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58
LOUISIANA

however—the code itself not being available in Louisiana, though promulgated in France in 1804—was used by the compilers in the arrangement and substance of their work; and the French traditions of the colony, thus illustrated, were naturally introduced more and more into the organic commentaries and developments that grew up around the Code Napoléon. This evolution was little marked, so similar in large parts were the systems of France and Spain (although in other parts, due to the Gothic element in the Spanish, they were very different)—a similarity which explains the facility with which O’Reilly and his successors introduced the Spanish laws after 1769. The Louisiana code of 1808 was not, however, exhaustive; and the courts continued to go back to the old Spanish sources whenever the digest was inconclusive. Thus so late as 1819, when the legislature ordered the compilation of such parts of King Alfonso’s Siete Partidas (the most common authority in the colony) as were considered in force, this compilation filled a considerable volume. In 1821 the legislature authorized Livingston to prepare the “Livingston Code” of criminal law and procedure, completed in 1824 (in French and English) and published in 1833, but never adopted by the state. In 1825 legislative sanction was given to the greater part of a civil code prepared by a commission (including Livingston) appointed in 1821, and the French element became steadily more important. In its present form the law shows plainly the Latin and English elements. English law has largely moulded, for example, criminal and commercial law and the law of evidence; the development of the law of corporations, damages, prohibitions and such extraordinary remedies as the mandamus has been very similar to that in other states; while in the fusion of law and equity, and the law of successions, family relations, &c., the civil law of Spain and France has been unaffected.

Education.—Schooling was very scant before the creation of the public schools in 1854. Very little was done for education in the French and Spanish period, although the Spanish governors made commendable efforts in this regard; the first American Territorial legislature began the incorporation of feeble “colleges” and “academies.” To some of these the state gave financial aid ($1,613,898) before 1845. The public schools were flourishing at the outbreak of the Civil War. War and reconstruction threw upon them the new burden of the black children. The constitution of 1879 was illiberal in this respect, but a healthier public opinion soon prevailed. The money given by the state to the public schools is distributed among the parishes according to their school population, and the constitution of 1898 set a generous minimum to such aid. An annual poll-tax is also collected for the schools from every adult male. Local taxes, besides, are imposed, and these are becoming heavier. The parishes retain primary control of the schools. Institutes, summer schools and rural libraries have been introduced. The salaries of white teachers advanced from a monthly average of $38.87 in 1903 to $61.84 in 1906. The average attendance of enrolled black and white pupils is practically identical, but the enrolment of whites (about 52% in 1902) is somewhat higher and that of the blacks about a third lower than their ratio in the population. The school term for white children is much longer than for negroes, and white teachers are paid much better salaries—in 1906 the average monthly salary of a negro teacher was $29.15. The total enrolment is very low. But progress is now being made very rapidly in the improvement of the educational system. Higher schools include: the State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College (1860) at Baton Rouge (q.v.); Tulane University of Louisiana (1864) in New Orleans; Jefferson College (1864; Roman Catholic) at Convent; the College of the Immaculate Conception (1847; Roman Catholic) in New Orleans; St Charles College (1835; Roman Catholic) at Grand Couteau; St Joseph’s College (1849; Roman Catholic) at Baton Rouge; the following colleges for women—Silliman Collegiate Institute (1852; Presbyterian) at Clinton, Mansfield Female College (1854; Methodist Episcopal, South) at Mansfield, the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College for women (a part of Tulane University) in New Orleans and the Louisiana Female College (1856; Baptist) at Keatchie; the State Normal School of Louisiana (1884) at Natchitoches and the New Orleans Normal and Training School; the South-western Louisiana Industrial Institute at Lafayette; the Louisiana Industrial Institute at Ruston; and, among schools for negroes, the Peabody State Normal and Industrial School at Alexandria and New Orleans University (1873; Methodist Episcopal), Luther College (Evangelical Lutheran), Leland University (1870; Baptist), Straight University (Congregational) and Southern University (1883; aided by the state), all in New Orleans.

