Louisiana Division/City Archives
New Orleans Public Library

Sources for Researching the History of Your House (Or Other Building) in New Orleans

Newspapers & Periodicals


The collection of New Orleans newspapers in the Louisiana Division is the one of the most complete available. It is almost entirely on microfilm and includes early papers such as the Moniteur, the Louisiana Gazette, and L'Ami des Lois, as well as a complete file of the Picayune from its beginning in 1837. (A list of the newspapers available in the Division is available online HERE.

In addition to the newspapers themselves, the Division also has extensive card indexes to newspapers:

Louisiana Biography and Obituary Index, 1804-1972
Numbering more than 650,000 cards, this is an alphabetical file indexing obituaries in New Orleans newspapers and biographical information in older Louisiana collective biographies. Biography cards provide the call number, author, and title of the book, and page on which the reference is located. Obituary cards usually contain the date of death, age, and exact reference to the original death notice and/or newspaper article. The Obituary Index can be used to locate information on the people who owned, lived in, or otherwise occupied the location in question. The complete index is now available online HERE

The Louisiana News Index, 1804-1963
Numbering more than 528,000 cards, this is a single alphabetical file of persons, places, and subjects indexing Louisiana-related articles in New Orleans newspapers. A search under the subject heading of historic houses, buildings, the name of the structure, or other appropriate topic may possibly yield articles on your building and its history.

Even without these indexes, you can make profitable use of the newspapers. Issues just prior to the various sales of the property may contain advertisements with detailed descriptions. Notices of sales at public auction often prove to be particularly useful in this respect. There is also the possibility of finding some mention of the construction of your building if you have already narrowed down the range of construction dates sufficiently. Already mentioned earlier are the annual "Brick and Mortar" columns listing building permits issued in the city.


Architectural Art & Its Allies, 1905-1912
In addition to the newspapers, there are several magazines that might prove to be useful. One, Architectural Art and Its Allies, was published monthly in New Orleans during the period 1905-1912, at first by the Louisiana Architectural Association and later by the Louisiana Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Among the features of this journal are photographs and, in some cases, reproductions of elevation and/or plan drawings of local buildings, both residential and nonresidential. Besides the photographs and drawings, this journal also carried news about construction projects along with advertisements for area builders and architects. An index to this valuable source is also available online HERE.

Preservation in Print, 1981 --
Another useful publication is Preservation in Print (earlier known as Preservation Press) published monthly by the Preservation Resource Center. It includes articles on individual buildings and on historic areas of New Orleans. Preservation in Print also has news of local preservation activity, including many seminars and other functions of interest to the researcher and/or restorer.


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