Early Parish Laws

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FENCES: Every owner of a plantation or of land fronting on the public road shall be bound to have on the whole front thereof a well-conditioned and lawful fence, kept in good repair and shut up at all times of the year; and whenever gates are placed on such front, to keep such gates closed when not in use.

All neat cattle, horses, mules, asses and jennets shall be allowed to rove at large on the levees and battures of the parish during the low water season. When the height of the water renders such roaming dangerous or injurious to the levees, the Syndics shall give public notice for one week in the official journal that all cattle must be kept up until further notice.

Every peddler, hawker or trader, doing business or trading in this parish shall, on demand of any inhabitant or Parish Officer, produce his license, and on refusing to do so, through malice or otherwise, shall be considered as having none, arrested and brought before a Justice of the Peace for trial…

Any person convicted of throwing any dead animal into the river shall be fined not less than ten nor more than 50 dollars for each offense.

Each syndic shall perform, in the ward or road district for which he shall have been appointed, the duties of inspector or of roads, bridges, ditches, drains, levees and front fences; he shall also have the police of animals, and shall see that the regulations of the Parish are complied with in all the above matters.

All keepers of stores, taverns or grog-shops shall exhibit in a conspicuous place their Parish license, and the certificate of the Tax Collector that they have paid their license tax.

No stores where spirituous liquors are sold shall remain open after midnight under penalty of a fine of twenty-five dollars.

Any keeper of a disorderly tavern or grog-shop, on sufficient complaint, shall have his license revoked, besides being liable to such penalties as are provided by State law.

No person failing to keep a fence as above prescribed shall be entitled to recover damages committed by horses, mules, cattle or hogs, or to impound such animals when found roaming on his property.

Any person convicted of throwing any dead animal into the river shall be fined not less than ten nor more than fifty dollars for each offense.

Excerpts from Policy Jury Regulations, Parish of St. Charles, 1876.

Reportedly, this is the last hanging in St. Charles Parish. Generally traced to Charles Lynch, an 18th Century Virginia farmer who appointed himself a hanging judge in the revolutionary interest, lynching was a prescribed method of punishing criminals for various crimes until the Lynch Law was repealed. At that time in history, lynching and other forms of punishment were social pastimes.

This text is copyright © material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.