Louisiana Law And Disorder

Louisiana is bass ackwards in a number of ways from gender biased flashing practices to sticking with “da parish” over counties. The list goes on, but the largest difference separating us from the rest of the country is our system of laws.

The legal code in Louisiana is based in civil law, while laws in the rest of the United States (and almost all of the former British Empire) come from English common law. Civil law finds its roots in Ancient Rome and is very similar to the Napoleonic Code. The two systems differ in that common law courts tend to be bound by precedents (previously established cases), while civil law judges rule based on their own interpretation of the law.

This subjective interpretation, in my opinion, can lead to some pretty humorous uses of our state’s legislative process. Let’s take a look at some of the questionably barbaric, curiously archaic, and oftentimes silly laws of the lovely twisted state we call home.

1) Sodomy

You hear that Louisiana?
You hear that Louisiana?

Its name refers to biblical parables, so I think this law probably should stay in the history books where it belongs. “Blasphemy!” says the moral high ground that is Louisiana! State legislators recently rejected a repeal of the state’s anti-sodomy law, which has previously been deemed federally unconstitutional. LA RS 14:80 is Louisiana’s law regarding Crime Against Nature. Under this law, “Sodomy” is defined as any sexual act involving the mouth or the anus. While unenforceable, it’s still interesting to note that necrophilia is not mentioned. Does that make it technically legal? You know what they say, necrophilia is dead boring, unlike incest, which is only relatively boring (and taken very seriously here).

2) Cockfighting

It's not inhumane, it's tradition!
It’s not inhumane, it’s tradition!

America’s been referred to as the modern Roman Empire, and much like our ancient counterparts, we have our own bloodbaths. Instead of mighty gladiators, however, Louisiana got stuck with cocks. Thankfully, cockfighting was outlawed in 2007, making us the last state to do so. Despite its illegality, not much is done to stop the practice. Over 70 roosters were recently seized by East Baton Rouge Police at a cockfighting facility in Zachary. It’s a hard law to enforce, since it only includes one species of chicken. To add insult to injury, State Sen. Elbert Guillory is trying to block new legislation which would expand the species of cocks and severity of punishment. He’s trying to preserve the “legitimate” practice of chicken boxing, in which the feathery fighters use gloves. You can’t even make this stuff up.

3) Ignoring Health Codes

Watch out for fires and iron pots.
Watch out for fires and iron pots.

Forget health and safety, we’re a state that’s all about tradition. In Louisiana, a chef who prepares any of the following foods in the “traditional manner” may be excused from following any state health codes: Jambalaya, Cochon de lait, hard and soft shelled crabs, and Italian food (?). “Traditional” methods include cooking with iron pots, cooking outside, cooking over a fire pit, etc. This is one of the ones that makes you think, “What the hell happened that lead them to sign onto this one?”

4) Friendly Pranking

No longer an innocent prank.
No longer an innocent prank.

I love a good prank. I don’t love a $500 fine. If you’re planning on sending anyone a pizza as a prank, don’t expect to get a good laugh out of it. In Louisiana, it’s unlawful for any person to intentionally place an order for any goods or services to be delivered to another party (unless you have previously paid). If you’re found with the intent to harass, you’re guilty. I’m assuming that this applies to strippers, too, so make sure you pay up before the next bachelor party.

5) Open Containers

But officer, I haven't put the straw in yet.
But officer, I haven’t put the straw in yet.

This is arguably everyone’s favorite and the first thing that makes tourists question our alcohol consumption habits – drive through daiquiris.  In this great state, the only thing separating you (the driver of a vehicle) and an open container ticket is the straw breaking the seal of a plastic lid. If that’s not a great analogy of our flimsy grasp of the law, I don’t know what is.

Have any other laws I should be breaking worry about? Let me know in the comments below.

About Eric

Eric is a New Orleans native and graduate of Loyola. He grew up in Kenner and is embarrassed to tell you that. He lives Uptown and frequents local watering holes to socialize with peers. His hobbies include writing, making bad jokes, and casually observing the day to day life of New Orleans.

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