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New Orleans (La.) Archives Department
          Synopsis of Ordinances, 1841-1937

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In June 1938 the New Orleans City Archives Department produced the original "Synopsis of Ordinances." Violet L. Henderson, in the volume's foreword, wrote:

This is a record of city ordinances, submitted by the ordinance department, showing the number and series, date of enactment, a short synopsis of each ordinance and the book in which it may be found and read in full.

These subjects have been checked upon, edited, classified, treated alphabetically, arranged in their chronological sequence and indexed. The index is to be found at the beginning of each alphabetical section.

In a number of instances the record of ordinances listed, covers in detail the complete history of a given subject. This, however, is not true in all cases. Sometimes the record is vague and the information very limited; in which case the basic information supplied by the ordinance is followed up in other records found in the Archives--sometimes going back to the Cabildo and Conseil de Ville, and is herewith presented under "Brief Facts", thus forming the background of some of the city's history and institutions. Institutions not covered have been omitted because no ordinance was found to form the basis of research.

A record of amending and repealing ordinances has been compiled separately, by the ordinance department under Mr. Gray Amos, and is available in the Archives.

In preparing this online version of the Synopsis we have altered the original compilation in several ways:
  • We have omitted reference to "the book in which [each ordinance] may be found and read in full." Most, if not all, of the ordinances referred to in the Synopsis are now available on microfilm, making the above-mentioned book citations irrelevant.
  • We have omitted the indexes at the beginning of each alphabetical section, although we may add them in some form or another as the transcription project continues.
  • We have omitted the "Brief Facts" section noted in the original foreword. We may add it in some form or another as the transcription project continues.

The "record of amending and repealing ordinances" does still exist in the City Archives in a large metal-clad binder. Ask an archivist for access to this volume.

Many entries do not include the date or even the year of the individual ordinance being described. The following list of date ranges for ordinance series should be of some help in providing a chronological context for the undated entries:

  • OS (Old Series)--1852-1870
  • AS (Administration Series)--1870-1882
  • CS (Council Series)--1882-1896
  • NCS (New Council Series)--1896-1912
  • CCS (Commission Council Series)--1912-1954

Volunteer Linda Angelocci entered the data from the original Synopsis into a database that we used to create an online version of the guide. We thank her very much not only for accepting the task in the first place, but also for taking the original book with her as she evacuated from her soon-to-be-flooded home in eastern New Orleans. Such dedication is truly above and beyond the call of duty!

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6/29/2005 (rev. 11/12/2006)-we