financially more than anything,” Hefner said.
The demographer said Jeanerette can challenge the census count, but it is an expensive process.
“If you haven’t participated, please say, ‘I didn’t. I need to be counted.’ I think if we can get that information, we can see where we can retain our status as a city,” Mayor Carol Bourgeois said.
“It hurts the city,” she said. “We’re still the city of Jeanerette. Until all of that is finalized, we will remain the city.”
One thing that will likely stay the same is the number of districts and aldermen.
“They’re under what you call a Lawrason Act. They have five districts that’s set for. They can have four districts and one at large, or five single districts,” Hefner said.