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Orleans Civil Court Expands Into First Floor,
Will Get New Elevators!

Chief Judge Paulette Irons speaks at a news conference announcing the expansion of Orleans Parish Civil District Court and First City Court into renovated space on the first floor of the Civil Courts Building. Pictured from left to right are New Orleans City Councilman Jared Brossett, Orleans Civil Court Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott, Chief Judge Irons and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

Orleans Parish Civil District Court and First City Court will expand into renovated first floor courtrooms and offices recently vacated by Orleans Parish Juvenile Court. Speaking at a recent news conference Orleans Civil Court Chief Judge Paulette Irons says both Civil and First City Court will have access to 4 more courtrooms that will provide relief from overcrowding in courtrooms on the upper floors of the courthouse. Judge Irons says, "These extra courtrooms will be most useful on those occasions when the building's old elevators break down, something that is happening more and more lately. Judges can move trials or hearings to the first floor courtrooms keeping those involved from having to climb the stairs. Many of those who use the courthouse rely on the elevators because they cannot physically use the stairs."

Chief Judge Irons adds that having courtrooms on the first floor will hopefully put an end to the need to close the courthouse when the elevators fail. The new additions will also come in handy while new elevators are being installed this summer and fall disrupting already limited elevator service even more.

Another big change thanks to the expansion is that the Civil Court Jury Pool Lounge will permanently move from the third floor to the newly renovated space on the first floor. This will make it easier for those called to jury duty to report. Some Civil Court Judges will be able to use the new first floor courtrooms for "Voire Dire," the sometimes lengthy process of picking a jury for a trial. Having the jury pool on the first floor right next to several courtrooms will significantly cut down on moving large numbers of potential jurors around a courthouse with severely limited elevator service.

Civil Court Expands (cont'd)

One of 4 new courtrooms!

Mayor LaToya Cantrell joined Chief Judge Irons in applauding the expansion. "Our Judges of Civil District Court, residents and employees have advocated for far too long for a clean, just and safe environment. I listened, and approved these upgrades because it was the right thing to do," said Mayor Cantrell. "With four renovated courtrooms and a new jury pool lounge all on the first floor-- I'm confident these improvements will help ensure better access to justice for all of our people."

New signage!

Additionally, the new space on the first floor will allow First City Court's Section D, which convenes every Wednesday, to permanently move into one of the new courtrooms. Currently this section of First City Court has to find an unused Civil Court courtroom to hold hearings on that day. Also the heavily used Civil Court Self Help Desk and Domestic Violence Coordinator will move to the first floor along with a section of the Civil Court Clerk's Office. And finally the expansion will provide more space for juries to hold deliberations as well as private rooms for attorney-client conferences.

New Judges Take The Oath

D. Nicole Sheppard is sworn in as the new Judge of Division "J" by Louisiana State Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson.

Former First City Court Clerk Ellen Hazeur takes the oath as the new Judge presiding over Division "A". Doing the honors is former CDC Judge and recent New Orleans District "C" Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey.

Summer Workers At CDC

Several Divisions at CDC have welcomed student summer workers including Division "A". Posing (left to right) are Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Robison, Court Crier Ilijana Todorovic, Summer Worker Lenai Hubbard, Division "A" Judge Ellen Hazeur, Minute Clerk Lisa Robinson Hubbard, Law Clerk Ashley Demouy and Court Reporter Meg Gammage

Family Court at CDC also welcomed summer help. Pictured (left to right) are Court Crier Jessica McClain, Summer Worker Anna Lee, Division 'K" Judge Bernadette D'Souza, Minute Clerk Rita Mendoza and Law Clerk Patrick McLellan.

First City Court has a student summer worker too! Seen (left to right) are Law Clerk Carmilla Rose, Minute Clerk Dormella Carraby, Court Crier Joe Jones, FCC Senior Judge Angelique Reed, Summer Intern Nicholas Ramsey and Court Reporter Alcerdes Coignet.