New Orleans Public Library
Date range: 1876-1880
Size of collection: 3 cu. ft. (431 court cases); 2 vols.
Deposited by: Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, 1989
Terms of Access: Available to registered researchers by appointment
On March 18, 1876, the Louisiana Legislature passed Act 45, extending the jurisdiction of the Second Judicial District Court (previously limited to the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, and Jefferson) to include the 6th and 7th Municipal Districts of Orleans Parish, that is, the cities of Jefferson City and Carrollton annexed to the City of New Orleans in 1870 and 1874 respectively. In Orleans Parish, the court was to convene on the third Monday in April and the first Monday in December. It held its sessions at "present courthouse in the Seventh District" (i.e., the old Carrollton Courthouse at 719 Carrollton Ave.).
The Second Judicial District Court had civil jurisdiction in all cases, except matters of probate, when over $100 was involved. It also had exclusive jurisdiction in criminal cases.
In 1880 Orleans Parish Criminal Court assumed jurisdiction over criminal cases. At the same time, Orleans Parish Civil District Court assumed jurisdiction over civil cases.
The court heard criminal cases from docket numbers 1 to 555. Docket numbers 3-499 are extant; of those, approximately 16% are missing. (It is possible that a few of these records may be filed with the civil suit series of this court). The cases are limited to those filed in the 6th and 7th Municipal Districts and do not include cases heard in Jefferson, St. Bernard, or Plaquemines Parishes.
The most common charges were:Assault or assault and battery -- 149Also included are cases involving arson, breaking and entering, horse stealing, incest, manslaughter, murder, rape, obtaining money by false pretenses, trespass, and additional minor crimes.
Burglary and/or larceny, petty larceny, robbery, or highway robbery -- 98
Assault with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to kill, assault and wounding, shooting or stabbing with intent to kill, etc. -- 59
Carrying a concealed weapon -- 38
Perjury -- 15
Embezzlement -- 12
The minute books for this court, used for both the civil and criminal series, are available in two volumes.
The Second Judicial District Court records in the Louisiana Division's collections also include the civil cases heard by the court (docket numbers 1-2141), the general docket of the civil series (2 vols.), and a deed book (1 vol.). The civil suits are not indexed.
The cases are filed in individual folders arranged in docket number order. The inventory of the cases is arranged alphabetically by name of the defendent.
Thanks to volunteers Geraldine Pilotte and Lea Gaines for their help with this project.
To consult the Inventory, link HERE.