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Outreach

Community outreach is critical to the mission of the administration of justice. One of the primary goals of our district’s Public Outreach Committee is to educate young people and the public about the important role that the federal courts, our judges and our lawyers play in preserving the rule of law.

Over the years, the judges of our court have worked to develop strong ties to the community. These connections have been maintained and strengthened by the various community outreach efforts initiated by our judges individually and collectively.

A team of dedicated judges have demonstrated commitment to bringing our judges to the community to have dialogues about subjects including what courts do and why young people should aspire to become lawyers and judges. In this way, it is our goal to increase access to justice for all.

Outreach Impacting the Community

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - September 17, 2019[–] Naturalization Ceremony - September 17, 2019

On September 17, 2019, Senior Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon, District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over a naturalization ceremony in which 55 individuals, originating from countries around the world, became new United States citizens. The ceremony took place on Constitution Day, a day on which the signing of the U.S. Constitution is commemorated and those who have become American citizens are celebrated. The U.S. Marine Forces Reserve Color Guard began the ceremony by presenting the colors. Singer Jennifer Mitchell followed with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. And members of various chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution led the Pledge of Allegiance. Judge Lemmon gave opening remarks which included a video of American Bar Association President and local New Orleanian, Judy Perry Martinez, providing an overview of Constitution Day’s spirit and purpose. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Mansfield then certified the candidate’s eligibility for naturalization and presented them to the court. The candidates took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, thereby becoming American citizens. The Oath was followed by Jennifer Mitchell’s operatic version of America the Beautiful and a moving speech by keynote speaker, Miriam G. Waltzer, retired judge for the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal and Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. Judge Waltzer, an active member of the New Orleans Chapter of the League of Women Voters and a staunch advocate for voting rights, stressed the importance of all newly-naturalized citizens utilizing their new-found right to vote as well as always persevering in the face of adversity. The ceremony concluded with new citizens being invited to complete voter registration applications at a table staffed by volunteers from the League of Women Voters. Please select this link to access ceremony photographs.

[+] Chief U.S. District Judge Brown and U.S. Senator Cassidy Address Concerns Regarding Returning Citizens[–] Chief U.S. District Judge Brown and U.S. Senator Cassidy Address Concerns Regarding Returning Citizens

On September 4, 2019, Chief United States District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown and United States Senator Bill Cassidy jointly convened a Reentry Task Force, the purpose of which was to discuss a system-wide approach to identifying issues and developing solutions relating to the transition of individuals who have been incarcerated back into the community. Judicial officers from throughout the Eastern District of Louisiana who implement reentry courts, local government representatives, state and federal pretrial and probation officers, business owners and other professionals who provide or want to be involved in providing assistance with effective, predictable and safe transition of these citizens returning to our communities, and other stakeholders in and around Louisiana were invited to join task force subcommittees. These stakeholders were challenged to share information concerning mental illness, drug addiction, learning differences, housing and employment, funding, policies, procedures, and gaps in coverage. With this information sharing, the Chief Judge and Senator hope to create a more proactive, systemic approach to transitioning returning individuals back into the community, one which assists individuals from the time of initial arrest through release, and one that supports and enhances the safety of our community as a whole.

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - June 6, 2019[–] Naturalization Ceremony - June 6, 2019

On June 6, 2019, the Honorable Nannette Jolivette Brown, Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over a naturalization ceremony in which 35 individuals were naturalized as new United States citizens. The ceremony opened with a flag presentation by the United States Marine Forces Reserve Color Guard, a rendition of the National Anthem, and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. After the ceremony opened, New Orleans Bar Association President, Jason Waguespack, provided a keynote address. In his address, Attorney Waguespack focused on a citizen's rights and responsibilities and recounted the wisdom of President Theodore Roosevelt's 1910 "Citizenship in a Republic" speech, in which President Roosevelt offered that a good citizen is not one who sits on the sideline and complains, but one:

"who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." 

After Attorney Waguespack's speech, Assistant United States Attorney Mary Katherine Kaufman certified candidates' eligibility for naturalization. The candidates then individually introduced themselves, announced their countries of origin, and received certificates of naturalization. Following the certificate distribution, Judge Brown administered the Oath of Allegiance and concluded the ceremony with remarks further reflecting on these words of President Theodore Roosevelt:

"Americanism is a question of principles, of idealism, of character; it is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent."

