Houma is a city in and the parish seat of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, and the largest principal city of the Houma–Bayou Cane–Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's powers of government have been absorbed by the parish, which is now run by the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government. The population was 33,727 at the 2010 census, an increase of 1,334 over the 2000 tabulation of 32,393. The city is nearly two thirds white.
Many unincorporated areas are adjacent to the city of Houma; the largest, Bayou Cane, is an urbanized area commonly referred to by locals as being part of Houma. It is not included in the city's census counts, and is a separate census-designated place. If the populations of the urbanized census-designated places were included with that of the city of Houma, the total would exceed 60,000 residents. The city was named after the historic Native American tribe of Houma people, believed to be related to the Choctaw. The United Houma Nation Tribe is recognized by the state of Louisiana, although it has not achieved federal recognition.
Houma was rated as an "Affordable" city by Demographia's International Housing Survey.
Houma was founded by European Americans in 1834 at a former settlement of the Houma. It was incorporated in 1848, and again in 1898.
In 1862, four Union soldiers en route by wagon from New Orleans to Houma were ambushed by several armed citizens. Two of the Union men were killed, and the other two were seriously wounded. In retaliation, Union officers brought 400 Union troops into Houma, where they began a wholesale arrest of residents. In his 1963 book, the historian John D. Winters describes the events:
"The investigation of the murders lasted several days but failed to reveal the guilty parties. To frighten the citizens, the home of a Doctor Jennings was burned, two other houses were torn down, and the home and slave quarters of an outlying plantation were burned. The soldiers next began to seize sheep, cattle, mules, wagons, and saddle horses. Negroes began to desert their masters and to flock to the protection of the troops. The frightened citizens had no means of resistance, and many found it hard to stand by and see their country despoiled by a few hundred troops."
In the summer of 1961, a cache of munitions located in Houma was raided by a group of men who claimed to be "liberating" the weaponry as per the instructions of the CIA. The raid included certain individuals who would later become entwined with the New Orleans aspects of the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy. David Ferrie and Guy Banister were two of the men who participated in the raid, and were also accused of involvement in the plot to kill Kennedy because of the president's attempts at peace with Cuba and Vietnam. These accusations were the result of an investigation by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, who is well known for his attempts at uncovering a conspiracy surrounding the assassination.