Why Louisiana Is The Only State In The Nation With Parishes
What makes Louisiana different from other states? A whole lot! Though it's impossible to get into all the reasons why, here are some main factors. The state has the most racially and ethnically diverse population in the U.S. Louisiana's colonial-era legal system remains intact. The Napoleonic Code law structure was derived from the two countries that used to own Louisiana at different points in history, France and Spain.
While the rest of the country uses English Law or Common Law, the Bayou State uses a political and social system deeply rooted in the French and Spanish colonial period known as a Civil Law system. This is why some Louisiana laws are bizarre. For example, this is a law on the books:
It's prohibited to ingest blood or other bodily fluids during any ritual in Louisiana. Anyone who breaks this law could be fined up to $25,000 or spend up to 25 years in jail!
After the Louisiana Purchase in 1807, nineteen civil parishes were created and modeled after Catholic parishes that existed when the French and Spanish ruled it. Around the same time, Louisiana organized a basic unit of local government called the parish police jury system. More than a century later, this group of twelve citizens carried out local administrative duties much like the county court system in other states.
Today, Louisiana has a total of 64 parishes, and here are more fun facts about the Pelican State!