[StBernard] Rebuilding New Orleans and FHA

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Wed Feb 23 21:21:06 EST 2011

Below is one of the pleasures I get to enjoy as an appraiser. I came across


Rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task
of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community
rich with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been
passed along through generations of family, sometimes making it quite
difficult to establish ownership. Here's a great letter an attorney wrote to
the FHA on behalf of a client:

You have to love this lawyer.......

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan
would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of
property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back
to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the
information to the FHA, he received the following reply.

(Actual reply from FHA):

Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note
that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment
the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we
must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral
property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be
necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

Actual response):

Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that
you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the
present application.

I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those
working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by
the United States from France, in 1803 the year of origin identified in our
application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title
to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had
acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the
possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea
captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of
seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella.

The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about
titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope
before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus's expedition...Now the Pope,
as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe
it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called
Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date
back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA.
I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have
our loan?"

Now this is the kind of lawyer I want doing my title work!

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