JEANERETTE — The City of Jeanerette will soon be changing to the Town of Jeanerette. The 2020 Census count was at 4,813 people. According to the Louisiana Directory of Cities, Towns, and Villages, the population must be more than 5,000 to be considered a city.
Demographer Mike Hefner says not many things will change. One thing that will stay the same is the number of districts and aldermen.
"They're under what you call a Lawrason Act. They have five districts that set for. They can have four districts and one at large, or five single districts," Hefner, Chief Demographer, Geographic Planning and Demographic Services, said.
Hefner says Jeanerette lost their status as a city when the 2020 census was released in August, but the official determination comes from the state.
According to the Census Bureau, the population was 5,385 in 2019; in 2020, it was 4,813. Hefner says it is likely more than 5,000 people live in Jeanerette; however, not everyone filled out a census.
"That's going to hurt the town overall, especially those that need services," Hefner added.
Hefner says 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 explained.
The demographer says 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," added Bourgeois. "We're still the city of Jeanerette. Until all of that is finalized, we will remain the city."