If you have checked your calendar recently and thought you were forgetting an important holiday, don’t worry. You haven’t missed the bicentennial of the Louisiana Civil Code.
To celebrate the event, there will be a number of lectures, Friday, May 16 and Sunday, May 18. In addition, the Digest Online will be unveiled to the public, marking the culmination of a project to make the text of the Louisiana Civil Code of 1825 available online. The Digest is published in both the original French and English translation, with the notes made by the drafters at the time. An added search function will make it an easily researchable source.
Events begin May 16, at 4 p.m., at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center’s McKernan Auditorium with a welcome address followed by the presentation of the Digest Online by Professor Olivier Moréteau, Russell Long Chair and director of the Center of Civil Law Studies at the Law Center.
At 4:30 p.m., Jacques Vanderlinden – Professor Emeritus at The Free University of Brussels and the University of Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada – will deliver the 35th Tucker Lecture titled From the Civil Code of Louisiana to Langdell—Some Hypothesis About the Nature of Legal Systems.
On May 18, events will begin at 3 p.m. and be held entirely in French at the Old State Capitol in downtown Baton Rouge. The event will be highlighted by the presentation of the Digest Online and a talk by Vanderlinden titled Aux origines de la culture juridique française en Amérique du Nord, or The Origins of the French Legal Culture in North America. Professors Moréteau and Alain Levasseur, director of European Studies at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, together with law librarian Vicenc Feliu, will also deliver portraits of two great Louisiana jurists of French origin – Francois-Xavier Martin and Louis Moreau-Lislet.
In 1808, A Digest of the Civil Laws Now in Force in the Territory of Orleans – a digest of Roman and Spanish civil laws in force at the time of the Louisiana Purchase and modeled after the Code civil des Français of 1804 and the Projet de l’An VIII of 1800 – was enacted. It was later amended to become the Louisiana Civil Code of 1825, which was superseded by the Louisiana Civil Code of 1870 that is presently in effect.
This was the first civil code-like legislation to be drafted anywhere in the world in the wake of the Napoleonic codification. It still has a significant influence not only in the United States, but also in Quebec, Latin America, and Spain.
To R.S.V.P. for either day’s events, which include a reception, contact LSU’s Center of Civil Law Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225/578-1126.