The Promulgator The Official Magazine of the Lafayette Bar Association
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new court, new year february 2021 | volume 34 | issue 1
OUR MISSION is to serve the profession, its members and the community by promoting professional excellence, respect for the rule of law and fellowship among attorneys and the court.
THE PROMULGATOR is the official magazine of the Lafayette Bar Association, and is published six times per year. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Committee.
ON THE COVER
This issue of the Promulgator rightfully focuses on new beginnings after the most unusual year we all experienced in 2020. New ideas, new conversations, new administration, new editor, and new judges. Learn more about the newly elected officials of the 15th Judicial District Court on Page 8.
Karen King, President Shannon Dartez, President-Elect Pat Magee, Secretary/Treasurer Glenn Edwards, Imm. Past President George D. Ernest III, Foundation Chair John Barron Paige Beyt Roya Boustany Vicky Bowers Stuart Breaux Carolyn Cole Robert David Claire Edwards Taylor Fontenot Kenneth Hebert McKinley James Robert Kallam Jason Matt Lindsay Meador Young Gregory Mier Andrew Mims Gregory Moroux Joseph Oelkers Maggie Simar
President's Message..........................................................3 Executive Director's Message.....................................4 Access to Justice: Foundation News.....................5 Young Lawyers Section Update................................6 Cover Story................................................................................8 Family Law Section Update.........................................15
MAR 12 | GOLF TOURNAMENT
Pro Bono Honor Roll..........................................................5 Trivia Question........................................................................5 Health & Wellness................................................................6 Off the Beaten Path...........................................................11 Judicial Profile: Judge Gotch Garrett...................12 Classifieds...................................................................................12 The Grapevine.........................................................................13 Dwa on Diversity...................................................................15
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The Annual Birdie with the Bar Golf Tournament will be held again in Spring 2021 at the Wetlands Golf Course on March 12th. Register online to play or sponsor:
George D. Ernest III, Foundation Chair Greg Tonore, Vice Chair Dean Cole, Secretary/Treasurer John Swift, Imm. Past Chair Shannon Dartez Blake David Theodore "Glenn" Edwards Thomas R. Hightower, Jr. Jonathan Jarrett Karen King Miles Matt John McElligott Lindsay Meador Young Kenny Oliver Maggie Simar
Lafayette Bar Staff
Due to lack of team registrations, this event has been cancelled this year.
More details to come.
SEPT 23 | HALL OF FAME
Edward Barousse, Editor Corrie Gallien Mandi Bucher Cranay Murphy Dwazendra Smith Daniel Phillips Claire Edwatds Dyan Schnaars Pam Landaiche Executive Director Katelyn Guidry Director of Marketing & Membership
Hall of Fame has been postponed to September 23, 2021. Tickets will go on sale April 1, 2021.
Marilyn Lopez Director of Pro Bono Services
To register for events, visit lafayettebar.org or call (337) 237-4700.
Jessica McNabb Events Coordinator Cheryl Robichaux Administrative Assistant
president' s message Re-Exam, Reacquaint, and Rededicate
As we turn the page to a new year, let us reflect on that moment when we were sworn into the Louisiana State Bar. The relief we felt when we passed the bar exam. The excitement of our swearing in, the beginning of a journey. The pride we felt as we raised our hands and recited the following words: "I solemnly swear or affirm I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Karen King Louisiana; I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers; I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceeding which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land; I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law; I will maintain the confidence and preserve inviolate the secrets of my client, and will accept no compensation in connection with a client's business except from the client or with the client's knowledge and approval; I will abstain from all offensive personality, and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged; I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay any person's cause for lucre or malice. So help me God!"
