The City of New Orleans faced severe outbreaks of disease after its water supply was contaminated with the refuse from slaughterhouses located about a mile upstream on the Mississippi River. The Louisiana state legislature sought to remedy this problem by centralizing the location of all slaughtering away from the water supply. It did this by creating the Crescent City Livestock Landing & Slaughter-house Co. (defendant) and gave the company a monopoly over the entire slaughtering business in and around New Orleans. The legislature required all butchers to rent out space from the company and conduct all butchering activities on the premises. The Butchers’ Benevolent Assn. of New Orleans (plaintiff) brought several suits against the company alleging that the Louisiana law was an unconstitutional violation of the servitude prohibition in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Privileges and Immunities Clause, Due Process Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The case was submitted on writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana, which held for the company. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.