Maps

Researchers have told us that we have one of the finer Louisiana map collections they have used. Our map holdings extend from 1513 to the present, with about 400 maps dating from before 1799. Among the collection's diverse holdings are early maps of North America and the vast territory of Louisiana. There are also maps of the Mississippi River Commission's Survey of the Mississippi and U.S. Coast Survey charts of the Gulf of Mexico's coastal waters. Our map collection is searchable by date or subject through a card catalog in our reading room.

LaRC specializes in maps of the state of Louisiana. Its holdings include state and regional topographic maps, maps of vegetation zones and natural resources, parish and highway maps, and plans of New Orleans which trace the city's development since its founding in 1718.

The maps contain a variety of information ranging from the names and locations of Indian tribes, land owners, plantations, towns, and fortifications, to explorers' routes, depth soundings for the Mississippi River and coastal waters, state and parish boundaries, crops under cultivation, and even the best spots for fishing.

Many of our maps will be unique (such as hand-drawn maps), but printed maps usually exist in multiple copies in many institutions. Several Louisiana institutions have excellent map collections and are working to put them online through the Louisiana Digital Library (LDL). To see what is currently available, see the LDL’s map holdings. To ensure that as complete a set as possible of Louisiana maps is available online, over the next three years we will analyze the LDL’s holdings, digitize selections from our map collection that are not already online, and add them to the Louisiana Digital Library.