"I CALL UPON ALL MEMBERS TO JOIN ME AS WE RE-EXAMINE THE OATH WE TOOK... REACQUAINT OURSELVES WITH OUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS, AND REDEDICATE OURSELVES TO THE RULE OF LAW." As we look back on that moment and on the words spoken, have we maintained our oath? What does it mean to support the Constitution of the United States and the State Constitution? When was the last time we read our governing documents? Are we upholding our constitutional principles? Are we doing our part to increase civil and constitutional literacy? Have we maintained the proper respect due to our judges and their courts, which includes their staff? Have we put forth only those actions and arguments that are just and honestly debatable under the law? Have our actions been consistent with truth and honor? Have we refrained from misleading the court through false statements of fact or law? Have we maintained client confidentiality
and ethically represented our clients? Have we been personally offensive in our interactions with our colleagues or the court? Have we maligned the honor or reputation of a party or witness, without just cause? Have we used legal maneuvers in a manner that would harm the defenseless or oppressed, or delayed matters without just cause? 2020 has made it clear that tomorrow is not promised. We must use the time we have to create an enduring legacy. Let us use this new beginning to recommit ourselves to our most noble profession. Former U.S. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan remarked, “Next to the ministry, I know of no more noble profession than the law. The object aimed at is justice, equal and exact, and if it does not reach that end at once it is because the stream is diverted by selfishness or checked by ignorance. Its principles ennoble and its practice elevates.” I call upon all members to join me as we re-exam the oath we took at the start of our legal careers, reacquaint ourselves with our governing documents: the U.S. Constitution and the Louisiana Constitution, and rededicate ourselves to the rule of law.
It's time to renew your membership dues! Take advantage of special features when you renew your membership online at www.lafayettebar.org. During the online renewal process you can update your information, customize your Online Member Directory listing, and renew or join sections! Need assistance? Contact email@example.com
executive director' s message New Year ... New Opportunities
Welcome to 2021! I know for many it seems like we would never get here, but we made it! And although it doesn’t feel much different from 2020, a good friend of mine always like to remind me that, “hope springs eternal”. So, we look forward to what 2021 will bring with hope, optimism, and determination. The LBA staff remains committed to serving our members and the underserved in our community, and we each penned a couple of goals for the year that I would like to share with you. Marilyn Lopez, Director of Pro Bono Services: • To continue providing quality legal services to persons of limited means and to promote and strengthen the provision of pro bono legal service in the community by offering resources such as seminars, posting helpful information on various relevant legal topics on our website and Facebook page, and outreach (when it's feasible). • Obtaining even more attorney involvement than we currently have • Exploring new grant possibilities for the Foundation Katelyn Guidry, Director of Marketing and Membership: • With more opportunities to engage virtually, members will strengthen their professional relationships through valuable programs both in-person and online. • After improving the Bar’s social media presence, members will successfully interact with one another through online discussion and engagement. Jessica McNabb, Events Coordinator: • One of my goals for 2021 is to make sure that the events that we have planned this year are successful in spite of COVID-19. • In 2021 I hope to be more organized and prepared for whatever this year decides to throw at me.
Cheryl Robichaux, Administrative Assistant: • Gain more knowledge of Lafayette Bar Association and Foundation and to be able to apply it with ease. • Enjoy an even richer relationship with my co-workers who have been so patient with me in the learning process.
And for me: • To continue to offer the events and services we provide while being innovative in the Pam Landaiche development of new ways to engage with members • To expand the presence of the Association and Foundation in the community Speaking of “new”, please help me welcome our new Editor of The Promulgator, Edward Barousse, and his new editorial committee listed below. We are looking forward to the collaboration and contributions from this talented team. We are continuing to work on upcoming events, the first of which is the Birdie with the Bar Golf Tournament on Friday, March 12, at the Wetlands Golf Course. If you are interested in helping to ensure the success of this event with a sponsorship or a team, please contact Jessica McNabb, Events Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 237-4700, ext. 103. You can register on our website, lafayettebar.org. Until next time, take care and stay well.
A Letter from the [New] Editor Edward Barousse With your indulgence, I'd like to introduce myself for members of our local bar who I've not yet had the pleasure to meet. I grew up in Crowley and was exposed to the legal profession immediately as my father, Homer Ed Barousse, Jr., practiced law in Crowley from 1968 to 2016. After attending college and law school out of state, I returned to Louisiana in 2003 and practiced law in New Orleans for a decade. In 2013, I returned to Acadiana to help my father wind up his practice, and at the beginning of 2017 I joined my present firm, Borne Wilkes & Rabalais, and moved to Lafayette.
