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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


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

Diana J. Kleiner, "FRENCHTOWN, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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