Let’s face it, sometimes people do strange things, and the people of Louisiana are no exception. When the police are faced with a situation that they’ve never encountered before, there may not be a legal remedy because no one ever expected anyone to do that in the first place.
To deal with some of the more bizarre situations they encountered, lawmakers of the past created equally weird laws so they wouldn’t have to deal with problems like that again. While this may seem sensible, some of the laws that were created as a result are not. Despite this, many are still on the books, even if they aren’t enforced.
As New Orleans personal injury lawyers, we understand how complex the laws can be. We help our clients to understand the law every day, but even we would have trouble explaining the logic behind some of the following laws.
The Weirdest Laws in Louisiana
In general, our laws make sense and are intended to keep us safe. You will not be reading about those laws in this article. While you’re reading this list of strange, outdated laws in Louisiana, keep in mind that someone at that time did something that caused law enforcement to believe passing these laws was necessary.
Mourners Have a Three-Sandwich Limit
If you want to eat more than three sandwiches at a wake and the host tells you no, you can thank the person who ruined it for everyone else by eating more than their share back when this law was enacted.
No Snakes at the Parade
You can enjoy the company of your snake, and you can enjoy a parade, but you can’t enjoy both things together within 200 yards of a Mardi Gras parade route. If you attend all parades with your snake, be glad you didn’t live in the time when this law was enforced.
No Gargling in Public
If the sound of someone gargling in public angers or otherwise offends you, Louisiana is the place to be because you can call the police on the offending gargler. At least, according to our laws you can. Just don’t expect an officer to show up.
Don’t Tie Your Alligator to a Fire Hydrant
When you meet your friends for brunch at your favorite New Orleans restaurant, you’ll need to find someplace else to tie your alligator because tying it to a fire hydrant is prohibited by law. Instead, you might want to find a restaurant with a gator-friendly patio.
Drunks: No Blocking the Sidewalk
If you’re going to pass out drunk in New Orleans, be careful how you land. According to today’s laws, you can be arrested for passing out drunk anywhere in public, but there was a time when it was just fine, as long as you didn’t block anyone else’s path.
Keep Your Goatee Private
In the Bayou State, goatees must be kept private unless you first pay a special license fee for the privilege of wearing one in public. You may try to invoke this law if you want a loved one to shave, but chances are you won’t get very far since it’s no longer enforced.
In addition to these laws, in Louisiana you are legally prohibited from daring a friend to lay down on railroad tracks that are owned by somebody else. You can only dare your friend to lay on their own railroad tracks.
If you’re a woman, you also aren’t allowed to drive in New Orleans unless your husband is waving a flag in front of your car at the time. Just think, if we still followed this law, your husband might have to hire a car accident lawyer in New Orleans, LA, to defend himself if you hit a car because he and his flags weren’t there to warn the other driver.
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Laws Louisianans Clearly Aren’t Following Today
You may be surprised by how many strange Louisiana laws prohibit common things that happen in the state every day, or at least during Mardi Gras. The following laws are proof that there have always been people who use the law to try to stop the rest of us from having a good time.
- Fake wrestling matches are prohibited
- Mardi Gras beads may not be thrown from a third story window
- No one may throw objects at a parade float
- It is illegal to practice voodoo in the city limits
- Condoms may not be thrown from parade floats
- Television reporters may not throw doubloons, trinkets, or other items to the crowd during a parade
Our “paper bag head” New Orleans Saints fans may also be surprised to find out that in Louisiana, it’s a crime for fans at a sporting event to insult or disparage the players.
Strange Small Town Louisiana Laws that Are Still on the Books
If you live in any of these small towns, there was a time when you had to follow these laws in addition to the other weird state laws:
- In the town of Sulphur, it is illegal to be an alcoholic.
- In Jefferson Parish, minors aren’t allowed to go to businesses with coin-operated foosball machines unless they’re accompanied by an adult.
- In Jefferson Parish, no one may pour a drink out on the ground at a drive-in movie. You are also not allowed to feed your hogs garbage unless you cook it first.
- In Carencro, it is illegal to ask for, “More cowbell,” because cowbells are banned.
- In Abbeville, it’s illegal to roller skate on the sidewalk.
- In Rayne, trick-or-treating is prohibited if you’re 14 or older.
If any of these situations is a deal-breaker for you, you might want to consider moving to the big city.
Strange Louisiana Laws that Are Reasonable
These laws may not seem too strange until you consider the situations that created them. It’s easy to see why any of these scenarios may have caused problems:
- It is illegal to urinate in the water supply and an infraction may cost you up to 20 years in prison
- Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked
- You may not put a bed to the “ultimate test” before buying it
- Ordering a pizza to be delivered to your friend without them knowing could land you a $500 fine
- Taxi drivers are prohibited from making love in the front seat of their taxi during their shifts
- New Orleans city commission members may not drink during a public meeting or else risk a $50 fine
- One may not host a game at Lafayette Square without a permit
- One-handed bicycle riding is prohibited. Every rider of a bicycle, tricycle or other vehicle propelled by hand or foot must keep at least one hand on the handlebars while riding
- You may not ride horseback or drive cattle on the neutral ground or fasten any animal to a tree on a public highway, neutral ground, park, public place, triangle, or sidewalk in the city
While it’s true that the laws have not always made sense, even the laws that do make sense can be difficult to understand if you’re navigating the legal system for the first time.
At Morris Bart, we may not be able to defend you if you’ve tied your alligator in the wrong place, but our personal injury attorneys are happy to answer your questions about car accidents and other injuries. With offices across the Gulf South region, we have a proven history of helping our clients get positive results for even the most challenging of cases.
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