Borne, Wilkes & Rabalais
Mandi Borne Bucher Diane Sorola, APLC
Claire Edwards Claire B. Edwards, Attorney at Law
Doran & Cawthorne
People in Lafayette were even friendlier than I recalled, and it was very easy to resume old friendships and forge new ones. I never went to New Orleans Bar Association events, but immediately gravitated to events with our local bar. Working and socializing with colleagues made the decision to serve as Editor of The Promulgator an easy one. And so, I hope to maintain the high standards established by our publication. We have plenty of good ideas for the year ahead, but thoughts and suggestions are always welcome. This publication belongs to all of you.
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Access to Justice A report of the Lafayette Bar Foundation, provided by Foundation Chair George "Dave" Ernest, III.
HONOR ROLL the following attorneys have accepted one or more Pro bono cases in the past two months
Happy New Year everyone. The general theme of this issue of The Promulgator is: “Out with the old and in with the new.” I am new. The Lafayette Bar Foundation recently elected me chairman of the Foundation board for a two year term starting January 1, 2021. John Swift, who I succeed, is not old and certainly not out. He will continue to serve on the board in the capacity as immediate past chairman. I want to take this opportunity to thank him for his service to the board over the last two years, especially during these turbulent and unprecedented times. His dedication is much appreciated. The Foundation is in great shape because of his efforts, which will certainly make my job a whole lot easier. In addition to me as president, there are other new officers. Our vice chairman is Greg Tonore and our secretary/treasurer is Dean Cole. I look forward to working with them over the next two years. The other members of the board are Blake David, Thomas Hightower, Jonathan Jarrett, Miles Matt, Jack McElligott, Kenny Oliver and Maggie Simar. Lindsay Meador Young serves on the board as the pro bono advisory board chairperson. There are also three seats on the board from the Lafayette Bar Association. Karen King serves as the association president, Shannon Dartez serves as the association president-elect, and Glenn Edwards serves as the association past president. Leaving the board are Larry Curtis and Pat Ottinger. On behalf of the board, I thank them for volunteering their time and sharing their wisdom during their service on the board over the past years. I would like to remind everyone what the Foundation is and what it does. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. That means it can receive tax deductible contributions (hint, hint). It owns the “Bar Office” on Johnston Street. The Foundation was able to purchase the building with the benefit of capital development grants from the Louisiana Bar Foundation. Financial pledges from our members and local law firms also help pay for the building. The building establishes the Foundation and the Association’s presence in the city and is used for many purposes. It houses the Bar Association staff and is used to conduct meetings for a number of groups including the sections of the Association such as the Young Lawyers and the Family Law sections. As everyone knows, it is also used for “CLE by the Hour” programs at the end of every year. We also have several rooms available at a nominal fee for mediations and depositions in a neutral setting. It is also on the parade route for Mardi Gras. The parades pass right in front the building – well, maybe not this year. In a typical year, the building is open on Mardi Gras for members and their families with limited parking and unlimited king cake. Hopefully next year everything, including Mardi Gras, will be back to normal. I urge you to take advantage of what the building has to offer. The Foundation is much more than the building itself. I will tell you about those in coming articles.
David Andress Andress Law Firm, LLC
Randy Guidry Durio, McGoffin, Stagg & Ackermann
Aaron Beyt Beyt & Beyt
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Kathy Boudreaux Leah B. Guilbeau & Associates
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Dean Doherty Law Office of Dean Doherty, LLC
Bobby Domengeaux Attorney at Law
Joseph Dupuis S. Joseph Dupuis, Jr. APLC
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BEING INVOLVED IN PRO BONO IS A REWARDING EXPERIENCE AS YOU GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY, GAIN EXPERIENCE IN THE COURT ROOM, AND EARN CLE CREDIT. CONTACT MARILYN AT THE LBA TO GET INVOLVED. Marilyn@lafayettebar.org | 337.237.4700 x 102
TAKE A CASE
VIEW AND ACCEPT PRO BONO CASES AT
Take a Guess!
Answers on page 14
In Olympic competitions, what are the heights of the diving boards? What animals make up the Suidae family?
