In 1927, seven “leading ladies” of New Orleans sued the sponsor of a charity ball for acting in “bad grace” when he pocketed money slated for the French Opera. The Louisiana Supreme Court recognized the grandes dames as a class. Today, the Bayou State is still a swamp of class actions–except the litigants are grimier and more numerous.

The Big Easy was America’s first city to file suit against the gun industry, and its lawyers fired the opening shots in the victorious battle against Big Tobacco. It was, after all, the “Castano group”–formed by Louisiana lawyers to avenge the loss to lung cancer of Louisiana lawyer Peter Castano–that forced tobacco companies to accept a $368 billion settlement, which, though rejected by Congress, led to the historic deal with state attorneys general.

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