After the ceremony, the New Orleans Chapter of the League of Women Voters encouraged new citizens to take advantage of their new-found citizenship by completing voter registration applications. 

Please select this link (Part A, Part B) to view photographs from the ceremony.

[+] Identifying and Addressing Domestic Violence in the Context of Federal Litigation - April 30, 2019[–] Identifying and Addressing Domestic Violence in the Context of Federal Litigation - April 30, 2019

On April 30, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and the New Orleans Federal Bar Association, in partnership with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), Catholic Charities' Project SAVE, and Tulane Law School's Domestic Violence Clinic, sponsored a panel discussion entitled, "Identifying and Addressing Domestic Violence in the Context of Federal Litigation." Panelists included Professor Becki Kondkar, director of Tulane Law School's Domestic Violence Clinic and co-director of Tulane Law School's Women's Prison Project; Professor Katherine Mattes, director of Tulane Law School's Criminal Justice Clinic and co-director of Tulane Law School's Women's Prison Project; Dr. Marcus Kondkar, Chair of Loyola University New Orleans' Department of Sociology; and Dr. Fred Buttell, Professor at Tulane University's School of Social Work. The discussion was moderated by Tania Tetlow, University President of Loyola University New Orleans. Discussion topics included strategies for identifying clients who are or have been victims of domestic violence, how to properly present and contextualize domestic violence evidence within the confines of litigation and trial, percentage of domestic violence victims amongst Louisiana's female prisoner population, different categories of batterers and their attributes, and the effectiveness of court-ordered batterer intervention programs. The program's underlying purpose was to promote pro bono legal services for survivors of domestic violence in compliance with the POWER Act, a congressional act requiring the chief judge in each federal district to lead at least one public event each year promoting pro bono legal services for domestic violence survivors. As such, Chief Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown assembled a committee of legal aid and domestic violence service experts, including Elena Perez and Doug Carey, attorneys for SLLS, Allyson Tuttle, Executive Director of Project SAVE, and Professor Becki Kondkar, to help plan the event. Attendees were encouraged to speak with the legal aid and domestic violence service providers present at the event to ascertain how they might best be utilized to assist domestic violence survivors in our community.

Identifying and Addressing Domestic Violence in the Context of Federal Litigation

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - April 4, 2019[–] Naturalization Ceremony - April 4, 2019

On April 4, 2019, the Honorable Martin L.C. Feldman, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over a naturalization ceremony in which 16 foreign-born individuals became United States citizens. Attorney Christopher Alfieri, representative of the New Orleans Federal Bar Association, served as keynote note speaker for the event. Mr. Alfieri encouraged the naturalization candidates to embrace American ideals while still maintaining their ethnic cultures and traditions, stressing that America's strength lies in its many cultures and peoples. Following Mr. Alfieri's address, Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Schreiber, acting as the U.S. Attorney General's designee, certified the candidates' eligibility for naturalization. The candidates then recited the Oath of Allegiance to the United States as administered by Judge Feldman. Judge Feldman gave closing remarks in which he emphasized the many freedoms enjoyed by the American people, including "the freedom to be who you want to be." Following the ceremony, the new citizens were offered the opportunity to register to vote at a table where the Honorable Miriam Waltzer, former Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge and member of the New Orleans Chapter of the League of Women Voters, was assisting new citizens in the application process. Please select this link to access ceremony photographs.

[+] 2019 African American History Month Celebration[–] 2019 African American History Month Celebration

This video documents an African American History Month Celebration held at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on February 22, 2019, entitled, "Civil Rights: What It Meant Then, What It Means Now, and What It Means for Our Future." The event featured speeches by local civil rights icons, Sybil Morial, Ernest Jones, Norman Francis, and Moon Landrieu, and included a panel discussion moderated by Chief Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown. The following organizations helped plan the event: Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, Association for Women Attorneys, Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Bar Association, Federal Public Defender's Office, United States Attorney's Office, United States Probation Office, and United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - February 7, 2019[–] Naturalization Ceremony - February 7, 2019

