Framework of Local Governments

Local government is a great deal more complex than most people realize.  It is rather more like a horizontal structure than a top-down one, and requires a lot of cooperation and goodwill among all the various units. 

Local government is more directly representative than state and national governments because its elected and appointed officials serve a smaller number of people
and because local government meetings are geographically closer to attendLocal government also depends on voters to make themselves available for public service—elected or appointed.

In this web guide the units of local government are organized by geographic layers, called "jurisdictions":
  • Multi-Parish
  • Parish
  • Ward
  • Municipal
    The overview contained in this section—Parts 1-4—is also available to download as a single print-friendly PDF booklet.
  • Other
  • Special District
There are many semi-independent units of government in each different layer.  Tax support is separate for the major units and is controlled by the voters.

Local government is not autonomous. It is restricted by many regulations and limitations:
  • U.S. & LA Constitutions
  • Federal & state law
  • Court decisions at all levels
  • Federal & state agency & dept. guidelines
Government Doesn’t Just Happen!

Voters and Residents are key to successful local government.


  1. Elect and Recall Officials
  2. Vote for, Renew, and Pay Taxes
  3. Provide Public Oversight
  4. Demand Transparency and Open Government
  5. Tell local officials their position on key issues
John St. Julien,
Feb 23, 2011, 11:15 AM