YOUNG LAWYERS SECTION
AN UPDATE FROM PRESIDENT
The Young Lawyers Section ended 2020 on a high note as the Community Service Committee, chaired by Jessica Allain, raised $4,000 for our Holiday Giving Program, which benefited The Family Tree Healthy Start Program. Thanks to our members’ generous donations, the Lafayette Bar Association was able to adopt four local families, bringing Christmas cheer to a total of 18 children. Unfortunately, this year’s Region II High School Mock Trial Tournament will not be held this year due to lack of team registrations. As we all know, this year has been particularly difficult for students and teachers as they adapt to remote and distanced learning, and we look forward to bringing the competition back better than ever next year. Thanks to our committee chair Ericka Richoux and members Nick Jones and Beth Bloch, and to our LBA staff, for doing everything in their power to accommodate participation. We look forward to resuming at least some of our regularly scheduled programming. On March 12th, the YLS will host the 13th Annual Birdie with the Bar Golf Tournament at The Wetlands Golf Course. The Golf Tournament has traditionally been held in March, although last year’s tournament was postponed to October during the initial outbreak of
HEALTH & WELLNESS with Claire Edwards
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Cookbook: No Hassle 30-Minute Meals to Reduce Inflammation by Madeline Given, NC, has been a staple in my kitchen for the past two years. After my body freaked out during postpartum and I was crunched to find time to cook, I needed foods that would help heal my body and recipes that would not drain my time. This book is the answer! The opening part of the book offers a WHY you should modify your diet if you’re feeling down: “Even when your inflammation stems from the gut, you may experience symptoms in other parts of your body, such as overall fatigue, brain fog, sore joints, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and muscle pain. If you experience any or all of these symptoms, don’t lose heart. Making even small tweaks in your regular diet and including a few more anti-inflammatory foods will begin to alleviate your symptoms.” (p. 13) Here are some key tips this book offers: (1) Food Choices - Following an anti-inflammatory diet includes choosing unprocessed, nutrient-dense, healing foods. This includes healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, some animal products, and herbs and spices. It is avoiding foods that worsen inflammation, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and corn. (2) Natural Supplements and Spices - Adding supplements and spices is helpful, including ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and turmeric. (I’ve been drinking lots of turmeric tea lately, and this book offers a great Tumeric Lassi recipe on p. 36.)
COVID-19. Our committee chair, Jason Matt, and member Chris Ortte have truly gone above and beyond the call of duty by coordinating two tournaments within six months in order to get the event back on schedule. I hope to see another record-breaking turnout from our members and guests this time around. As always, all proceeds from this event go toward funding the Lafayette Bar Foundation’s pro bono programs. Registration begins at noon and the 4-man scramble event kicks off with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. As always, I am thankful for our members’ commitment to maintaining the high standard of programming and service that our community has come to expect. Due to the postponement of the Court Opening ceremony, many of our newly admitted attorneys have not yet had the opportunity to meet members and learn about our programs and events. If you are interested in finding out more about the Young Lawyers Section, please join us for lunch at one of our monthly board meetings, which are held on the second Tuesday of each month at noon at the LBA office.
(3) Bacteria, Broth, Fermentation - Focusing on gut healing is important, which means including bacteria from yogurts and probiotics. It also encourages people to sip on broth. Finally, fermented foods are helpful. Here’s a recipe to try to kick off your day right: Chia-Cherry Oats (p. 49) Chia seeds are a tiny superfood high in omega-3 fatty acids. Because of this healthy fat content, they help stabilize blood sugar and boost energy. They gel when added to liquid, giving this breakfast dish a thick, puddinglike texture. 1 ¼ cups nut milk of choice ¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt 1 cup quick cook oats 2 tablespoons chia seeds 8 fresh cherries, pitted and halved 2 tablespoons nut butter of choice ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract 1. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, yogurt, oats, chia seeds, cherries, nut butter, and vanilla until well combined. 2. Divide the mixture between 2 lidded jars. Seal and refrigerate for about 25 minutes. Two other more savory dishes I’ve tried and absolutely love from this book are Lentil Sloppy Joes (p. 123) and Mediterranean Chicken Bake (p. 156). And true to the “No Hassle 30-minute” promise, these recipes are very simple to put together and cook. … What is your favorite cookbook? Please email it to me so that it can be featured! I’m available at email@example.com.