On February 7, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana held a naturalization ceremony, during which 14 individuals were naturalized as new United States citizens. The Honorable Susie Morgan, District Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over the ceremony. The ceremony began with the United States Marine Forces Reserve Color Guard presenting the American and Marine Corps flags, and Malinda Blevins, Daughter of the American Revolution - Spirit of '76 Chapter, leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Eureka Arties of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Office sang the National Anthem a cappella. Cory Vidal, President of the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, provided a welcome address. Mr. Vidal focused on the American civil rights movement and the activists who took courageous action to ensure that all people, regardless of race or national origin, are treated equally and fairly under the United States Constitution. Kimberly Silas, President-Elect of the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, provided a keynote address. Ms. Silas encouraged naturalization candidates to vote, pursue public office, and get involved in their communities. Following Ms. Silas' address, Ms. Arties sang a moving rendition of America the Beautiful. Afterwards, each naturalization candidate walked to the front of the courtroom, individually announced his/her name and country of origin, and took a picture with Judge Morgan. The candidates then took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and received certificates of naturalization. A truly celebratory mood pervaded the courtroom, as new citizens, their families and friends, and members of the legal community celebrated the momentous occasion. Please select the following link to access ceremony photographs.

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - December 13, 2018[–] Naturalization Ceremony - December 13, 2018

On December 13, 2018, the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, Senior District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, naturalized 31 individuals as United States citizens. Loyola Law School Professor Isabel Medina provided the keynote address, in which she recounted her family's own naturalization story and encouraged the individuals to take advantage of their new-found citizenship. The colors were presented by the United States Marine Forces Reserve Color Guard, and a five-piece brass quintet of the United States Marine Forces Reserve Band played patriotic songs, including the National Anthem and God Bless America. The ceremony culminated with the individuals taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and being given certificates of naturalization. The new citizens originated from over 15 different countries, emphasizing the truly diverse nature of the American citizenry.

[+] 2018 Bakeman/Brisbane Counseling & Treating People of Colour International Conference Workshop[–] 2018 Bakeman/Brisbane Counseling & Treating People of Colour International Conference Workshop

On November 29, 2018, the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle hosted a group of 20 students who were visiting New Orleans for the 2018 Bakeman/Brisbane Counseling and Treating People of Colour International Conference. Professionals from various federal agencies assisted Senior Judge Lemelle in engaging students in a lively discussion, with topics ranging from professional development to the criminal justice system. Federal professionals participating in the event included Acting Chief U.S. Probation Officer Lawrence Martin, Deputy Chief Probation Officer Brenda Barron Harrell, Supervising Probation Officer Veronica Pichon, Federal Public Defender Claude Kelly, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Duane Evans and Tracey Knight, and Judicial Law Clerks Tahura Lodhi and Precious Johnson. In addition to thanking all participants, Senior Judge Lemelle acknowledged with appreciation significant contributions to the success of the program that were made by the Honorable Chief Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown and Director of Education and Training Rebecca Coman.

Bakeman/Brisbane Counseling and Treating People of Colour International Conference Workshop

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - October 11, 2018[–] Naturalization Ceremony - October 11, 2018

On October 11, 2018, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana held a naturalization ceremony in which 15 individuals became new United States citizens. The Honorable Jane Triche Milazzo, District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over the ceremony. Attorney Kimberly Silas, member of the New Orleans Bar Association, provided the keynote address in which she expressed gratitude to the naturalization candidates for their commitment to our country, and encouraged them to get involved in civic affairs by registering to vote and running for public office. Following Ms. Silas' address, the candidates took the United States Oath of Allegiance, promising to uphold and bear allegiance to the United States Constitution. Afterwards, Judge Milazzo addressed the new citizens, expressing her sincere happiness for their joining the American citizenry, and in quoting the great politician and statesman, Adlai Stevenson, stated, "When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect." Judge Milazzo concluded the ceremony by distributing a certificate of naturalization to each new citizen. Photographs of the ceremony may be accessed by selecting the following link, and may also be accessed from the Court's Naturalization Page.

