Jena (pronunciation: ) is a town in and the parish seat of La Salle Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 2,971 at the 2000 census.
In September 2007, Jena became the focus of national news stories in the United States for a racial controversy involving its school system and a group of students known as the Jena Six.
Jena was named for Jena
, where French Emperor Napoleon I
won the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Jena has gained international attention for supposedly being an example of the "new 'stealth' racism" and "reverse discrimination
" in the United States
with focus through a National Public Radio
prime time story on July 30. The town was also featured in a BBC documentary, This World: "Race hate in Louisiana"
Jena is located at (31.689993, -92.124781) and has an elevation of .
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 13.9 km² (5.4 mi²), all land.
- Webb Quarters
- Possum Point
- White Sulphur Springs
As of the census
of 2000, there were 2,971 people, 1,135 households, and 749 families residing in the town. The population density
was 552.7 people per square mile (213.2/km²). There were 1,264 housing units at an average density of 235.2/sq mi (90.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 85.56% White
, 12.02% African American
, 0.67% Native American
, 0.47% Asian
, 0.50% from other races
, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 1.21% of the population.
There were 1,135 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were 21 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the town the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 22.5% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $30,938, and the median income for a family was $39,848. Males had a median income of $31,332 versus $18,317 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,761. About 9.9% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.2% of those under age 18 and 17.0% of those age 65 or over.
The La Salle Parish School Board
is also located in Jena.
The following schools serve Jena
- Jena High School, 9–12 (Jena)
- Jena Junior High School, 7 & 8 (Jena)
- Goodpine Middle School, 4–6 (Trout/Goodpine)
- Jena Elementary School, PreK - 3 (Jena)
- Fellowship Elementary School, Pre-K-8 (Belah)
- Nebo Elementary School, PreK-8 (Nebo)
- Temple Christian Academy, Private PreK-8 (Jena)
Hospital Service District #2 of LaSalle Parish, also known as LaSalle General Hospital, is a 60-bed medical facility, with a 24 hour Emergency Department
, a home health, a 101 bed nursing home
, and physical therapy
. The hospital is currently undertaking a $4 million dollar expansion project.
Notable natives and residents
- George Reuben Trussell (1911-2008) served on the elected La Salle Parish Police Jury (county commission in other states) for more than a quarter century and as president of the body for fifteen years.
- Mike Francis, former Louisiana Republican state chairman, was born in Jena.
- Ralph Weyland "Bo" Trussell (1948-1983), son of George Trussel, a former magazine journalist.
- Speedy O. Long (1928-2006), a member of the popular Long political dynasty.