Louisiana Supreme Court Appoints First Black Judge To Lafayette City Court


December 22, 2021

She’s also an HBCU alumna!

The Louisiana Supreme Court has appointed the first Black judge to the Lafayette City Court, KSLA news reports. 

Judge Vanessa Harris has been appointed as the new judge pro tempore of Lafayette City Court by the Louisiana Supreme Court. The formerly retired judge holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Southern University and a juris doctorate degree from Southern University Law Center. 


A veteran lawyer, Harris began her career as a practicing attorney in 1988 with the Harris & Harris Law Firm, later serving as assistant district attorney in St. Landry Parish for two decades, from 1988-2008. In 2009, Harris was elected to become Opelousas City Court Judge, making history as the first woman and first African American to serve on the bench. 

Now, the Louisiana Supreme Court has brought her out of retirement for another historic appointment as judge pro tempore of Lafayette City Court, Harris becoming the first Black judge to ever hold the title. 

Harris will be taking over for judge Michelle Odinet who was just temporarily suspended without pay after a video surfaced of her using a racial slur. Harris will serve as judge pro tempore from December 17, 2021 through February 28, 2022. The Louisiana native just recently retired in December 2020. 


Congratulations, Judge Harris!

Photo Courtesy of Louisiana Supreme Court/KSLA

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