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This entry was originally written by Beth A. Stahr, CGRS and Sharon Sholars Brown for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Most of the larger libraries (public and university) have excellent map collections. Superb maps can be found in the many historic and archive collections throughout the state; for example, the Historic New Orleans Collection in that city’s French quarter includes the Bouligny Family Papers and the d’Auberville-Bouligny Family Papers, which document life during both the French and Spanish colonial regimes in Louisiana and have an extensive cartographic collection numbering more than 400 items.
Maps created during Louisiana’s changing regimes, by Spanish, French, and American sovereignty give information beyond that obtained from documents and books: the Pierre Clement de Laussat Papers and the Claude Perrin Victor Papers are good examples. Maps of the antebellum era reveal the settlement of population and the growth of transportation systems throughout the state. The Vieux Carré Survey describes each property in the French Quarter of New Orleans, including drawings, photographs, and a chain of title to property. These also are a part of the Historic New Orleans Collection, one of many repositories in Louisiana.
The State Land Office located in the State Land and Natural Resources Building in Baton Rouge has all of the original and official field notes, survey plats, and maps made by early U.S. surveyors in Louisiana. Plat maps (showing ownership) can also be found in each parish, in the clerk of courts office located in the parish courthouse. An important new book chronicling Louisiana maps is:
- Lemmon, Alfred E. Charting Louisiana: Five Hundred Years of Maps. New Orleans: Historic New Orleans Collection, 2003.