Orleans Parish, Louisiana

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Orleans Parish is one of 64 parishes in Louisiana. A parish, in Louisiana, is the equivalent of a county in other states. One of the original 19 parishes, today Orleans is coterminous with the City of New Orleans.

New Orleans and the parish of Orleans operate as a merged city-parish government. Before the city became co-extensive with Orleans Parish, Orleans Parish was home to numerous smaller communities. The original city of New Orleans was composed of what are now the first through ninth wards. The city of Lafayette (including the Garden District) was added in 1852 as the 10th and 11th wards. In 1870, Jefferson City, including Faubourg Bouligny and much of the Audubon and University areas, was annexed as the 12th, 13th and 14th wards. Algiers, on the west bank of the Mississippi, was also annexed in 1870, becoming the 15th ward. Four years later, Orleans Parish became coextensive with the city of New Orleans when the city of Carrollton was annexed as the 16th and 17th wards.

New Orleans' government is centralized in the city council and mayor's office, but maintains some vestiges of more localized government. For example, New Orleans has seven elected tax assessors, each with their own staff, representing various districts of the city, rather than one centralized office. Constitutional Amendment 7, passed on November 7, 2006, would consolidate the seven assessors into one by 2010.

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Louisiana parish websites
Transparency Grade
Budget N
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning N
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Audits N
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public records N
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Local taxes N
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • A complete list of city council members, along with contact information, is available.[1]
  • Complete meeting information is available, including agendas dating to 2006.[2]
  • Open bids and proposals are available online, along with city contracts.[3][4]
  • Budget information is available.[5]

The bad

  • No information is provided about how parish residents can request access to public documents of the parish under Louisiana's sunshine laws.
  • Tax information is not available.
  • The website includes an audit action plan but no audit information.[6]

Expensive public records

In February 2008, the ACLU of Louisiana requested documents from the Orleans Parish Prison on prisoner deaths at the city jail. Sheriff Marlin Gusman said that the ACLU could have the documents, if they first gave him $1.75 million. After nearly a year of negotiations, the sheriff agreed to provide the documents for $1,007. The ACLU's executive director speculated that the sheriff was trying to hide conditions at the jail. The sheriff's department suggested that the ACLU's request was vague and unreasonable.[7]

External links


  1. New Orleans City Council (dead link)
  2. Meetings and Agendas (dead link)
  3. Bids and Proposals
  4. City Contracts (dead link)
  5. [1]
  6. [2]
  7. Times-Picayune, "ACLU, Gusman resolve dispute over price tag for public records," January 29, 2009