Celebrating the New Orleans Tricentennial: CLE and New Exhibit on Colonial Law

On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, the Law Library of Louisiana and the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society co-sponsored a CLE on the Louisiana Colonial Documents Digitization Project by Howard Margot, an archivist at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Mr. Margot examined Louisiana’s colonial legal system and familiarized participants with details of the Louisiana colonial documents digitization project, focusing on the processes of 18th-century legal record-keeping, and highlighting specific documents that illustrate the legal system in action. Mr. Margot, a land-records archivist and database curator at The Historic New Orleans Collection, holds a master’s degree in French literature and linguistics from Tulane University and has spent the last eighteen years working with Louisiana’s French and Spanish colonial records, first as an assistant archivist at the New Orleans Notarial Archives and more recently as lead consultant for the Louisiana State Museum’s colonial records digitization project. When he isn’t transcribing and translating colonial and early-mid 19th-century manuscripts, much of his work at the Collection involves the preservation and dissemination of records, surveys, plans, and drawings documenting 300 years of French Quarter architecture. Attendance at the CLE was among the highest ever at the Court.

The CLE was followed by a reception and the grand opening of a new permanent exhibit in the Louisiana Supreme Court Museum on colonial Louisiana law. The exhibit, entitled “Colonial Law in New Orleans, 1718-1803: Olde World Law in a New Land,” discusses the legal landscape of the new French colony as it was established and the changes in the law as the colony transitioned to Spanish rule, then back again to French, before joining the United States. The exhibit features notable Louisiana and New Orleans leaders and their impact on the law.  The museum is open to the public Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.