Parish Government and the Police Jury
Roman law was the basis of legal procedure in Louisiana
under both French and Spanish regimes.

Both these governments had divisions of territory
for religious administration.
These religious divisions, known as parishes,
were conveniently used for civil administration,
hence many parishes were named for saints.

The territorial act of 1804 used "county"
to designate governmental subdivisions.

In 1807, an act was passed which changed the term for
these subdivisions back to "parish",
creating the only state in the Union without counties.

At the same time, an act also authorized a governing body
for each parish known as the "police assembly",
which was quite similar to the Spanish regidores
who were elected to assume responsibility for the building
of roads and other public works during the Spanish period.

This new counterpart of the colonial government
was composed of the Parish judges, the Justice of the Peace,
and a jury of twelve inhabitants.

Today the number of seats on a Police Jury,
no less than seven and no more than thirteen,
is determined by each individual parish.

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica /Calhoun,
"County and Parish Government"
Richard Seale, From French Village to American Town:
The Development of Natchitoches, Louisiana 1788-1818