The Plaquemines Parish Clerk of Court's Office is the repository of records dating back to the 1790s, although the parish itself was only established in 1807, just five years before Louisiana's admission into the Union. Interestingly, most of the records filed with the Clerk in the 1800s were written in French detailing property transactions, marriages, and civil lawsuits. These instruments are handwritten in the most exquisite penmanship.
Plaquemines Parish, bisected by the Mississippi River, lies along its abundant delta. The official seat of government is Pointe a la Hache. The courthouse, located there since 1890 was not simply a place for judges and lawyers, though. It was the home of most parish-wide elected officials, the place where the local governing authority met, as well as a refuge for locals during hurricanes and tropical storms.
Sadly, in January 2002 arsonists set fire to the courthouse. Fortunately, almost all of the records in the Clerk's Office were rescued by brave locals and passersby removing them from the burning building, even as valiant firefighters hopelessly battled the blaze.
The offices housed at the courthouse then relocated to different areas of the parish. The Clerk's Office operated from Belle Chasse High School for several months before moving to its current location at the Government Annex Building, also located in Belle Chasse.
While the events of 2002 were frustrating, things could have been worse. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 would have certainly inundated the Clerk's Office with over fifteen feet of water, likely obliterating more than two centuries' worth of invaluable, irreplaceable historical records.
Even before the fire, efforts had begun in 2001 to move the parish seat and the courthouse to the west bank. That attempt was unsuccessful as were 3 others. Eventually, however, in late 2015 parish officials began construction on a new, state-of-the-art, $20 million, 3600 sq. ft. elevated courthouse on the site of the destroyed one. It was dedicated with much fanfare on August 8, 2019.
Currently the Clerk's Office invests significant resources-manpower, money, time and energy-to keep up with the pace of technological developments to efficiently help those who come into the office for service as well as the online consumer. Though small, the staff of the Plaquemines Parish Clerk of Court's Office works hard to continue to provide excellent service to online customers and walk-in customers alike.