Your Clerk’s Office

The Office of Clerk of Court in Louisiana fulfills what might be considered a dual function. Under the constitution of Louisiana, he is the Clerk of the District Court for his parish and at the same time is Ex-Officio Recorder of deeds, mortgages and other instruments.

The Clerk’s office receives and files all pleadings, such as petitions, answers and exceptions in civil matters as well as indictments, bill of information and other filings in criminal matters. It is the gate through which all civil, probate and criminal proceedings must pass to reach the Court for trial. Each lawsuit, succession proceedings and criminal matter is entered on a docket, assigned a number and indexed in the names of all parties affected for ready references. The office issues all process, such as citation or notice to the defendants for service by the Sheriff and subpoenas all witnesses to be used on the trial of civil and criminal matters. Daily minutes of the Court are kept in which are entered a brief summary of all proceedings had in each civil, criminal or probate matter. All the pleadings, petitions, answers, exceptions, motions and judgments filed in each case are copied into record books maintained for that purpose.

At the time of filing a petition by which a civil or probate matter is commenced, an advance deposit is required to cover the cost of the proceedings as they accrue. The Clerk’s Office maintains separate accounts of each such proceedings and pays out of the advance deposits such sums as have been earned by the office as well as Sheriff’s charges, witness fees, appraisers and Notary fees and other items chargeable to costs.

In its function as Recorder, the office receives, files and enters on the daily register all deeds, mortgages and other instruments to be recorded in the Public Records of the Parish. These instruments are then routed and assigned for recordation in the appropriate record books maintained for the different categories to which they relate.

Conveyance records contain the record of all deeds, exchanges, partitions, judgments recognizing heirs and other instruments, the effect of which is to transfer real property of interests and rights therein. Oil and gas leases, mineral sales, royalty deeds, rights of way for pipelines, roadways, telephone and electric transmission lines are included in the class of instruments in the Conveyance Records.

It is through the Conveyance and Plat records that the title to all real estate situated within the Parish is traced to determine its present ownership and status. In St. Charles Parish these records date back to year 1725, many of which were handwritten and in French and Spanish. From 1903 until 1951, these records were typewritten. From 1951 through 1964 records were photocopied by the Photostat Process. Since 1964 records have been Xeroxed, and since 1972 records have been microfilmed. Efforts are now underway to electronically scan all records.

In the Mortgage Records all mortgages, judgments, liens and other encumbrances affecting real estate are recorded. Cancellation of these instruments is effected by a marginal notation made on the record when a proper voucher evidencing payment or satisfaction thereof is presented and filed. In the case of mortgage given to secure the payment of a promissory note or notes, then note or notes themselves must be presented and filed. The note is identified with the mortgage which secures it by the paraph of the same Notary before whom the mortgage was executed and the loss or destruction of such note presents a serious problem in effecting cancellation of the mortgage.

Chattel mortgages, which are mortgages on movable property, are recorded, only in abstract form and the same rules which apply to cancellation or mortgages on real estate apply to cancellation of Chattel Mortgages.

There are numerous other records maintained in the office, such as Bond Records, Corporation Charters, Partnerships, Certificates of Trade Names and other miscellaneous instruments. Each recorded instrument must necessarily be indexed and cross indexed for ready reference.

All original instruments filed in the office must be retained in perpetuity in the office and after recording are not returned to the parties, as in done in most other states of the Union.

Marriage Licenses are issued by the Clerk’s Office, the returns thereof, after the celebration of the marriage ceremony are recorded and cross indexed.

Another function of the office is to serve as chief election officer of St. Charles parish. This entails handling the absentee voting, instruction of commissioners, delivery of voting machines to all polling precincts and the certification of the results of elections.

The ever increasing volume of records through the years necessarily creates a tremendous housing and storage problem. This is especially true in St. Charles Parish where the volume of records has increased tremendously in the past few years and will continue to increase as our parish grows.

All salaries and running expenses of the office are paid out of fees, as fixed by statute, collected for recordings, certified copies and services rendered in connection with civil, probate and criminal proceedings. No tax money is provided for the operation of the office.

Lance Marino
Clerk of Court
Parish of St. Charles
29th Judicial District Court