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The 15th JDC's New Starting Lineup By: Edward Barousse
This issue of the Promulgator rightfully focuses on new beginnings after the most unusual year we all experienced in 2020. Our 15th Judicial District Court experienced what is surely the most wholesale turnover in recent memory as six of the thirteen judgeships now have new jurists. Though many of the seats became open long ago, and many candidates declared before the pandemic existed, the selection of our theme of new beginnings was an easy one given both our “new normal” and the change in our local legal landscape. Before we introduce our new 15th JDC judges, we wanted take a moment to recognize those judges returning to the bench- Hon. David M. Smith, Division F; Hon. Thomas R. Duplantier, Division I; Hon. Kristian Earles, Division J; Hon. Marilyn Castle, and Chief Judge, Division L. And now, on to the newly elected. The voters of Acadia Parish elected the Honorable Scott Privat, the voters of both Acadia and Lafayette Parishes elected the Honorable Valarie Gotch Garrett and the Honorable Royale Colbert, the voters of Vermilion Parish elected the Honorable Tommy Frederick, and the voters of Lafayette Parish elected the Honorable Susan Theall and the Honorable Michelle Billeaud. Lafayette city voters elected the Honorable Michelle Odinet to the Lafayette City Court. The new judges bring a breadth of varying experience. Several have worked as both a public defender and Assistant District Attorney at various times in their career, and several have extensive family law experience. Anyone who has ever waited their turn during docket call at a 15th JDC Courthouse knows that the docket can sometimes run consecutively from neighbors who don’t seem to care for each other very much to a large and unwieldy business dispute to motion practice involving a personal injury claim. Our new judges will undoubtedly never have a predictable day on the bench. In addition to the newly elected judges, two other officials began their service to the 15th JDC including District Attorney Donald Landry, elected November 2020, and Commissioner André Doguet, appointed June 1, 2020. Though our local bar community is collegial, many of our members may not be familiar with all of the new judges. As such, in every issue over the next year, we’ll visit with one of the new judges so that our local attorneys can familiarize themselves with the new judge or perhaps learn something new. In advance of the individual profiles over the upcoming year, we wanted to share some general information about all of the new judges.
Honorable Scott J. Privat
15th Judicial District Court, Division A Judge Privat completed his undergraduate degree at The Catholic University of America in 2001, and received his Juris Doctrate from Loyola College of Law in 2008. After being admitted to the bar in 2000, Judge Privat joined the general practice of his father, Kenneth Privat, in Crowley. In addition to his experience with general civil practice, Judge Privat has served as both a public defender and Assistant District Attorney.
Honorable Valerie Gotch Garrett 15th Judicial District Court, Division B
Judge Garrett is a graduate of the Holy Rosary Institute and the University of Southwest Louisiana. From USL she received her Bachelor of Arts in Upper Elementary Education and Public Relations & Interpersonal Communication. She received her Juris Doctrate from the Southern University Law Center in May 1992. During her time in private practice, Judge Garrett was recognized with several awards for pro bono work.
Honorable Tommy Frederick
15th Judicial District Court, Division C
Judge Frederick received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1980 and was admitted to practice in 1989 after earning his Juris Doctrate from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, LSU. Judge Frederick is familiar to many members of the local bar, in part, as he had served as the Judicial Commissioner for the past eighteen years before his election to the Division C judgeship. Judge Frederick was admitted to the bar in 1989 and hails from Abbeville. When in private practice in Abbeville, he maintained a solo practice and served as both a public defender and Assistant District Attorney.
Honorable Royale L. Colbert
15th Judicial District Court, Division D Judge Colbert is a graduate of the University of Southwest Louisiana (1996), Southern University (2000), and the U.S. Army Judge Advocate Generals School (2006). He was admitted to the bar in 2000, and has served his country as a member of the armed services. Before being elected, he had been in private practice since 2000. Like many of his fellow new jurists, Judge Colbert has experience as both a public defender and Assistant District Attorney.
Honorable Michele Billeaud
15th Judicial District Court, Division K Judge Billeaud is a graduate of the University of New Orleans (1988) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She attended law school in Los Angeles, CA, at the Southwestern University School of Law, and received her Juris Doctrate in 1993. She was admitted to the Louisiana bar later that year. Prior to her election, Judge Billeaud had a diverse private practice, worked as a public defender, and as a prosecutor for twenty years. She was also a founding member of the Lafayette Parish Drug Court Program.
Honorable Susan Theall
15th Judicial District Court, Division M Judge Theall was elected to the Division M judgeship, which concerns family law matters. Judge Theall graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980. She was admitted to the bar in 1985, after earning her Juris Doctrate from Loyola University earlier that year. Judge Theall's private practice of over thirty years focused almost entirely on family law.
