Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
sidebar menu icon


FRENCHTOWN, TEXAS. Frenchtown was a neighborhood of four square blocks in Houston's Fifth Ward in Harris County. It comprised 500 blacks of French and Spanish descent from Louisiana, who came to northeastern Houston and organized a community in 1922. Many Frenchtown skilled or semiskilled workers, including mechanics, carpenters, sawmill workers, and bricklayers, were employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Their community of largely French-speaking Catholics was centered around Our Mother of Mercy Roman Catholic Church and had a rich Creole culture distinguished by its colorful patois, unique cuisine, and characteristic zydeco music. The women of the community refused to take employment as cooks, despite the appeal of their cooking. With no further influx of new residents, Frenchtown gradually merged into the larger community.

Marie Phelps McAshan, A Houston Legacy: On the Corner of Main and Texas (Houston: Gulf, 1985). James Martin SoRelle, The Darker Side of `Heaven': The Black Community in Houston, Texas, 1917–1945 (Ph.D. dissertation, Kent State University, 1980). Cary Wintz, Blacks in Houston (Houston Center for the Humanities, 1982). WPA Writers Program, Houston (Houston: Anson Jones, 1942).
Diana J. Kleiner

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Diana J. Kleiner, "Frenchtown, TX," accessed October 28, 2016,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!