Visiting the Louisiana Division/City Archives & Special Collections

City Archives & Special Collections
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70112

Location and Hours        Getting Here        Division Guidelines        What to Bring        

Registering        Accessing Items        Research Guide

City Archives & Special Collections

The Division collects, through purchase and gift, resources relating to the study of Louisiana and its citizens. Other areas of interest include the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South. Included are books by or about Louisianians; city, regional, and state documents; manuscripts, maps, newspapers, periodicals, microfilms, photographs, slides, video tapes, postcards, and ephemera of every sort. The Genealogy Collection contains books, periodicals and microfilms with emphasis on the Southeast United States, Nova Scotia, France, and Spain.

The City Archives is the official repository of the records of New Orleans municipal government, housing records dating from 1769-present. The archives also holds the records of the Orleans Parish civil (1804-1926) and criminal (1830-1932) courts.

Other Special Collections maintained by the Division are the Rare Vertical File, the Carnival Collection, the Louisiana and New Orleans Photograph Collection, the Map Collection, the Menu Collection, the Postcard Collection, the Manuscript Collection, and the Rare Book Collection.

Location and Hours

The department is housed in the Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library, located at 219 Loyola Avenue in the Central Business District. The library is across Duncan Plaza from City Hall.

The Archives is open:

  • Monday to Friday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Materials are available by appointment. For informaiton about scheduling an appointment consult the Research Guide

Please check our holiday and closure schedule prior to your visit. Any closure updates will be listed on the library's website, as well.

Getting Here

The Main Library is accessible by public transportation, including both bus and streetcar. You can review the RTA schedules to determine the best route.

The library does not provide parking for visitors. Metered parking is available on the streets around the library. There are various paid garages and street level lots in the area.

Archives Guidelines

Food and Drinks are not allowed in the City Archives & Special Collections.

The City Archives & Special Collections is generally a quiet zone. Archives staff and researchers do reserve the right to converse about materials and research as needed. Patrons may not use phones or computers without headphones in the department.

Outlets for public charging are not available. Patrons may use charging stations on the the first floor of the Main Library.

Access to four public computers is provided to Researchers. Use of the terminals is limited to research on topics relating to Louisiana, New Orleans and Genealogy. Staff may request users discontinue use of the terminals when applicable. Public computers are available on the first floor of the Main Library for general usage.

Information about requesting materials can be found on our Research Guide

What to Bring

Patrons are allowed to use paper, pencil, and electronic devices such as phones, pads and laptops while using the collection.

A flash drive is needed if you will be creating digital copies of microfilm.


You can complete our brief Registration Form prior to your visit.

The City Archives & Special Collections is a public repository and does not require any type of letter or credentials for patrons to use the collection.

Accessing Items

The process for requesting items can be found on our website through the Research Guide.

Visitors do not need a New Orleans Public Library card to view items or use our databases while at the library.

Archives materials do not circulate and cannot be checked out. Materials must viewed at the Archives and are not available for review at other branches.

The Archives reserves the right to limit access to collections based on the preservation needs of the collection. Staff will attempt to provide an alternate method of access when possible.

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CB 05/2021