Weirdest Laws In Louisiana

Louisiana's legal system is unlike any other legal system throughout the United States. According to Slate, the French and Spanish influence on the Pelican State is evidenced in its implementation of civil law, historically referred to as the Napoleonic code. In contrast, every other state in the U.S. makes use of common law.

At the surface, legal systems all over America look strikingly similar, but as it turns out, Louisiana's system is perhaps just a little bit wackier than most. And with eccentric French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte still leaving his mark on the courts of justice, what we're seeing is the banning of reptiles from Mardi Gras parades, a prohibition on feeding hogs uncooked garbage, and the requirement of a special license for donning a goatee in public to name a few examples (via Morris Bart). Here's a look at some of Louisiana's weirdest laws and how they wound up part of state legislation.

No reptiles permitted at the Mardi Gras parade

If your mental image of the bayou isn't complete without a jazz-playing alligator à la "Princess and the Frog," you might be disappointed to learn that Louisiana law strictly forbids alligators within 200 feet of Mardi Gras parades. And it isn't only alligators the legislators are worried about. Chapter 34, Section 21 of Louisiana's legal code prohibits all reptiles from parades. This means it is absolutely illegal to roll up with your pet gecko, bearded dragon, or slithering boa constrictor and partake in any Mardi Gras festivities.

This rule applies to all places along the parade route. Reptile lovers should be keen to remove all alligators, crocodiles, and the likes from the parade path not less than two hours prior to the onset of the parade. For a rule so silly, the legislation is incredibly specific. It goes on to state that reptiles are not permitted to return "less than one hour after the actual end of the parade measured from each continuing area of parade termination."

Can you imagine what the end of a Mardi Gras parade must look like if there is a genuine concern that reptiles will be returning to wreak havoc before the party is officially over?

Minors cannot go into business with coin-operated foosball machines

If you're under the age of 18, and you've got your heart set on starting off life with a coin-operated foosball machine business, you better hope your parent or legal guardian approves. According to Stupid Laws, Section 6-16 in the general section of Louisiana law, requires adult supervision for a minor to get into the foosball business, which is defined as owning three or more coin-operated games.

Notably, this is true even if the establishment is allowing foosball enthusiasts to play for free, as the law specifies "for pay or otherwise." Not only must the accompanying adult remain on the premise at all times, but according to this oddball law, their name must remain on display in a public place. So much for incognito foosball owner parents and their aspiring offspring. Displaying names is required for folks who wish to stay in the game. These terms and conditions also apply to target and flipper-type machines.

Theatergoers, hats off once the curtain goes up

Louisiana is well-known for its theatrical delights, but checking out the local theater will require the removal of your hat. Call it old-fashioned or downright conservative, this law, like many others, is still on the books.

As a point of reference, theater buffs are permitted to wear hats into and out of the theater, so long as the headwear is removed while the show is in procession. This ordinance can be found under section 14-16 of New Orleans penal code, which details the expected spectator conduct. Furthermore, failure to comply with the aforementioned legislation can result in police involvement and the subsequent verdict of "guilty of an offense." That last part is particularly interesting, since most U.S. laws hold that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. But for hat-wearers in Louisiana theaters, the offense itself appears to be sufficient evidence of guilt.

Snoring with the bedroom window unlocked

As proof that they are not a state to be slept-on, Louisiana has made it strictly illegal to snore in your own bedroom if the windows are unlocked (via Morris Bart). Of course, it is well within the limits of legality to leave the windows unlocked if you're not a snorer or to snore with all window locks secure. But if you happen to lazily fall into slumber and that unmistakable sound of snoring escapes your lips while the windows are open and a soft Louisiana breeze is filtering in, don't be surprised if you receive a citation. You might be snoozing, but you're still breaking a Louisiana law.

Interestingly enough, this is not the only wacky bedroom legislation on the books. Louisiana sleepers are also not legally permitted to "put a bed to the ultimate test" prior to purchasing it. We dare not even speculate on what that means.

Mourners better not go in for a fourth sandwich

If you thought Louisiana's sleeping laws were silly, wait until you find out what happens at their wakes. Funeralgoers be forewarned, there is a legal limit of three sandwiches per person at any wake taking place in the state of Louisiana (via Morris Bart). This law is likely antiquated, but never officially taken off the books. Still, it's food for thought for comfort eaters everywhere.

It is unclear what historical sandwich-eating moment sparked this funny foodie law, but this one is not limited to Louisiana. Strangely, Massachusetts exhibits the exact same legislation with the exact same sandwich limit set at three (via Twisted Food).

At this point, you might be wonder what four-sandwich loving moocher was funeral hopping across the country, inspiring this ridiculous law. The truth is the world may never know, but if you reach out for a fourth sandwich at a Louisiana wake, prepare to get served a citation instead of a delectable platter.