Charitable and Penal Institutions.—The State Board of Charities and Correction, for which the constitution of 1898 first made provision, and which was organized under an act of 1904, is composed of six members, appointed by the governor for six years, with the governor as ex-officio chairman. The members of the board serve gratuitously, but elect a salaried secretary. The board has no administrative or executive power, but makes annual inspections of all public charitable, correctional or reformatory institutions, all private institutions which receive aid from, or are used by municipal or parochial authorities, and all private asylums for the insane; and reports annually to the governor on the actual condition of the institutions. Any suggestions as to improvements in institutions must be approved by the majority of the governing body of that institution before they may be put into effect. The charitable institutions include two charity hospitals—at New Orleans (1832) and Shreveport; an Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, a Hôtel Dieu, the Touro Infirmary and a Home for Incurables, all at New Orleans; an Institute for the Deaf and Dumb (for whites—there is no state provision for negro deaf and dumb) and an Institute for the Blind, both at Baton Rouge; an Insane Hospital at Jackson and another at Pineville; and the Louisiana Retreat for the Insane at New Orleans. At Monroe there is a State Reform School, and at New Orleans a Coloured Industrial Home and School. There is also a state home for disabled Confederate soldiers at New Orleans on Bayou St John. The State Penitentiary is at Baton Rouge, and a House of Detention at New Orleans; and there are parish prisons. State convicts, and all places in which they are confined or employed, are under the supervision of a Board of Control appointed by the governor. This board may allow commutation or diminution of sentence for good behaviour, meritorious services or exemplary conduct. The leasing or hiring of state convicts is prohibited by the constitution, but parish convicts may be hired or leased for farm and factory work, work on roads and levees, and other public undertakings. Such convicts are classified according to physical ability and a minimum rate is fixed for their hire, for not more than ten hours a day. Many state convicts are employed in levee construction, and there are convict farms at Angola, Hope, Oakley and Monticello.

History.—The early history of Louisiana belongs to the romance of American history. It is possible that the mouth of the Mississippi was discovered in 1519 by Alonso Alvarez de Piñeda, but this interpretation of his vague manuscript remains conjectural; and that it was discovered by the expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez cannot be established. That Hernando de Soto entered the borders of the present state of Louisiana, and that his burial place in the Mississippi was where that river takes the waters of the Red, are probable enough, but incapable of conclusive proof. Survivors of de Soto’s expedition, however, descended the Mississippi to its mouth in 1542. Spain set up no claim to the region, and when Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, came down the river in 1682 from the French possessions to the north, he took possession in the name of France, which hereby gained her first title to the vast drainage basin of the Mississippi. In honour of Louis XIV. the new possession was named “Louisiana”—a name then and until 1812 applied to a much larger area than that of the present state. La Salle attempted to settle a colony in 1684, but missed the Mississippi’s mouth and landed in Texas, where he was murdered in 1687 by some of his followers. In 1697, after Ryswick, Pierre le Moyne d’Iberville (1662-1706) was chosen to lead another colony, which reached the Gulf coast early in 1699. Soon after Iberville had built Fort Maurepas (near the present city of Biloxi, Mississippi) in 1699, a fort was erected on the Mississippi river about 40 m. above the mouth.

This was the earliest settlement in what is now the state of Louisiana. It was unhealthy and unprosperous. From 1712 to 1717 “Louisiana,” or the French possessions of the Mississippi valley, was held by Antoine Crozat (1655-1738) as a private grant from the king. It proved as great a drain upon his purse as it had proved to the crown, and he willingly parted with it to the so-called “Western Company,” afterwards incorporated with the great Company of the Indies. The head of this company was John Law, who, after spreading glowing accounts of the new land, launched his famous “Mississippi scheme” (see Law, John). The company accomplished much for the colony of Louisiana. Jean Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville (1680-1768), a brother of Iberville, was sent out as governor. For forty years he was the life of the colony. One of his first acts was to found the city of New Orleans on its present site in 1718. In this same year seven vessels were sent from France with stores and immigrants; eleven followed during the next year. Five