Gustavus’ move to New Orleans was well-chosen. The French civil law had been introduced in Louisiana in 1825, and their customary law was distinctly Francophile. In Louisiana, French and Spanish were spoken, and contacts with Mexico and the West Indies commenced in New Orleans. The city offered Antebellum America unparalleled legal opportunities in the frontier West.
“New Orleans, with its port, its banks, its railroads, its steamboats, and its commerce, became a magnet for a disproportionate share of bright legal talents.”
Gustavus Schmidt was one of those bright legal talents. In December 1829, he opened a law firm and was established as a lawyer. Soon, he also worked as a law teacher, and he founded the Louisiana Law School in 1844—often referred to as “Schmidt’s Law School”—that later merged into the law department of the University of Louisiana, which, even further, became Tulane University of Louisiana.
Gustavus Schmidt is therefore considered to be one of the founders of the contemporary law department at Tulane University School of Law.
Moreover, he published the first law journal in Louisiana, Louisiana Law Review, which was praised by authorities, such as Judge Joseph Story (1779–1845) and Chancellor James Kent (1763–1847). Because the publishing house closed down in 1842, only one volume with four numbers was ever published.
However, Gustavus published several articles in judicial magazines, the last one—about the federal courts—when he was over 80 years old. When he died in 1877, he was one of the most prestigious and respected lawyers in the state.