Martin Parish is part of the Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area. Martin Parish have French fluency, geneve 1840-1860 PDF as one of the highest concentrations of French speakers in the nation.
In 1811, the division of Attakapas Parish created St. Martin Parish was divided, resulting in the creation of Lafayette Parish. Martin Parish was largely colonized by people from France and Acadia in the 1700s, accounting for the large concentration of French-speaking population today. The Acadians brought with them the tale of Evangeline, a young woman who was separated from her supposedly-mortally-wounded betrothed during the Expulsion of the Acadians. Martin was a very prosperous parish, growing rapidly in the early 1800s.
Most of the money at that time was being made by raising cattle. Other profitable crops were cotton, sugar, corn, rice and tobacco. These were sold to the New Orleans market. Wealthy planters utilized slave labor on their plantations, and by 1860, there were over 7,000 slaves in the parish.
A yellow fever epidemic in 1855, followed by a deadly fire and a destructive hurricane, ended an era of unbridled prosperity. These events, combined with the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction took a heavy toll on the parish. The parish is split into two non-contiguous parts because of a surveying error dating to 1868, when Iberia Parish was created by the Louisiana Legislature. Martin Parish into two separate areas, Upper and Lower St. Martin Parish has a wealth of oak and magnolia trees.
The parish has both national and state protected areas within its borders. Part of the Attakapas Wildlife Management Area is located within St. Martin Parish as well as in St. As of the census of 2000, there were 48,583 people, 17,164 households, and 12,975 families residing in the parish. There were 17,164 households out of which 39.