New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70112-2044
During the period 1836-1852 the city of New Orleans was legally divided into three separate municipalities [for additional information on these subdivisions, see the reverse of this sheet]. While the city had one Mayor and a General Council, each of the municipalities also had its own Council, as well as numerous administrative officers. This division ended in 1852 with the reconsolidation of the city of New Orleans.
This division of the city has caused a good deal of confusion for researchers using the 1850 census schedules for New Orleans. Part of the problem stems from the actual designations made by the census marshals on the manuscript schedules (designations that were not corrected or explained in the microfilm edition). The confusion brought about by those designations has been compounded by inconsistencies in the citations contained in the Accelerated Indexing Systems, Inc. index to the 1850 Louisiana census. The notes below should resolve most, if not all, of the confusion.
Any reference in the index to a ward (e.g., 1st ward) in Orleans Parish means that the page number will be on microfilm roll #432- 238, which covers the city's Third Municipality.
Any reference to "3rd Rep" in Orleans Parish means that the page number will be on microfilm roll #432-234. The 3rd Representative District was made up of the 5th, 6th, and 7th wards of the Second Municipality.
Any reference to "Right Ba" in Orleans Parish means that the page number will be on microfilm roll #432-234. The reference is to the Right Bank of the Mississippi River, also known as Algiers.
Reference merely to "New Orle", in Orleans Parish, with no other geographical designation, means that the page number will be on roll #432-235, 432-236, or 432-237. The first two rolls cover the First Municipality; the last roll, portions of the Second Municipality. Roll #432-235 includes pages numbered from 1-170; #432-236, pages 171-402; and #432-237, pages 1-271. Thus a reference to a page number higher than 271 will have to be on roll #432-236; reference to a page number of 271 or lower would have to be checked on all of the rolls that include that page number. One last tip: if the name is French or Spanish, check the First Municipality first; if the name is English, Irish, German, etc., then check the Second Municipality. This does not always work, but it does make some sense based on settlement patterns within the city at the time.
[The First Municipality included the original city of New Orleans, now known as the Vieux Carre or French Quarter. It lay between Canal St. and Esplanade Ave. In 1852 it became the Second Municipal District.
The Second Municipality, sometimes called the American Sector, lay above (upriver from) Canal St. It included the area of the city previously known as the Faubourg St. Mary. In 1852 it became the First Municipal District.
The Third Municipality, below (downriver from) Esplanade Ave., included the section previously known as the Faubourg Marigny. In 1852 it became the Third Municipal District.]
It might also be helpful to note that certain sections of present-day New Orleans were not within Orleans Parish in 1850 when the census was taken. These sections, which comprise what is now known collectively as "Uptown" New Orleans, were then in neighboring Jefferson Parish, and included the independent cities of Lafayette, Jefferson, and Carrollton, as well as an unincorporated portion of the parish that lay between the latter two cities. Lafayette became the Fourth Municipal District of New Orleans in 1853; Jefferson City became the Sixth District in 1870; and Carrollton became the Seventh District in 1874.
Algiers, or "Right Ba," as it is referred to in the Accelerated Indexing Systems index, was part of Orleans Parish in 1850 but was not within the corporate limits of the city of New Orleans. In 1870 it did become the city's Fifth Municipal District.
Return to Louisiana Division Information
Return to Holdings and Services