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - September 17, 2018[–] Naturalization Ceremony - September 17, 2018

On September 17, 2018, the Honorable Mary Ann Vial Lemmon, District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over the court's Constitution and Citizenship Day Naturalization Ceremony . The ceremony opened with a soul-stirring rendition of The Star Spangled Banner as recorded by the iconic songstress, Aretha Franklin. Thirty naturalization candidates then took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, wherein the candidates promised to support, defend, and bear allegiance to the United States Constitution, as well as bear arms and perform noncombatant service when required by law. Afterwards, the Honorable Janis vanMeerveld, Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, gave the keynote address, in which she detailed her own naturalization experience and provided words of encouragement and inspiration to the new citizens. Judge Lemmon concluded the ceremony by offering her sincere congratulations to the new citizens and their families. Photographs of the ceremony may be accessed by selecting the following link: http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/photos/naturalization-ceremony-september-17..., and may also be accessed from the Court's Naturalization Page.

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - August 9, 2018[–] Naturalization Ceremony - August 9, 2018

On August 9, 2018, the Honorable Daniel E. Knowles, Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over a Naturalization Ceremony in which 33 new citizens took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Attorney Eric Sella, member of the New Orleans Bar Association, served as keynote speaker, and Assistant United States Attorney, Sandra Gutierrez, presented the naturalization candidates to the Court. After the naturalization candidates took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution led the new citizens, their families and friends, and members of the Court and local legal community in the Pledge of Allegiance. The ceremony concluded with an address from Judge Knowles in which he expressed his sincere congratulations to the new citizens. After the ceremony, the Honorable Nannette Jolivette Brown, Chief District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, distributed Certificates of Naturalization to each new citizen. Photographs of the ceremony may be accessed by selecting the following link: http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/photos/naturalization-ceremony-august-9-2018, and may also be accessed from the Court's Naturalization Page.

[+] Naturalization Ceremony - June 14, 2018[–] Naturalization Ceremony - June 14, 2018

On June 14, 2018, the Honorable Nannette Jolivette Brown, Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over a Naturalization Ceremony in which 24 new citizens took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Attorney Robert McKnight, member of the New Orleans Bar Association, served as keynote speaker, and Assistant United States Attorney, Sandra Gutierrez, presented the new citizens to the Court. After the new citizens took the Oath of Allegiance, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution led the new citizens, their families and friends, and members of the Court and local legal community in the Pledge of Allegiance. The ceremony concluded with an inspiring and heartfelt address from Chief Judge Brown in which she challenged the new citizens to fully realize both the advantages and responsibilities of their new-found citizenship. Photographs of the ceremony may be accessed by selecting the following link: http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/photos/naturalization-ceremony-june-14-2018, and may also be accessed from the Court's Naturalization Page.

[+] Federal Court Naturalizes Citizens[–] Federal Court Naturalizes Citizens

For further information about the naturalization process see Naturalization.

Constitution Day - September 18, 2017

On September 18, 2017, Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana presided over a special Naturalization Ceremony at Loyola University New Orleans's Roussel Hall to celebrate Constitution Day. Over 250 students from local high schools were in attendance to witness 98 new citizens from more than 40 different countries take the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng delivered an entertaining key note address in which she encouraged the petitioners to become involved in their communities and congratulated them for making the brave decision to come to the United States to benefit not only themselves, but their future generations, as her grandfather did. United States Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld delivered an inspiring speech recounting her own Naturalization story. Local attorney José Cot made remarks in Spanish and English to highlight the importance of multi-culturalism in the United States. The Hahnville High School Band and the Archbishop Hannan High School Choir treated the audience to a patriotic music. At the end of the program, the petitioners were gleefully taking photographs with the speakers and the American flag. Students could be heard outside the auditorium congratulating the new citizens on joining the American family. It was a beautiful ceremony celebrating American democracy and citizenship in action.

View Video

September 16, 2016

Constitution and Citizenship Day

America's newest citizens took the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony as part of this year's celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, on September 16, 2016. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana was among numerous other federal courts around the country (www.uscourts.gov) which held annual naturalization ceremonies for more than 33,000 new citizens to commemorate the date of September 17, 1787, which was when the Constitutional Convention delegates signed our nation’s founding document. Seventeen petitioners from eleven countries took the Oath of Allegiance at the ceremony held in the Court’s ceremonial courtroom. Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana presided over the ceremony with Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles, III, also of the Eastern District and Joshua O. Hess, of Christovich & Kearney, as the keynote speakers.

