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Louisiana Annotated Request


Brief Description of this Request

The Center for Constitutional Rights made this request in support of our movement partners in Louisiana, such as the organization RISE St. James, to find out more about how companies like Formosa were purposely building extremely environmentally harzardous facilities in Black communities and in many cases, on top of the burial grounds of enslaved people. For more information on this work, you can visit our case page here.


November 20, 2019

Via Email and Federal Express[JMV1] 

Custodian of Records[JMV2] 
Division of Archeology
Office of Cultural Development
Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism
Capitol Annex Building
1051 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Email: [email protected]


Re: Public Records Request


Dear Records Custodian:

This is a request for public records pursuant to the Louisiana Public Records Law, La. R.S. 44:1, et seq., [JMV3] on behalf of Sharon Lavigne and RISE St. James (“Requesters”).[JMV4] 

This request seeks all records[1] relating to the site of the facility proposed for FG LA LLC, also known as Formosa, in St. James, Louisiana.[JMV5] 

As such, this request includes, but is not limited to: [JMV6] 

  1. all correspondence, maps, surveys, and reports relating to the properties comprising the proposed site, formerly known as the Acadia, Buena Vista, Elina, and Winchester plantations;
  2. all correspondence, maps, surveys, and reports relating to searches for cultural and archeological resources on those properties, including cemeteries or burial grounds;
  3. all correspondence, maps, surveys, and reports relating to FG LA LLC’s permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and consultation pursuant to Sec. 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, including:
    1. the “response document and correspondence from the Office of Cultural Development, Division of Archeology” referenced on p. 9 of the Basis of Decision issued by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources on January 31, 2019;
    2. Correspondence from Dr. Charles McGimsey, Director of the Division of Archeology dated October 29, 2018, and any other correspondence to or from your office relating to FG LA’s permit application;
    3. Correspondence and reports referenced in the letter from Kristin P. Sanders, Deputy State historic Preservation Officer, dated November 21, 2017, addressed to Haley Rush.
    4. Correspondence and reports referenced in the letter from Kristin P. Sanders, State Historic Preservation Officer, dated November 9, 2018, addressed to Mike Horvath;

    As you know, La. R.S. 44:32(D) requires a response to this request within five (5) business days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, if you determine that any record requested is not a public record along with reasons therefore.[JMV7]  If these records will not be produced, please notify us in writing immediately and explain the reasons why.

    If the records are not currently in your possession, please notify us in writing, and provide information about where and with whom the records may be found, requested, viewed or copied, and/or when they will become available to your office.

    We ask that you produce these records electronically,[JMV8]  where possible, to avoid unnecessary fees and save paper. If there is any cost associated with the production of these records,[JMV9]  we ask that you notify us in writing immediately. However, we request a waiver of fees as disclosure of these requested records are in the public interest and are for a public purpose.[JMV10]  This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.

    Please feel free to contact me at any time using the contact information below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


    With best regards,


    Pamela C. Spees
    [phone number]
    [email address]


    [1] 1 La. R.S. 44:1(A)(2)(a) defines “public records” as “[a]ll books, records, writings, accounts, letters and letter books, maps, drawings, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, memoranda, and papers, and all copies, duplicates, photographs, including microfilm, or other reproductions thereof, or any other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, including information contained in electronic data processing equipment, having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed, or retained for use in the conduct, transaction, or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty, or function which was conducted, transacted, or performed by or under the authority of the constitution or laws of this state, or by or under the authority of any ordinance, regulation, mandate, or order of any public body or concerning the receipt or payment of any money received or paid by or under the authority of the constitution or the laws of this state.”

     [JMV1]Some agencies accept open records requests via email or an online portal. Others may require you to submit it by mail or in-person. It is best to contact the agency or check their website to confirm the accepted methods of submission before submitted a request [See Louisiana Explainer Section 8]

     [JMV2]Address your request to the records custodian, public information officer, or a specific employee in charge of handling open records requests for the agency from which you are seeking records [See Louisiana Explainer Section 4]

     [JMV3]Cite to the Public Records Law in the subject line and/or the first paragraph of your request. [See Louisiana Explainer Section 1]

     [JMV4]Any adult person (including companies and organizations) can submit an open records request in Louisiana. [See Louisiana Explainer Section 2] This request was submitted by a CCR lawyer on behalf of a Louisiana resident and a Louisiana-based organization.

     [JMV5]Generally describe the records you are requesting.

     [JMV6]If you are seeking “all records” on a particular topic, you may choose to provide examples of the types of responsive records you think the agency may have. Keep in mind that the broader your request is, the more likely the agency is to deny it or delay their response.

     [JMV7]We recommend citing the deadlines under the Public Records Law in your request. [See Louisiana Explainer Section 9]

     [JMV8]We recommend asking that the records be produced in electronic format to avoid printing/copying fees and make them easier to review. [See Louisiana Explainer Section 9]

     [JMV9]Agencies are permitted to charge a reasonable fee for making copies or electronically transmitting records, and in some circumstances they can also charge for staff time spent retrieving and reviewing records [See Louisiana Explainer Section 7]

     [JMV10]Fee waivers or reductions are available under the Public Records Law for indigent (low-income) persons and when the records will be used for a public purpose [See Louisiana Explainer Section 7]. You may (but are not required to) provide additional detail on the public purpose for which you plan to use the records.

     [IH11]Make sure to provide a specific name and address where the agency can send any responses