Louisiana Division/City Archives
New Orleans Public Library

Sources for Researching the History of Your House (Or Other Building) in New Orleans

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

The Sanborn maps are multi-volume compilations, each book representing a different section of the city. Each contains scale (1" = 50' ) renderings of the plan views of all buildings standing at the time of the preparation of the volume. In the original volumes, drawings are color-coded to show the type of building material and are further keyed to show the height, number of floors, type of roof, and the use of each structure. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, and house and block numbers.

The Sanborn maps (as well as the Robinson Atlas, and the more detailed plan books that are described later) all serve the same purpose. They show that a building was standing at a particular time and they also show, by the presence of a different building at a given location, that the currently existing structure dates from after that time. Of course these sources also provide invaluable information on buildings that are no longer standing.

Note: The first set of maps (1885-1893, vols. 1-4) use the "old" street number system. (See Street Name & Number Changes.

Original and Microform Versions of the Sanborn Maps, 1885-1994
The Louisiana Division has access to Sanborn Maps for the city of New Orleans for the period 1885-1994. The Division owns original volumes starting with the 1908/1909 series, continuing through the volumes produced in 1994. For the first two Sanborn sets, dating from the 1880s and 1890s, NOPL access is limited to microfilm copies (and to the digital versions described below).

The older (pre-1967) volumes were periodically updated by pasted-in corrections to reflect new construction and/or demolitions. The Louisiana Division was fortunate to have several duplicate volumes for some of the early years. This enabled us to remove the pasted-in corrections from some of the volumes to, in effect, produce several "new" volumes for years that were previously unavailable.

Digital Sanborn Maps, 1885-1951
Various volumes of the Sanborn Maps published between 1885-1951 have been digitized, and are available in a subscription-only database. This database is available to all users in any NOPL facility. Remote access to the database is limited to New Orleans Public Library card holders only.

To access the online version, go to lalibcon.state.lib.la.us and follow the instructions given to log on. Once you've logged on, choose the Sanborn Maps link from the left column.

INDEXING for individual volumes of the Sanborn Maps appears at the front of each volume.

General Indexes
Published indexes for the Sanborn sets are also available for the 1909, 1937, 1940, 1944-1946 (supplement), 1965, 1978 and 1994 editions of the maps. The volumes and pagination remain stable after 1940 -- except for later additions or divisions of volumes in later years.
912.76335 S19g and 912.76335 S19ge.

Online Indexes
The indexes to the first 3 sets of Sanborns (1885-1893; 1895-1896; and 1908-1909) have been databased and are available on our website at neworleanspubliclibrary.org/info/louinfo/sanbornindex/sanbornindex.htm.

Volumes Available
Our holdings for each volume in the original and on microfilm are listed below, along with volumes available in the digital version. (Please note that due to their fragile condition, the 1908-1909 original volumes have been retired from general use.) The 1994 edition is in a reduced-size format, without color coding. The 1978 edition is also available in such a format. The microfilm and online versions, of course, are also black and white only.

Original only  |   Microfilm only  |   Microfilm and original  |   Online      
vol. 1 1885** 1896** 1908** 1934 1937** 1950 1951 1952 1964 1967 1969 1970 1978 1983 1994
vol. 1A 1940** 1950 1951 1952 1964 1978 1983 1994
vol. 2 1885** 1895** 1908** 1940** 1950 1951 1952 1967 1969 1970 1978 1983 1994
vol. 3 1887** 1896** 1908** 1940** 1950 1951 1952 1964 1969 1970 1978 1983 1994
vol. 4 1893** 1896** 1909** 1950 1951 1952 1964 1968 1969 1970 1978 1983 1994
vol. 5 1909** 1951** 1952 1964 1968 1969 1970 1978 1983 1994
vol. 6 1909** 1951** 1952 1964 1968 1969 1970 1978 1983 1994
vol. 6A 1940** 1951 1952 1964 1968 1969 1970 1978 1983 1994
vol. 7 1909** 1931 1937** 1950 1951 1952 1964 1966 1970 1978 1983 1994
vol. 8 1929** 1950 1951 1952 1964 1968 1978 1983 1994
vol. 9 1937** 1950 1951 1952 1964 1994
vol. 9E 1968 1978 1983 1994
vol. 9W 1968 1978 1983 1994
vol. 10 1929 1950 1951 1952 1964 1968 1978 1983 1994
vol. 13 1978 1983 1994
vol. 16 1978 1983 1994
vol. 17 1978 1983 1994
vol. 18 1978 1983 1994

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