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Home News News Fox 8 Clerk: More New Orleans mortgage records restored, but there are now gaps

Clerk: More New Orleans mortgage records restored, but there are now gaps

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Nearly two and a half weeks after a vital mortgage database in New Orleans crashed, the Clerk of Civil District Court now says there are gaps in what information the office has been able to recover so far. While mortgage data has been restored through October 25th, the clerk says there are missing pockets of information.

The lack of access to the full online database, dating back to 1985, has put many real estate transactions at a standstill.

Mickey Brown is the midst of packing up his French Quarter home. Moving hasn’t been easy, he says, but for reasons he never thought he'd have to face. For the last three weeks, he was told his closing date would be November 15th, this Monday, but what a difference three weeks can make.

"I found out yesterday we may not be able to close because of a problem with the city of New Orleans and the Clerk of Court's Office and their ability to access their real estate records,” said Brown.

It's been nearly two and half weeks since Civil District Court had its mortgage and conveyance database crash. The online catalog showed title attorneys just where to find specific information within the thousands of mortgage record books in the city, taking up two floors at 1340 Poydras, the building just across the street from the courthouse.

Properties in the midst of a sale or refinance must go through that title search, so attorneys can trace the ownership history to make sure the current owner is the real one.

Late Thursday, Clerk of Civil District Court Dale Atkins announced the mortgage database had been restored through October 25th of this year—that’s up from Monday when only information through August 6, 2009 had been restored.

Atkins, however, acknowledged a new problem, saying what was thought to have been restored information, actually has gaps of data.

“During the verification process…we learned that there are gaps in the recovered computerized mortgage data,” said Atkins in a statement. “There are ongoing efforts to restore data to fill in the gaps in the computerized records.”

Atkins is now asking the public to e-mail her office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it when they encounter the gaps of information within the database.

There have apparently been no advances in restoring the conveyance database since Atkins offered her last update on Monday. Per that update, the conveyance data has only been restored through March 27, 2009.

Atkins tells FOX 8 the technology firm hired by the court has yet to provide her with assurances that all of the missing data will eventually be recovered. Without the database fully restored, title searches in New Orleans continue to be delayed.

"And it's affecting people who are locked into these good [interest] rates that they have now,” said Jenny Duzac, a court runner in New Orleans. “They're losing their rate locks.”

Duzac has been a court runner in the city for nearly ten years. Her work from real estate attorneys is seriously down, she says, and it's an experience she's only felt once before.

"It was similar to after Katrina because all the records were lost, but that was a natural catastrophe,” said Duzac. “This is just a computer problem!"

While a vast majority of the database has been restored, real estate experts say it won't truly be useful until it's complete. By law, title searches are required to go as far back as 10 or 30 years, depending on the property, up through present day—which is information that's been missing from the database since it crashed.

"Two and half weeks is unbelievable and certainly unacceptable,” said Brown.

Brown estimates each day the sale of his house is delayed will mean about $250 worth of interest on the home he'll have to pay. He wants a resolution now. As a taxpayer, he says, he and others deserve one.

"I think people in New Orleans, we live here because we love it,” said Brown. But you know what, after awhile the excuses get old.”

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