Born on September 11, 1862, in Ascension Parish, Joseph Gonzales became the first mayor, founder, and namesake of our beloved city. Joseph was a descendant of Spanish settlers from the Canary Islands who settled in Louisiana between 1778 and 1782.
Joseph had 9 siblings. Joseph married Felicite Mary Gonzales (born Bouregeois) in 1888, at age 23. Together they had 9 children.
The home of our city’s founding father, Joseph “Tee Joe” Gonzales is situated along New River. The house is open for tours by appointment. One can see local regalia, from school desks to switchboards!
In 1887 Tee Joe Gonzales opened a small shop in Gonzales and established its first post office, which was known as the Gonzales Post Office, and subsequently became Gonzales’ first postmaster. For this reason, a few years later, the Railroad Commission decided to change the name of the area from Edenborn to Gonzales to match the post office name and ordered the local railroad to change the name also.
Tee Joe ran the family business out of his little home, situated on the main street, and he and his brother bought land and sold it as smaller plots, and he encouraged policies that caused the growth of Gonzales.
Joseph Gonzales died in Gonzales on April 20, 1940, and he was buried in the town’s Saint Theresa of Avila Catholic Cemetery.
Joseph “Tee Joe” Gonzales Museum