Louisiana state law (RS 13:14751-13:14755) allows for an individual to alter their birth certificate to reflect a preferred name. This is accomplished by filing a civil petition in either the parish of birth or in Orleans Parish, where the Louisiana Department of Vital Records is located.
If filing in Orleans Parish, petitions are provided for a fee at the Clerk of Civil District Court office, located on the 4th Floor of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court building at 421 Loyola Ave.
Once a petition is filed in Civil District Court, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office is served with a copy. Our investigators are tasked with conducting a criminal history check to determine whether the applicant has been convicted of one of Louisiana’s enumerated crimes of violence (RS 14:2). The OPDA files the results with the court in an answer to the petition.
Some applicants hire an attorney to handle the process, others obtain the form at the Clerk of Civil District Court’s office and complete the steps themselves.
If the name change is part of an Act of Adoption, the name change is incorporated within that action. If the name change is part of an Acknowledgement of Paternity, the forms for that procedure are obtained at the Department of Vital Records. In either instance, the responsibilities of the OPDA to conduct the applicant’s criminal background check are the same.