Houma /hoʊmə/ is a city in and the parish seat of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, United States, 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 32,393 at the 2000 census. There are many unincorporated areas adjacent to the city of Houma; the largest, Bayou Cane, is an urbanized area commonly referred to by locals as Houma. But, it is not included in the 2000 census count, and is in fact a separate census-designated place. The name Houma derives from the Houmas Indian tribe, which is not recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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 the citizenry. 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."