Honorable Michelle Odinet Lafayette City Court, Division A
Judge Odinet is a graduate of Newcomb College of Tulane University (1990) with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She received her Juris Doctrate degree from Tulane University Law School in 1993. She was admitted to practice in October 1993. Judge Odinet began her career as an Assistant District Attorney for the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office. She has served the Lafayette Parish Indigent Defender's Office, the Lafayette Parish District Attorney's Office, and the Lafayette Public Defender's Office.
15th Judicial District Court Commissioner Commissioner Andre’ Doguet is a graduate of Louisiana State University and LSU Law School. He has practiced civil and criminal law in the 15th Judicial District Court system for over thirty years. Commissioner Doguet has experience in general, criminal and civil practice, and served as a felony public defender and general counsel for the Acadia Parish Police Jury. He worked briefly as magistrate for the Town of Carencro. In 2018, he left his private law practice to become a hearing officer for the family court system in the 15th JDC, and he held that position to the date of his appointment as Commissioner on June 1, 2020.
Donald D. Landry
15th Judicial District Court District Attorney District Attorney Landry is a 1973 graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He received his Juris Doctrate from the Southern University Law School in 1976. He was admitted to practice in October of 1976. Prior to his election, Mr. Landry was a partner in the firm Perrin, Landry & Delaunay with 44 years of general practice experience. He is a former Assistant District Atttorney with 34 years of experience and has over 30 years of municipal law experience.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH MITCHELL R. LANDRY BY DYAN SCHNAARS Mitchell R. Landry is a partner in the law firm of Andrus, Boudreaux, Landry and Coussan,1 as well as is a past President and serves on the Board of Directors for LAILTA.2 Mitch’s former career was in banking - a natural springboard to his current legal practice. While attending law school in the evenings and working in banking during the day, Mitch advanced from his alma mater (UNO) to obtain a juris doctorate from Loyola. Mitch’s parents grew up in the Abbeville area and he has developed a deep-rooted love for south Louisiana. When Katrina devastated much of the New Orleans area in 2005, Mitch relocated his family from Metairie back to the Acadiana area. In the middle of it all, Mitch developed a fascinating hobby - musical theatre. Mitch initially began auditioning for musical theatre to spend more time with friends. He enjoyed the thrill of the audition process, the challenge of learning scripts, scene “blocking”, and of course, the developing camaraderie of a cast during rehearsals and performances. He referred to curtain calls (bows by the actors at the end of the performance) as an unparalleled experience but as Mitch continued to share more of his story, I began to doubt the veracity of that claim. You see, Mitch met his wife of 37 years through his work with the theatre. They were both cast in a dinner theatre production of Forty Carats. After several other productions, Mitch eventually got up the nerve to ask her out. To his delight, she said
yes, and - as he puts it, “It’s been theatrical ever since.” If you are a thespian (slang for actor), that is equivalent to exciting, unpredictable fun! I’m sure Mitch would agree that it has been as exciting as any full house curtain call. “An individual can grow and mature in the theatre. It is a valuable lesson to be placed in a position where others are dependent upon your professionalism. Theatre combines the same attributes you obtain from organized sports,”– diligent effort, passionate commitment, and recognized teamwork – with the beneficial attributes of the arts – emotional outlet, self-awareness and expression, and a renewed sense of confidence. Mitch further explained that his theatrical training also empowered him in public speaking (to groups large or small) whether he had time to prepare in advance or it had to be delivered extemporaneously. Delivering lines has a way of sharpening your language skills and adding an entertainment aspect to one’s speaking and teaching. “In my 46 years of employment in the public sector [banking and law], I have learned that balancing career with family and leisure and faith and all other areas of our lives is challenging but it is also necessary. Overloading any one of those areas causes the other areas to suffer.” ___________ 1 2
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judicial profile an interview with hon. valerie gotch garrett by corrie gallien The 2020 election cycle had a few notable firsts. Lafayette elected its first Black City Marshal, Reggie Thomas. Judge Edward Rubin and Judge Jules Edwards, both with almost three decades of tenure in majority black districts, retired from the Fifteenth Judicial District Court in 2020. These judges left a legacy and opened the door for two new Black judges. The Honorable Valerie Gotch Garrett won the Division B seat and became the first Black female to take the bench in the 15th JDC. Garrett received her Juris Doctor from Southern University Law Center and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Louisiana. Garrett was a solo practitioner for much of her career, although she previously partnered with attorneys Valex Amos and Curtis Hollinger. Garrett practiced primarily family law and criminal public defense, with a certification to handle death penalty cases. Garrett has a commitment to community service. She was previously awarded the Pro Bono Publico Award by the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Top Lafayette Volunteer Lawyer. Garrett credits the Immaculate Heart of Mary, her primary school, and Acadiana Legal Services, her first legal position, with fostering her passion for community service. Garrett served on numerous committees, including the Lafayette Airport Committee, and participated in many organizations, including the Acadiana Inns of Court and Louis A. Martinet Society. She previously taught paralegal classes, mentored ULL undergraduate students, and served as contributing writer for The Promulgator.
