Sovereign Immunity, Anachronistic or Inherent: A Sword or a Shield?

The purpose of this Article is to give a brief history of the origin and development of the doctrine of sovereign immunity both in the common law and the civil law. After treating the doctrine's European origins, the Article will then cross the Atlantic and likewise sketch the development of the doctrine in the United States and Louisiana. After establishing this background, the doctrine and its myriad permutations can be examined as it applies to one of the greatest disasters in our country's history--Hurricane Katrina. At that point, the viability of the doctrine can be examined against the backdrop of the stark reality of the devastation and suffering wreaked upon Louisiana, caused in part by the errors and omissions of our federal government.