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Digest Online

The Digest of the Civil Laws now in Force in the Territory of Orleans was enacted on March 31, 1808. It is now made accessible online, on occasion of the Bicentennial of what is often described as the first Louisiana civil code. The original French and the English translation can be viewed separately or together on the same screen. The typing of both versions was extracted from the first edition of 1808, printed by Bradford & Anderson, in the city of New Orleans. With the exception of obvious typos, the Digest Online strictly follows the original wording and orthography.

In addition, the manuscript notes of 1814, attributed to Louis Moreau-Lislet who, with James Brown, drafted the Digest, are available on this website. These notes are extracted from the De la Vergne Volume, a copy of the Digest bound in 1808 with interleaves between the English text on the left and the French text on the right. The manuscript notes on the interleaves give reference mainly to Roman and Spanish laws, but also mention French sources, such as Domat and Pothier (see the Foreword). This volume belonged to the de la Vergne family for generations, and is presently in possession of Mr. Louis V. de la Vergne. It was published by the LSU and Tulane law schools in 1968, and by Claitor’s in 1971 and 2008. The right to reproduce the notes was generously provided to the Center of Civil Law Studies at LSU by Mr. Louis V. de la Vergne. The notes also appear for the first time in typed version, making them easily readable.

A search function will be added in the near future. It will allow thematic research, by word or combination of words, inside the French or the English version.

The Digest is freely available to scholars, students, practitioners, and laymen alike. The photographic reproduction of the manuscript notes may only be used for research or educational purposes. Please email for any question relating to the use of these documents.

A Bicentennial Edition of the De la Vergne Volume has been published by Claitor’s Publishing Division and can be acquired at a nominal price.