Garrett always knew she wanted to be a judge. She grew up watching Justice Thurgood Marshall’s fight for justice and advancement to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Marshall inspired her to pursue a legal career. When asked about her greatest professional influences, Garrett said Judge Rubin was the first judge to acknowledge her quality of work. As a public defender, often viewed as not a real lawyer, Judge Rubin’s validation was instrumental to her career. Judge Rebecca Doherty also praised her work as a trial lawyer and encouraged her to pursue a career in federal criminal defense. Garrett hopes to bring her unique perspective and years of experience to the bench. She understands how invaluable her diversity and vantage point as a former litigator are to her judicial role. Garrett offered words of advice to young lawyers. Take your time. Get a mentor. Your practice, T HERESA DEreputation B ÊCHEand credibility take years to build. Don’t rush to make money; instead, learn the tools necessary to excel & A SSOCIATES as an attorney. Be willing to listen to senior attorneys and opposing counsel even if you disagree with them. Seek out constructive criticism. Theresa de Bêche, RN, MN, CLNC
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Vice President Kamala Harris by Corrie Gallien Whether you voted red or blue in the 2020 Presidential Election, one should appreciate the historical significance of Kamala Harris becoming the first female, first Black, and first South Asian Vice President. President Joe Biden and running mate Harris’s successful campaign to the White House was forged against former President Donald Trump’s controversial campaign, which was widely viewed as racially divisive. The stark contrast between the presidential campaigns amplifies the barriers Harris broke in becoming the first female Vice President. Harris’s career is filled with historical firsts. In 2004, Harris served as the first female, first Black, and first South Asian District Attorney of San Francisco. In 2011, Harris became the first female, first Black, and first South Asian California Attorney General. In 2017, she became the
second Black female Senator of the United States. As the epitome of symbolism of the glass ceiling shattering, Harris celebrated the Biden-Harris victory with a welcoming prediction:
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"While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last," she said. "Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities, andMN, to the children of our country, regardless Theresa de Bêche, RN, CLNC of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with Legal Nurse Consultant Phone: ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in850-934-0296 a way that others 337-781-0335 1390 Players Court they've never seen itCell: may not, simplyClub because before. But know that firstname.lastname@example.org Gulf Breeze, FL 32563 we will applaud you every step of the way." Blaze on Vice President Harris.
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THE GRAPEVINE Richard Broussard, founding partner at Broussard & David, LLC in Lafayette, LA, was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Vermilion Parish Community Foundation. Congratulations to Derek Aswell and his wife, Gina, on the birth of their son, Vincent. The Lafayette Bar would like to offer its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Stephen Oats, who passed away on January 28, 2021. Blake David, founding partner at Broussard & David, LLC in Lafayette, LA, was recently appointed to Board of Regents Chairman for 2021 by Governor John Bel Edwards. Congratulations to Stephanie Finley, who was recently appointed to the Louisiana Board of Regents by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Scott Richard of Broussard & David was recently listed by the National Trial Lawyers as a "Top 40 Under 40." Congratulations! Lance Beal of Beal & Hernandez, Attorneys at Law, was appointed to the Lafayette Parish Emergency Medical Service Board by the Lafayette Parish Council and the Lafayette City Council on February 9, 2021. The following Onebane Law Firm attorneys recently celebrated firm anniversaries: Mike Durand (42 years) and Ed Abell (58 years).
