Legal Memorandum: Definition of "Public Record" in LA

Issue: What is the definition of ‘public record’ in Louisiana?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Municipal, County and Local Law
Keywords: Public records; Document or other tangible thing containing information
Jurisdiction: Louisiana
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: La. Rev. Stat. § 44:1(A)(2)(a)
Date: 11/01/2011

The Public Records Law defines what are public records:


(2)(a) All books, records, writings, accounts, letters and letter books, maps, drawings, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, memoranda, and papers, and all copies, duplicates, photographs, including microfilm, or other reproductions thereof, or any other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, including information contained in electronic data processing equipment, having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed, or retained for use in the conduct, transaction, or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty, or function which was conducted, transacted, or performed by or under the authority of the constitution or laws of this state, or by or under the authority of any ordinance, regulation, mandate, or order of any public body or concerning the receipt or payment of any money received or paid by or under the authority of the constitution or the laws of this state, are “public records”, except as otherwise provided in this Chapter or the Constitution of Louisiana.

La. Rev. Stat. § 44:1(A)(2)(a).  Thus, a public record is basically a document or other tangible thing containing information.  It is not the information itself. 

The Public Records Law is not a method for inquiry into the affairs of a government office to the extent that such information is not in record format.  There is nothing in the Public Records Law that allows for such inquiry.


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