Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Orleans computer crash shuts down real estate closings

What happened and why it's a big deal
Real Estate closings in New Orleans have been delayed for the last three weeks because of a computer crash in the Civil Clerk of Court’s office. There are gaps in certain mortgage and conveyance records so that a clear chain of title to property in the Parish cannot be established. What this means is that anyone buying a house or refinancing a mortgage for the last three weeks has been unable to close on their transaction. With mortgage rates going up, locks on low interest rates are being lost. Real estate sales are being lost.
The daily transactions are backed up, but the backups in Orleans have failed.

Why this won’t happen in Bossier Parish
Bossier Clerk of Court
Cindy Johnston
A number of parishes in Louisiana have gone to ‘paperless’ record keeping, the advantage being that the clerk doesn’t have to pay someone to physically scan every document and put them into mortgage and conveyance books. The backup system, which failed in Orleans Parish, is their assurance that this is a safe method. Bienville Parish has gone paperless, and Caddo partially so. I’m not sure of the other local parishes except for Bossier, which has not done so.
What this means is that if the system and the backup lost data in Bossier Parish, it would only cause a minor inconvenience to real estate abstractors in determining the chain of title on any property in the parish. Everything is indexed and copies of the documents are available to them to do their work. This is probably the safest backup system available.
Technology is a great thing and I’m all for it, but the lesson that must be learned from the Orleans Parish crisis is that while the availability of the transactions and documents in computerized form is a great enhancement and time saver, it is not a replacement for the physical availability of these vital records.


  1. What about fire, flood or tornado?Computer backup is also used to maintain archived documents off site via server in case of a natural or not so natural disaster.

  2. Of course you should have good backup, and hopefully it would intact, but do not do away with the paper copies. The NOLA situation pretty much proves the case.

  3. Carbonite is only $49.95 a year.

    Just sayin'...

  4. A computer crash can be extremely inconvenient when it happens, especially to companies and government agencies that keep important data. That's why I told my brother, who's a data encoder, to hold on to the phone number of the Houston computer support expert I gave him in case it happens. Houston computer support services are very dependable, I must say. They once helped me retrieve the files that I lost due to a bad RAM problem. I owe them a lot.


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