blood, as compared with 51.5 in 1890. In 1910 there were nine cities with more than 5000 inhabitants each: New Orleans (339,075); Shreveport (28,015); Baton Rouge (14,897), the capital; Lake Charles (11,449); Alexandria (11,213); Monroe (10,209); New Iberia (7449); Morgan (5477); Crowley (5099). The urban element is larger than in any other southern state, owing to the large population of New Orleans. The Acadians (see § History below) to-day are settled mainly in St Mary, Acadia and Vermilion parishes; lesser numbers are in Avoyelles and St Landry; and some are scattered in various other parishes. The parishes of St Mary, Iberia, Vermilion, St Martin and Lafayette are known as the Attakapas country from an Indian name. A colony of Germans sent over by John Law to the Arkansas removed to the Mississippi above New Orleans, and gave to its bank the name of the “German Coast,” by which it is still known. In recent years there has been an immigration of Italians into Louisiana, which seems likely to prove of great social and economic importance. The industrial activity of the state has required more labour than has been available. The negroes have moved more and more from the country to the towns, where they easily secure work at good wages. Owing to the inadequate supply of labour two important immigration leagues of business men were formed in 1904 and 1905, and in 1907 the state government began officially to attempt to secure desirable foreign immigration, sending agents abroad to foster it. Roman Catholics greatly predominate among religious denominations, having in 1906 477,774 members out of a total of 778,901 for all denominations; in the same year there were 185,554 Baptists, 79,464 Methodists, 9070 Protestant Episcopalians and 8350 Presbyterians.
Administration.—Since the admission of the state to the Union in 1812 there have been eight state constitutions (not counting that of 1861) admirably illustrating—and not less the Territorial government preceding them—the development of American democracy and the problems connected with the negroes. Under the Territorial government the legislative officers were not at first elective. The “parishes” date from 1807; they were based on an earlier Spanish division for religious purposes—whence the names of saints in parish nomenclature. The constitution of 1812 allowed the General Assembly to name the governor from the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes; gave the governor large powers of appointment, even of local functionaries; and required a property qualification for various offices, and even for voters. The constitution of 1845 made the popular suffrage final in the choice of the governor, abolished property qualifications, and began to pare executive powers for the benefit of the General Assembly or the people. From it dates also the constitutional recognition of the public schools. In 1852 even the judges of the supreme court were placed among the officers chosen by popular vote. The constitutions of 1864 and 1868 were of importance primarily as bearing on negro status and national politics. That of 1879 showed a profound distrust of legislative action, bred of reconstruction experiences. Nearly all special legislation was forbidden. The last constitution (1898, with 26 amendments 1898-1906), unlike all others after that of 1812, was not submitted to the people for ratification.
Under this constitution sessions of the General Assembly are biennial (meeting the second Monday in May in even-numbered years) and are limited to sixty days. The number of senators is fixed by the constitution at 39; the number of representatives is to be not more than 116 or less than 98. Any elector is eligible for election as a representative if he has been a citizen of the state for five years and a resident of the district or parish from which he is elected for two years immediately preceding the election; a change of residence from the district or parish from which he was elected vacates the seat of a representative or senator. A senator must be at least 25 years of age. Members of the legislature are elected for four years. Revenue or appropriation bills originate in the House of Representatives, but may be amended by the Senate. Contingent appropriations are forbidden, and the constitution contains a long list of subjects on which special laws may not be passed. The chief executive officers have four-year terms, neither the governor nor the treasurer being eligible for immediate re-election. The governor must be at least 30 years old and must have been a citizen of the United States and a resident of the state for 10 years next preceding his election. Within five days after the passage of any bill by the General Assembly he may veto this measure, which then becomes a law only if passed by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the General Assembly. The lieutenant governor (and then the secretary of state) succeeds to the office of governor if the governor is removed, dies or leaves the state. The five judges of the supreme court of the state are elected by the people for a term of twelve years. The supreme court is almost without exception a court of appeal with jurisdiction in cases involving at least $2000, in cases of divorce, in suits regarding adoption, legitimacy and custody of children and as regards the legality and constitutionality of taxes, fines, &c. The supreme court appoints courts of appeal to judge cases involving less than $2000. The constitution prohibits lotteries and the sale of lottery tickets.
The suffrage clauses are of particular interest, as they accomplish the practical disfranchisement of the negroes. The constitution requires that a voter must (in addition to other qualifications) either be able to show conclusively ability to read and write, or be the owner of property within the state assessed at not less than $300, on which, if personalty, all taxes are paid. But it excepts from these requirements—thus letting down the bars for illiterate whites excluded with negroes by the foregoing clauses—persons who were entitled to vote in some state on or before the 1st of January 1867 (i.e. before the adoption of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution); also the sons or grandsons of such voters, not under 21 years of age, on the 12th of May 1898; and males of foreign birth who have resided in the state for five years next preceding the date of application for registration and who were naturalized prior to 1898. The constitution provides that no person less than 60 years of age shall be permitted to vote unless he has paid an annual poll-tax of one dollar for the two years next preceding the year in which he offers to vote. Convicts not pardoned with an explicit restoration of suffrage privileges are disfranchised—a rare clause in the United States. Suffrage was by this constitution first extended to women tax-payers in questions “submitted to the tax-payers, as such.” The creation of a railroad commission was ordered and the preparation of a code of criminal law.
The Louisiana Board of Levee Commissioners was organized in 1865. The state board of health was the first one effectively organized (1855) in the United States. It encountered many difficulties, and until the definite proof of the stegomyia hypothesis of yellow-fever inoculation made by the United States army surgeons in Cuba in 1900, the greatest problem seemed insoluble. Since that time conditions of health in New Orleans have been revolutionized (in 1907 state control of maritime quarantine on the Mississippi was supplanted by that of the national government), and smaller cities and towns have been stimulated to take action by her example. Sanitary institutes are held by the state board at various towns each year for the instruction of the public. Boards of appraisers and equalization oversee the administration of the tax system; the cost of collection, owing to the fee system for payment of collectors, was higher than in any other state of the Union until 1907, when the fees were greatly reduced. The state assessment in 1901 totalled $301,215,222 and in 1907 was $508,000,000. Schools and levees absorb about half of all revenues, leaving half for the payment of interest on the state debt (bonded debt on 1st of April 1908, $11,108,300) and for expenses of government. A general primary election law for the selection, by the voters, of candidates for state office came into effect in 1906.
Law.—Louisiana has been peculiar among the states of the Union in the history of the development of its legal system. In Louisiana alone (as the state is known to-day), out of all the territory acquired from France as the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, was the civil law so established under French and Spanish rule that it persisted under American dominion. In all the other states formed from the Purchase, the civil law, never existent practically, was early expressly abrogated, and the common law of England established in its place. After O’Reilly established his power in 1769 (see History, below), the Spanish law was supreme. All the old codes of the Peninsula, as well as the laws of the Indies and special royal decrees and schedules, were in force in the colony. The United States left the task of altering the laws to the people, as far as there was no conflict between them and the Constitution of the United States and fundamental American legal customs. Copies of the Spanish codes were very rare, and some of them could not be had in the colonies. Discussions of the Roman Institute and Pandects were common in the deliberations of the courts. Great confusion prevailed in the first years of American dominion owing to the diversities of languages and the grafting of such Anglo-Saxon institutions as the jury upon the older system. A provisional code of judicial procedure, prepared by Edward Livingston, was in effect in 1805 to 1825. The earliest digest, completed in 1808, was mainly a compilation of Spanish laws. The project of the Code Napoléon,