The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today approximately $1.7 million in public assistance funding to restore New Orleans Notarial Archives’ book volumes and historical records damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
As a governmental agency under the jurisdiction of the Clerk of Civil District Court of Orleans Parish, NONA is responsible for filing, maintaining and preserving historical documents, land records and other related contracts for Orleans Parish. Pre-Katrina, NONA’s volumes were housed in the court building’s basement, located at 421 Loyola Avenue. During the storm, the basement incurred floodwaters, resulting in both water and mold damage to many of the archives.
“Through joint efforts to establish NONA’s extent of flood-related damages, it was determined that approximately 2,136 book volumes were affected by Hurricane Katrina’s impact,” said FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office Deputy Director of Programs Andre Cadogan. “Our recent FEMA grant will help stabilize these damaged archives and recase or rebind them as needed so that they can once again serve as public documents.”
“The Katrina-affected materials contain the original evidence of transactions involving land transfers, business agreements, mortgages, estates, agency rulings and other agreements relating to Orleans Parish properties. The volumes, which date from approximately 1965 to 2005, are critical for use in title examinations and serve as a rich supply of primary source materials for historical research on their period,” said Clerk of Civil District Court, Hon. Dale N. Atkins. “I would like to thank FEMA and the team who worked on this project to obtain its funding.”
To assist with the process of accurately determining damaged contents, FEMA hired a conservator specialist with background in contents stabilization to help evaluate NONA’s inventory. While more than 2,000 book volumes were found to be damaged by Katrina, more than 14,000 records were actually evaluated.