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Family Law Section News
PRESIDENT TAYLOR FONTENOT: NEW CLES FOR FAMILY LAW
Greetings Members! I hope everyone has left 2020 behind and is moving forward with a great start to 2021. The Family Law Section is continuing to offer in-person and virtual CLE options during our regular monthly meetings, and will do so at least through May. For our January meeting Karl Helo from Simon, Fitzgerald LLC presented on Bankruptcy and Divorce, an unfortunately timely topic for some of our clients. Looking ahead, our upcoming meetings for the rest of the spring will be as follows: • March 8, 2021 – "Domestic Violence in the Home and its Effects on Family Reconciliation After Divorce" presented by Daniel Jurek • April 12, 2021 – "The Servicemember Civil Relief Act" presentation by Hon. Maggie Simar • May 10, 2021 – TBD If you are interested in attending any of the above CLE presentations, please contact myself or the LBA staff to register. Also, on January 7th, a number of section members met with local mental health professionals to share ideas and information and discuss how we can we all work together to better serve our clients and children of families going through divorce. The event was well
attended and insightful. Building on that momentum, there will be a second “Expert Witness Meeting” with family law attorneys and mental health professionals on April 9, 2021, at 3 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending. In other news, we are trying to navigate compliance with Covid-19 restrictions while still meeting section goals including social events. Our annual crawfish boil is still being discussed and more information on that will be coming soon. Also be on the lookout for information on a potential social event in the near future. With warm regards, Taylor Fontenot, FLS President
MARCH 9, 2021 | "Domestic Violence in the Home and its Effects on Family Reconciliation After Divorce" presented by Daniel J. Jurek, LPC-S, LMFT APRIL 12, 2021 | " The Servicemember Civil Relief Act" presented by Hon. Maggie T. Simar, Hearing Officer 16th Judicial District Court To register for in-person or virtual attendance, go to www.lafayettebar.org. In-Person Price including lunch: $25 Members / $50 Non-Members Virtual Price: $15 Members / $40 Non-Members Meetings begin at 11:30 AM followed by CLE presentation at 12:00 Noon.
DWAonDIVERSITY 2020 has repeatedly been called the “year from hell” and was the beginning of our new normal. On New Year’s Eve, we rang in the new year with resolutions that declared it would be filled with happiness, love, prosperity, and new opportunities. 2020 said otherwise. In January, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry relinquished their royal titles and the one and only basketball legend Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash. In February, we enjoyed Fat Tuesday and celebrated the last socially “undistanced” Mardi Gras that we may see for a while. Then, in March, the novel coronavirus a/k/a COVID-19 hit Louisiana with a vengeance. After the virus’ arrival, we were thrust into a real-life game of JUMANJI, reaching a different level of chaos with each passing month. In April, the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to soar. In May, while swatting murder hornets, the racial tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The entire world watched as George Floyd was murdered by a Milwaukee police officer. Although it was not the first time that something of this magnitude occurred, it was the first time that the whole world was forced to tune in, listen, and pay attention because, well, frankly, everyone was in quarantine and there was simply nowhere else to go. This, combined with the previous killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, sparked the Nobel Peace Prize nominated Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Throughout the summer, BLM protests continued across the country, with people from all walks of life joining in to stand up for justice and demand change. In August, the Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, the first Black superhero that we saw on the big screen, passed away (#WakandaForever) and our precious state was devastated by Hurricane Marco and Hurricane Laura. In September, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg a/k/a the Notorious RBG, a trailblazer for women’s equality and only the second female U.S. Supreme Court Justice, passed away. In October, the U.S. led the pack with one of the highest COVID-19 mortality rates. In November, Joe Biden became President-elect and Kamala Harris became Vice President-elect. In December, DACA was reinstated and the FDA authorized use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19. Wow, what a year! The end of 2020 brought hope with the rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and I look at 2021 with the same lens. Now that it feels that we have successfully made it out of JUMANJI, at least for the moment. 2021 begins a new year, filled with several opportunities to enact much needed change. This month is Black History Month. I am convinced that with the election of our most seasoned President, Joe Biden (at least in terms of years) and our first Black female Vice President, Kamala Harris, we are making strides in the right direction. Cheers to a new year, a new mindset and renewed hope!