Louisiana's colonial land system was based on the Norman long lot. Properties were measured from the river bank, running back inland toward the swamps. All property lines ran perpendicular to the center of the river. This land system was designed to give all land owners equal access to the river (the main communications artery), equal portions of the best farmland and woodlands along the banks, and equal portions of the swamps, which provided the best stands of invaluable cypress timber. The terms right and left bank were utilized because of the meandering courses of Louisiana's streams. The left and right sides were usually determined by looking downstream. There are discrepancies in some colonial-era census reports, in which the compiler's orientation was evidently upstream. In the database, streams are indicated only when identified in the original sources.

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