As part of the program, Marine JROTC members from Jesuit High School presented the Colors; representatives from three local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and Eureka Arties, of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, beautifully sang the “National Anthem” and “America the Beautiful”.

July 3, 2015

Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Wilkinson Jr. gives the keynote speech at a naturalization ceremony at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Friday, July 3, 2015. The Times Picayune and WDSU News covered the event.

September 17, 2014

America's newest citizens took the Oath of Allegiance at naturalization ceremonies from New York to Alaska, including in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of this year's celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, on September 17, 2014.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is among two dozen federal courts around the country which held naturalization ceremonies marking the date in 1787 that Constitutional Convention delegates signed the nation’s founding document. Ninety-nine petitioners from more than thirty countries took the Oath of Allegiance at the New Orleans ceremony held on Wednesday morning at Roussel Hall at Loyola University New Orleans. Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana spearheaded the planning and presided over the ceremony. United States Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby also presided.

Students from sixteen different schools attended the event. As part of the program, student JROTC members from Jesuit High School presented the Colors; the Warren Easton High School Concert Band performed the National Anthem and other patriotic music; the St. Katharine Drexel Preparatory School Choir sang patriotic songs; the Constitution Day Essay Contest Winner, Forge Mathes from St. Paul’s Catholic School, read his essay; and a cast from the International High School of New Orleans presented the skit “America, A Nation of Our Own: Gateway to Freedom.” In addition, Reverend Kevin Wildes, S.J., President of Loyola University New Orleans, welcomed all attendees, and the Daughters of the American Revolution lead the Pledge of Allegiance. United States Attorney Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Kimberly Silas of the Louisiana State Bar Association, and Dean María Pabón López of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law were the keynote speakers.

“The Naturalization ceremony is an extremely important and meaningful event in the lives of the new citizens,” said Judge Lemmon. “The immigrants study our government and pledge themselves to follow our Constitution and laws. Scheduling this event on Constitution Day emphasizes the importance of this pledge of allegiance.”

This is the first time the Federal Judiciary has coordinated a day of naturalization ceremonies across the nation. To support Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, as well as court-related civics education, the federal courts provided multi-media educational resources for use in courtrooms and classrooms.

The federal courts’ national initiative is part of broader efforts by the Civics Renewal Network (CRN) convened by the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. CRN is an alliance of 26 organizations dedicated to raising the visibility of civics education and providing free, high-quality resources for teachers. Partners include the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Constitution Center, the Newseum, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ EDSITEment, and the U.S. Courts. Louisiana Center for Law and Civic Education played a large role in the event, with its executive director, Peggy Cotogno organizing participation by area high schools.

[+] Federal Courts’ National Outreach Initiative “Open Doors to Federal Courts”[–] Federal Courts’ National Outreach Initiative “Open Doors to Federal Courts.”

Open Doors to Federal Courts Judge Roby, a U.S. Magistrate Judge has served as our court’s coordinating judicial officer of the judiciary’s outreach program “Open Doors to Federal Courts” is an umbrella for national and local initiatives that link courts to their communities through an annual event at federal courthouses across the nation. The interactive learning experience brings teachers, high school seniors, bar associations, and the media into the courthouses to interact with federal judges and court staff. This event underscores that jury service is an adult privilege and responsibility.
 

More photos...

[+] Working for Justice: Careers in the Courts[–] Working for Justice: Careers in the Courts

A signature program conducted in 2003 where students learned about various careers that are available in the courts.

[+] Middle School Mock Trial Experience[–] Middle School Mock Trial Experience

Crescent Leadership Academy StudentsMiddle School students have the opportunity to visit federal court and present an oral argument based upon a mock proceeding entitled Snow White and the Witch. This opportunity is typically coordinated in connection with area schools study of the government and its three branches.

