We have noted over the last twenty-four years, that the historical complexity of the civil court system has been a hindrance to many researchers interested in using court records. Orleans Parish (or its predecessors) has had more than twenty different courts since the Louisiana Purchase. Some have had overlapping authority as well as confusing names. So, we'll pay some attention to the history and structure of the civil courts during this presentation.

The twenty or so individual courts are grouped into four distinct court systems:

  • Territorial Courts (1803-1813)
  • First State Court System (1813-1846)
  • Second State Court System (1846-1880)
  • Third (Current) State Court System (1880-present)

We'll discuss each system briefly.