Transactions in New Orleans Remain in Limbo

November 23, 2010

Real estate transactions continue to be delayed in the Orleans Parish due to a computer crash nearly a month ago that resulted in the loss of mortgage and conveyance records.

Because the backup system also failed, transactions in New Orleans have been stopped because access to the public records has not been fully restored and gaps in the documents remain.

According to Clerk of Court Dale N. Atkins, his office has made on-going progress creating manual indexes for documents received in mortgage and conveyance from October 26, 2010 to present. The office also has secured personnel and equipment needed to speed the process of data entry.

Mortgage data recovered through October, 2010 is available but contains gaps in the computerized records, according to an IT contractor helping restore the data.

As of November 19, the office’s electronic cash-register system was operational and assigning instrument numbers. All documents received in the office since October 26, 2010 will be assigned instrument numbers.

Atkins also said that on November 24, the office’s data entry system will be fully operational, allowing the office to address the backlog the crisis created.

“I fully recognize the enormity and complexity of the problem. Conveyance data from March 27, 2009 to October 26, 2010 has to be reindexed,” Atkins said. “Mortgage data from August 6, 2009 to October 26, 2010 has to be reindexed. I will be supplementing my staff to do these tasks as quickly as possible.”

The New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Title Attorneys (NOMATA), a regional organization of the Louisiana Land Title Association, continues to work closely wit Atkins to resolve the issue, according to that Brent Laliberte of Bayou Title. Laliberte is the incoming president of the LLTA and he is the current NOMATA president.

Laliberte said he and others have asked Gov. Bobby Jindal to declare a state of emergency that would call for outside experts to help restore the system.