 

Judge Berrigan hosts students from Crescent Leadership Academy (CLA), which is a Type 5 Charter School providing alternative educational services to students in grades 7-12 in the New Orleans Recovery School District. While the primary focus is attendance, CLA serves a wide population of students and is focused on high achievement levels of the New Orleans alternative school population. The students receives an Individualized Learning Plan and customized educational environments that address different learning styles.

 

More photos...

[+] Judicial Hammers - Habitat for Humanity[–] Judicial Hammers - Habitat for Humanity

In addition to our work with lawyers and students, our judges have galvanized to give back to the New Orleans community and participate in several house builds through Habitat for Humanity.

[+] Serving Up the Homeless[–] Serving Up the Homeless

Serving Up the Homeless Coordinated by Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan, U.S. District Judge of our Court, once a month, our judges along with their staff and extended court family serve food to the homeless for several hours.  The judges also through their community work get to interact and lunch with area homeless citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[+] SOLACE[–] SOLACE

Sample Thank You Note The SOLACE program — an acronym for Support of Lawyers/Legal Personnel, All Concern Encouraged was co-created by Judge Zainey, U.S. District Judge of our Court, recognizing that many Louisiana attorneys and legal professionals face difficult personal tragedies often had limited access to, and limited knowledge of, assistance avenues, and realizing that many other Louisiana attorneys and legal professionals had vast resources of compassion and contacts. The program began operation on Oct. 28, 2002, with a few attorneys and legal professionals forming the initial assistance network. The network has grown to more than 5,000 legal professionals, all quickly accessible by e-mail. To date, the network has assisted more than 500 individuals and families. That assistance can come in the form of a condolence card to the grieving family of a deceased attorney to immediate air transportation for an attorney needing to get to a hospital out-of-state for a life-saving organ transplant.

 

The SOLACE program now has over 8000 members in Louisiana and also in 15 states and Puerto Rico.

[+] Angola Trip[–] Angola Trip

Once a year, Judge Berrigan, in conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division of the Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter, takes a group of at-risk teenagers to the Louisiana State Penitentiary as a field trip. This year's group was from Crescent Leadership Academy. The group consisted of a mixture of "choice" students who enrolled at CLA and students who had been expelled from other public schools. On the way to Angola, the group viewed "The Farm", an award winning documentary about the Louisiana State Penitentiary. At Angola, the students met with an inmate who spoke to them and answered questions for about 45 minutes. They then ate a typical prison meal at one of the outcamps, served by inmates. They traveled throughout the prison, visiting a typical dormitory of 70 inmate residents and their meager area for their belongings, the common showers and bathrooms and the one television set, the Death House and the actual room where executions take place; and Point Lookout, where inmates are buried who have no family members to claim them. Upon their return, they wrote essays about the trip, with the winning essays earning a $50 gift certificate. The $50 prize and the trip are funded by a grant obtained by the Young Lawyers Division of the Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter.

[+] Re-Entry Court[–] Re-Entry Court

Re-Entry Court Judge Berrigan presides over a "Re-Entry Court." This court focuses on eleven recently released prisoners from federal custody who are on supervised release. The group is selected because of their high risk of recidivating, in accordance with factors associated with returning to prison - such as a long history of substance abuse, lack of strong family support, and so on. The program provides support services in terms of substance abuse counseling, mental health assistance, cognitive therapy training, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, which the group attends together. For the first month, they meet weekly in Judge Berrigan's courtroom to go over their progress in the previous week. Those that have successfully completed everything for that week, get "the basket" - a large basket of candy bars of various kids, crackers and nuts. Once the first month is completed, those that have completed all the program components "graduate" to twice a month meetings, although they continue with their weekly joint activities. Eventually the meetings are reduced to once a month, followed by graduation.

 

This is the second Re-Entry Court that the judge has presiding over. In March of 2012, the first group was started. Of the original eleven members, seven graduated successfully, having completed the program entirely. Two others were retained on supervised release, and have not had any violations. One other member was so successful with his work that he was able to drop out of the program and the last participant, unfortunately, was shot and killed early in the program by someone in his neighborhood with a grudge against him.

[+] General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.[–] General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.

Judge Lemelle, U.S.District Court Judge, EDLA, serves as a Class A Trustee (nonalcoholic board member) which provides various services to alcoholics and families of same on local, regional, national and international levels.

