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Legal History of the Government of New Orleans

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posted on 2023-08-03, 17:43 authored by Ollie Roscoe McGuire

Louisiana became thus a great commercial fief, New Orleans being the chief city therein, with the Company of the West possessing over its inhabitants all the dignity and power possessed by feudal barons of France of the period. The supreme Council was again reorganized. Pursuant to a royal decree, the members were declared to be the Governor-General of New France, the Governor of the Louisiana territory, the Commissary of Hew France, the King's Lieutenant, the town mayor, six councillors, an attorney general, and a clerk. By 1942 the volume of litigation coming before the Supreme Council became such that it became necessary to provide means whereby conflicting matters might be more expeditiously handled. Representations were made to the King and a royal decree directed the Commissary Ordonnateur to appoint four assessors whose terms of office should be for four years and whose duties were to examine the witnesses and other evidence and report on all matters referred to them by the Superior Council. They were also required to sit with the superior Council whenever their votes became necessary to break a tie. The Superior Council tried both the law and the facts.The rise of the Commission form of government for municipalities found New Orleans smarting under the inefficient rule of a city ring which contained many men who had held office under the administrative system installed by the Carpet-baggers. A state-wide election was waged in the autumn of 1911, by a reform element in the dominant political party whose avowed purpose was to rid the city and state of bossism. The leading organ for the reform element said: "The voters are fighting today the same methods, the same practices, the same character of machine ring which they fought against from 1868 to 1877, and finally destroyed. Aside from the negro question, the issues raised against the present ring are the same as against the Kellogg machine of 1876 - fraudulent registration, excessive and oppressive taxation, gubernatorial patronage, the centralization of power in the hands of the governor, and a horde of hungry politicians eating up the substance of the people. The head of the ring and the head of the ring's ticket in this city in 1874, and 1876, was holding the lucrative position of clerk of the Criminal District Court through an appointment of the usurping Republican Kellogg, held in power by Federal bayonets.".

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