Toni: Your local genealogical/historical society will not likely be of any help. I was referring to societies in St. Martin and surrounds but you say that you haven't had much luck with them. The Library of Congress does have online a map of Louisiana showing plantation owners. It may be found at:
Do a search by keyword "Louisiana" and you'll get many hits. The map to view is "La Tourrette's Reference Map of Louisiana", printed in 1853. You can magnify and search specific locations but it is TEDIOUS. I don't have the eyes to do much viewing like that - but you might want to play with it.
Your query re: the court case also caught my attention since I'm in the process of researching a Federal court case which dragged on from the 1880s until 1915. You say that the court employee told you that you would have to search in person but did you specifically ask if they even keep records going back that far? Did you ask if they have some sort of indexing system? Did you learn whether or not the old records, if they exist, have been microfilmed? Sometimes old records are turned over to a state archive, university library or even a local historical society. Regrettably, some old records have been known to show up in a dumpster too. My point is not to accept the first "No" - often you have to be very persistent. If your contact was by phone then I would write a letter BRIEFLY explaining what you're after and query them as to how one should go about locating the records, if they exist. You might intimate that you would "love" to visit the area and while there, do some research (tourist money is always welcomed in Louisiana). Hey, maybe a little sneaky but wouldn't you love to visit? Lots of history, unique culture, wonderful music, nice people and GREAT food. I'm starting to sound like the LA tourist folks. For what it's worth.......
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