[+] Cafe Reconcile[–] Cafe Reconcile

Cafe Reconcile Judge Lemelle serves on its board which is a nonprofit restaurant that uses innovative strategies to provide life skills and job training to youth from at-risk communities in the New Orleans area. Many of the young people helped through this program move into permanent jobs in New Orleans' food service industry.

 

[+] HELP - Homeless Experience Legal Protection[–] HELP - Homeless Experience Legal Protection

Homeless Experience Legal Protection Homeless Experience Legal Protection HELP began in New Orleans in early 2004, when a newly appointed federal district court judge, Jay Zainey, accompanied his fellow judges to serve a meal at a local shelter. While serving the meal, Judge Zainey began to think how much more an attorney could do for the shelter clients, and how that kind of service could change people's lives. With that simple but electrifying thought, HELP was born. Judge Zainey began to round up volunteer lawyers to staff a weekly clinic at the shelter, and had more success than he had ever imagined. Soon he had hundreds of lawyers, clinics in more than one shelter, and the desire to do even more. HELP began to expand to other cities, helped along by law firms who were volunteering in New Orleans but also had offices in other cities. Today, HELP volunteers are providing free legal services to the homeless in over 21 cities, and plans are underway to develop programs in ten more cities by the end of 2014.

[+] New Orleans Homeless Court Program[–] New Orleans Homeless Court Program

The New Orleans Homeless Court (NOHC) started in May of 2010 with the help of Judge Zainey with the New Orleans Municipal Court judges. The NOHC convenes once a month on the third Wednesday of every month in Orleans Parish Municipal Court, Courtroom A. Judge Paul Sens, Chief Judge of Municipal Court, presides.

A significant percentage of the Orleans Parish Municipal Court docket consists of homeless men and women, many of whom find them on the Municipal Court docket on a regular basis. NOHC offers assistance to these defendants in two ways. The Court recognizes that these defendants are best served by treatment, not punishment. NOHC is designed to assist the homeless receive much needed treatment and services. When the docket convenes on the third Wednesday of every month, present in Court are a number of homeless service providers, including UNITY of New Orleans, an umbrella group of providers that works to find suitable housing; Veterans Justice Outreach; Metropolitan Human Services District, and local homeless shelters. Many of these providers are already case workers for the defendants in Court. For those without a case worker, an assessment can be done and services identified. NOHC also aims to help those individuals ready to move on with their lives to clear their record of legal offenses related to their homeless condition and which pose an impediment to placement in housing and/or employment.

[+] Veterans Treatment Court[–] Veterans Treatment Court

Most veterans are strengthened by their military service, but the combat experience has unfortunately left a growing number of veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment. One in six veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffers from a substance abuse issue. Research continues to draw a link between substance abuse and combat-related mental illness. Left untreated, mental health disorders common among veterans can directly lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.

The Veterans Treatment Court model requires regular court appearances (a bi-weekly minimum in the early phases of the program). as well as mandatory attendance at treatment sessions and frequent and random testing for substance use (drug and/or alcohol). Veterans respond favorably to this structured environment given their past experiences in the Armed Forces. However, a few will struggle and it is exactly those veterans who need a Veterans Treatment Court program the most. Without this structure, these veterans will reoffend and remain in the criminal justice system. The Veterans Treatment Court is able to ensure they meet their obligations to themselves, the court, and their community.

Judge Zainey helped to develop the Veterans Treatment Court with the assistance of Lilia Valdez-Lindsley, Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist for the Veterans Administration, and Chief Judge John Molaison and Judge Ellen Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court.

[+] Veterans Legal Assistance[–] Veterans Legal Assistance

Judge Zainey, along with the Young Lawyers Division of the Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter, has implemented a veteran’s legal assistance program. Periodically, attorneys in the New Orleans area staff a clinic designed to aid veterans with various civil legal issues. The last event was held on Veterans Day at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post on Lyons Street in New Orleans.

[+] Boss for a Day[–] Boss for a Day

Chief United States Probation Officer Kito Bess hosts an annual Boss for a Day program where students from area high schools who are interested in the legal profession, government work, the military, or law enforcement job-shadow with court and government professionals. The participants learn about available government jobs, and the education needed to obtain them.

