City Archives
New Orleans Public Library

New Orleans (La.). Department of Public Safety
          Records, 1912-1950
        1.5 cu. ft. & 5 v.

The 1912 City Charter set up a commission form of government for the city of New Orleans, consisting of a mayor and four councilmen elected at-large. The executive and administrative powers of the city government were divided among five departments, each with its own commissioner, designated from among the mayor and councilmen by majority vote of the Council. The commission council government remained in effect until the passage of the Home Rule Charter in 1954.

The Department of Public Safety, one of these five departments, was responsible for fire prevention and relief, police, health, and charity and relief. The Commissioner of Public Safety also served on the Board of Commissioners of the Police Department, the Board of Commissioners of the Fire Department, and the Board of Health.

The surviving records are 5 manuscript volumes and 3 cartons of general correspondence/subject files.

The manuscript volumes are as follows:

Livery Permit Register, 1925 (TC670l)
For each applicant, lists name, address, race, license plate number and livery license number.

Chauffer's Register, 1918-1919 (TC670)
For each applicant, lists name, address, race, and "remarks" (e.g., "badge lost, new license number issued). Also included at the back of this volume is a fragment of an earlier Livery Permit Register, 1920.

Docket, new barroom licenses, 1912-1919
Lists action taken by the City Council and the Departmen of Public Safety in granting or refusing applications for barroom licenses.

Docket, continuance of licenses on existing barrooms, 2 v., 1912-1919
Similar to above, but involving renewals of licenses already granted.

The correspondence/subject files have been reconstructed from records separated into general subject files by previous custodians. Very little has survived, and what is documented is generally limited to only a few pieces or to only a short span of time. Among the Public Safety agencies covered most substantially are the Police Department (files of citizen complaints referred from Public Safety to the Police Department, 1940-42) and the New Orleans Safety Council (correspondence and minutes, 1928-30). Also of interest are invitations received by Commissioner Frank Gomila for the years 1934-1941, correspondence concerning the Louisiana Leprosorium at Carville, La., testimony in two court cases involving the Police Department, a variety of material connected to a ca. 1929 traffic survey of the city, and a large file of letters offering sites for the construction of new fire houses.

The following men served as Commissioners of Public Safety during the years covered by these records:

  • E.J. Glenny (1916-1920)
  • Stanley W. Ray (1920-1925)
  • Paul B. Habans (1924-1930)
  • Dr. Frank R. Gomila (1930-1946)


Box 1

"A" Miscellaneous
Archdiocese of New Orleans
"B" Miscellaneous
"C" Miscellaneous
Citizens' Committee on Traffic
City Attorney
City Planning and Zoning Commission, Traffic Committee
Court Records
Engineering Traffic Survey (Miller McClintock)
Fire Stations, Suggested Sites
First Recorder's Court
Forest Park Improvement Committee
"G" Miscellaneous
"H" Miscellaneous
Health Department
Hyman, Alex & Co.
Invitations (1934)
Invitations (1935)
Invitations (1936)

Box 2

Invitations (1937)
Invitations (1938)
Invitations (1939)
Invitations (1940)
Invitations (1941)
Invitations (n.d)
"J" Miscellaneous
"K" Miscellaneous
"L" Miscellaneous
Louisiana Leprosorium (Carville, La.)
"M" Miscellaneous
"N" Miscellaneous
New Basin Canal & Shell Road, Board of Control
New Orleans Association of Commerce
New Orleans Board of Trade
New Orleans Fire Department
New Orleans Police Department (1920-1939)
New Orleans Police Department (1940)

Box 3

New Orleans Police Department (1941)
New Orleans Police Department (1942)
New Orleans Police Department - Testimony, murder of Superintendant of Police
James W. Reynolds, 1917
New Orleans Police Department - Testimony, trial of police officers Reyer,
Victory, and Milliet, 1923
New Orleans Safety Council
Ninth Ward Improvement & Protective Association
"P" Miscellaneous
Parker, Walter
Parolees - Report to Commission Council, 1922
Personnel Department
"R" Miscellaneous
"S" Miscellaneous
Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans
Traffic Division
U.S. Corps of Engineers
"V" Miscellaneous
"W" Miscellaneous

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