The town of Houma, Louisiana, was founded in 1834. It is the seat of Terrebonne Parish. The area’s main industry in the 19th and early 20th century was sugar. The railroad reached Houma in 1872, facilitating the transportation of sugar to New Orleans and beyond. Other major early industries included fish, shrimp, and oysters (Terrebonne Parish was once known as the “Oyster Capital of America”). Petroleum was discovered near Houma in 1917. Large-scale drilling began there in the 1920s, and today, Houma is a center of Louisiana’s oil industry.
The weekly Houma Courier was founded in 1878. Andrew F. Chanfreau edited it until 1896 and was succeeded by Easton Duval and T. B. Duval. The paper was originally issued in four pages, with two in English and two in French. By the 1880s, articles were mostly in English, with scattered French content. Politically, it supported the Democratic Party.
As a typical 19th-century “home” newspaper, the Courier carried a mix of news, general-interest essays, and fiction, largely copied from other sources, plus short local news items, advertisements, and the minutes of the parish police jury (similar to county councils in other states). After about 1910, the paper reported almost entirely local news, especially topics related to agriculture, education, politics, and entertainment. In September 1906, the Courier issued an illustrated “magazine edition” that profiled local businesses and civic leaders and gave a brief history of Terrebonne Parish.
The Houma Courier was published until 1939, when it became the Houma Daily Courier [LCCN: sn88064123].