[+] International High School of New Orleans Internship Program[–] International High School of New Orleans Internship Program

Judges Mary Ann Vial Lemmon and Sally Shushan spearheaded an internship program with the International High School of New Orleans for the 2012-2013 school year. The program placed students with various government agencies and local law firms to introduce the students to careers in the government or legal profession. The students were able to use the experience in creating their "Senior Projects," which are hands-on research projects required by the school for graduation.

[+] The History of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana[–] The History of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

In 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana celebrated 200 years of federal courts in Louisiana. Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon chaired a committee of judges, attorneys, and historians to create a website and a seminar exploring the court's history. The court worked with the International High School of New Orleans to present a play at the seminar depicting why Louisiana is a civil law state. The play was written by attorney Barry Ashe and the costumes were created by attorney Mary Dumestre. Video clips of the seminar can be viewed on the court's historical webpages.

Law Related Education

[+] Louisiana Commission on Civic Education[–] Louisiana Commission on Civic Education

In fall of 2013, Judge Roby was appointed to serve as the Louisiana Supreme Court's designee to the Louisiana Commission on Civic Education as a result of her work in the area of civic education. The Louisiana Commission on Civic Education was established to educate students of the importance of citizen involvement in a representative democracy and to promote communication and collaboration among organizations in the state that conduct civic education programs. The commission is responsible for educating citizens in the community as well as students on the importance of citizenship and for promoting communication and collaboration among organizations in the state that conduct civic education programs. The commission which consist of state department heads meet three times a year in the state capital.

[+] District Judges Association of the Fifth Circuit[–] District Judges Association of the Fifth Circuit

Judge Lemelle is the President, of the DJAFC which provides educational service to member judges and support to their families in times of need.

[+] LSBA/JTBF Suit up for the Future Summer High School Intern Program[–] LSBA/JTBF Suit up for the Future Summer High School Intern Program

LSBA-JTBF 2011 Students Coordinated by Judge Roby as a member of the LSBA Diversity Committee this program brings 28 High school students into the court during this three week intern program to learn about the court system and how it operates, these students also learn from law professors who teach at area law schools, and in addition visit other courts in the area. As a culmination of the their internship experience the students use the skills they have acquired and present an oral argument in a competition before several federal and state court judges.

 

 

More photos and videos...

[+] Our Courts America[–] Our Courts America

Our Courts America Judge Roby serves on the Board of Our Courts America. Our Courts America is a national partnership of court advocates working to educate the public about the crucial role of state and federal courts, defend judges from threats and intimidation, promote diversity, and advocate reforms to keep campaign cash out of the courtroom. Our goal is fair, impartial justice for all. Americans need to understand their courts, how they work, and how they protect our liberties. When people understand the importance of their courts, they are more likely to support them against efforts to weaken court powers, to make judges vulnerable to political pressure, or to reduce judicial system funding.

 

Judge Roby with
Justice Sandra Day O'Conner

[+] Louisiana Legislature: Law and Civic Education Day 2007[–] Louisiana Legislature: Law and Civic Education Day 2007

Our Courts America As President of the Center for Law and Civic Education, U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Roby addressed the legislature about the importance of Civic Education in Public Schools. The Louisiana Center for Law and Civic Education promotes the practical understanding of, and respect for, the law throughout Louisiana which is achieved by coordinating, implementing, and developing Law and Civic Education programs, by training others in the delivery of Law and Civic Education and assisting schools and interested community organizations with the delivery of quality Law and Civics Education programs.

 

More photos...

[+] Lunch with the Court[–] Lunch with the Court

Lunch with the Court Lunch with the court is coordinated by the Young Lawyers Division of the Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter. This is an excellent opportunity for newly licensed attorneys to meet federal judges informally, to socialize with other attorneys new to the practice, and to gain valuable insight from the judges on practice in federal court.

 

[+] American Inns of Court Foundation Board[–] American Inns of Court Foundation Board

America Inns of Court Judge Lemelle, U.S. District Court Judge, EDLA serves as a Trustee Board Member. The AICFB works on sponsoring and promoting various educational and mentoring programs for high school students, law students, and young lawyers at regional and national levels.