Louisiana’s legal heritage has long been a source of fascination, curiosity, and sadly, misinformation. Outsiders have viewed the legal system as an anomaly and have shunned its study because of its perceived quirkiness. Moreover, past writings about the state’s legal structure have focused on the minutiae of Louisiana’s civil law origins, adding to an image of peculiarity. Consequently, Louisiana has been generally ignored in treatments of American or southern legal history. Recently, however, a new vision has emerged the New Louisiana Legal History. A product of an energetic cadre of writers, this rendering explores new methods and areas of research with the aim of integrating Louisiana into the mainstream of American legal history, southern history, and American history in general.
The ten essays in this volume—which address law in the state through the nineteenth century—mark the coming of age of the New Louisiana Legal History. Grounded in novel research methodologies and underutilized manuscripts, this book links the distinctive history of Louisiana law to the wider contexts of southern and American history and offers an exciting new interpretation of the state’s unique past.
Mark F. Fernandez is associate professor of history at Loyola University New Orleans and coeditor of A Law unto Itself? Essays in the New Louisiana Legal History.
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