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Using the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Archives: Locating a Case

The Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Archives contains thousands of cases from between the years 1813 and 1921. These dates include the court's founding in 1813, the Civil War, and the post-war Reconstruction era.

Need help identifying a case?

Tools for Finding a Case

Searching LexisNexis

If you have access to LexisNexis, cases can be found by selecting "LA Supreme Court Cases from 1809" as a source. Narrow your search through the use of keywords, names (try alternate spellings if a search yields few or no results), and date ranges.

  1. On the main page of "LexisNexis Academic", click on the "Legal" navigational tab at the top of the page.
  2. Click "Federal & State Cases" on the navigation links along the right-hand side of the page.
  3. Under "Jurisdiction", select "Louisiana".

To further narrow your search:

  1. Select “Date is between” from the drop-down menu next to “Specify Date”.
  2. Enter “1812" and "1921" as the date range. This will ensure that only the years covered by UNO's holdings are searched.

University holdings pertain only to the Supreme Court of Louisiana documents from between the years 1813-1920, and do not include any documents originating from the Louisiana appeals courts, district courts, or United States Supreme Court.

Many Western District and a small number of Eastern District cases were damaged, destroyed, or lost over the decades before they arrived at the archives and are therefore unavailable for research. These cases will still appear in the LexisNexis search results because they were published in annual report books that provide the basic details of numerous Louisiana Supreme Court cases.

How to Request a Case

To ease the process of verifying the availability of court documents and retrieving them from our archives, digital or otherwise, please provide us as much information as possible on the research topic, time period, or specific case that you are interested in. Important details include the plaintiff, defendant, docket number, circuit (the location where the case was heard), and year. Most of these details can be found through use of the LexisNexis Legal database, or by browsing through the Louisiana Annual Reports (copies of which are available in our Reading Room). The more information you are able to provide us, the easier it will be to fulfill your request in a timely manner.