United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana

United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
(W.D. La.)
Appeals to: Fifth Circuit
Established: March 3, 1881
Judges assigned: 7
Chief Judge: Dee D. Drell

The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (in case citations, W.D. La.) is a United States federal court with jurisdiction over approximately two thirds of the state of Louisiana, with courts in Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport. These cities comprise the Western District of Louisiana.

Appeals from the Western District of Louisiana are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


The parishes that fall under the jurisdiction of this district are as follows:

Acadia Parish, Louisiana; Allen Parish, Louisiana; Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana; Beauregard Parish, Louisiana; Bienville Parish, Louisiana; Bossier Parish, Louisiana; Caddo Parish, Louisiana; Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana; Caldwell Parish, Louisiana; Cameron Parish, Louisiana; Catahoula Parish, Louisiana; Claiborne Parish, Louisiana; Concordia Parish, Louisiana; Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana; De Soto Parish, Louisiana; East Carroll Parish, Louisiana; Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, Grant Parish, Louisiana, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, Jackson Parish, Louisiana, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, La Salle Parish, Louisiana, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, Madison Parish, Louisiana, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, Rapides Parish, Louisiana, Red River Parish, Louisiana, Richland Parish, Louisiana, Sabine Parish, Louisiana, Saint Landry Parish, Louisiana, Saint Martin Parish, Louisiana, Saint Mary Parish, Louisiana, Tensas Parish, Louisiana, Union Parish, Louisiana, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, Vernon Parish, Louisiana, Webster Parish, Louisiana, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, and Winn Parish, Louisiana.


On March 26, 1804, Congress organized the Territory of Orleans and created the United States District Court for the District of Orleans - the only time Congress provided a territory with a district court equal in its authority and jurisdiction to those of the states.[1] The United States District Court for the District of Louisiana was established on April 8, 1812, by 2 Stat. 701,[1][2] several weeks before Louisiana was formally admitted as a state of the union. The District was thereafter subdivided and reformed several times. It was first subdivided into Eastern and Western Districts on March 3, 1823, by 3 Stat. 774.[1][2]

On February 13, 1845, Louisiana was reorganized into a single District with one judgeship, by 5 Stat. 722,[1] but was again divided into Eastern and the Western Districts on March 3, 1849, by 9 Stat. 401.[1] Congress again abolished the Western District of Louisiana and reorganized Louisiana as a single judicial district on July 27, 1866, by 14 Stat. 300.[1] On March 3, 1881, by 21 Stat. 507, Louisiana was for a third time divided into Eastern and the Western Districts, with one judgeship authorized for each.[1] The Middle District was formed from portions of those two Districts on December 18, 1971, by 85 Stat. 741.[1]

U.S. attorneys

A partial list of United States attorneys in Louisiana, including some serving during territorial status:

Current judges

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
27 Chief Judge Dee D. Drell Alexandria 1947 2003–present 2012–present G.W. Bush
24 District Judge Rebecca F. Doherty Lafayette 1952 1991–present G.H.W. Bush
28 District Judge Patricia Head Minaldi Lake Charles 1959 2003–present G.W. Bush
29 District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. Shreveport 1952 2003–present G.W. Bush
30 District Judge Elizabeth Erny Foote Shreveport 1953 2010–present Obama
31 District Judge vacant
32 District Judge vacant
21 Senior Judge Donald Ellsworth Walter Shreveport 1936 1985–2001 2001–present Reagan
23 Senior Judge James Travis Trimble, Jr. Alexandria / Lake Charles 1932 1991–2002 2002–present G.H.W. Bush
25 Senior Judge Tucker L. Melancon Norwalk, Connecticut 1946 1994–2009 2009–present Clinton
26 Senior Judge Robert G. James Monroe 1946 1998–2016 2009–2012 2016–present Clinton

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
5 Richard T. Haik Senior Status March 6, 2015 Stephanie A. Finley February 4, 2016
7 Robert G. James Senior Status May 31, 2016
9 Rebecca F. Doherty Senior Status June 5, 2017[4]

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Dick, JohnJohn Dick LA 1788–1824 1823[Note 1]–1824 Monroe, Monroe death
2 Robertson, Thomas B.Thomas B. Robertson LA 1779–1828 1824–1828 Monroe, Monroe death
3 Harper, Samuel HaddenSamuel Hadden Harper LA 1783–1837 1829–1837 Jackson, Jackson death
4 Lawrence, Philip KissickPhilip Kissick Lawrence LA ????–1841 1837–1841 Van Buren, Van Buren death
5 McCaleb, Theodore HowardTheodore Howard McCaleb LA 1810–1864 1841–1845 Tyler, Tyler reassignment
6 Boyce, HenryHenry Boyce LA 1797–1873 1849–1861[Note 2] Taylor, Taylor resignation
7 Boarman, AlexanderAlexander Boarman LA 1839–1916 1881–1916 Garfield, Garfield death
8 Jack, George W.George W. Jack LA 1875–1924 1917–1924 Wilson, Wilson death
9 Dawkins, Sr., Benjamin C.Benjamin C. Dawkins, Sr. LA 1881–1966 1924–1953 1948–1953 1953–1966 Coolidge, Coolidge death
10 Porterie, Gaston Louis NoelGaston Louis Noel Porterie LA 1885–1953 1939–1953 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
11 Dawkins Jr., Benjamin CornwellBenjamin Cornwell Dawkins Jr. LA 1911–1984 1953–1973 1953–1973 1973–1984 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
12 Hunter Jr., Edwin FordEdwin Ford Hunter Jr. LA 1911–2002 1953–1976[Note 3] 1973–1976 1976–2002 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
13 Putnam, Richard JohnsonRichard Johnson Putnam LA 1913–2002 1961–1975 1975–2002 Kennedy, Kennedy death
14 Scott, NaumanNauman Scott LA 1916–2001 1970–1984 1976–1984 1984–2001 Nixon, Nixon death
15 Stagg, TomTom Stagg LA 1923–2015 1974–1992 1984–1991 1992–2015 Nixon, Nixon death
16 Davis, W. EugeneW. Eugene Davis LA 1936–present 1976–1983 Ford, Ford reappointment
17 Veron, Earl ErnestEarl Ernest Veron LA 1922–1990 1977–1990 1990–1990 Carter, Carter death
18 Shaw, John MalachJohn Malach Shaw LA 1931–1999 1979–1996 1991–1996 1996–1999 Carter, Carter death
19 Duhe Jr., John MalcolmJohn Malcolm Duhe Jr. LA 1933–present 1984–1988 Reagan, Reagan reappointment
20 Little, Jr., F. A.F. A. Little, Jr. LA 1936–present 1984–2002 1996–2002 2002–2006 Reagan, Reagan retirement
22 Haik, Richard T.Richard T. Haik LA 1950–present 1991–2015 2002–2009 2015–2016 G.H.W. Bush, G.H.W. Bush retirement
  1. Reassigned from the District of Louisiana
  2. Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 21, 1849, confirmed by the United States Senate on August 2, 1850, and received commission on August 2, 1850.
  3. Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 11, 1954, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 9, 1954, and received commission on February 10, 1954.

Succession of seats

Seat 1
Seat reassigned from District of Louisiana on March 3, 1823 by 3 Stat. 774 (concurrent with Eastern District)
Dick 1823–1824
Robertson 1824–1828
Harper 1829–1837
Lawrence 1837–1841
McCaleb 1841–1845
Seat reassigned to District of Louisiana on February 13, 1845 by 5 Stat. 722

Seat 2
Seat established on March 3, 1849 by 9 Stat. 401
Boyce 1850–1861
Seat abolished on July 27, 1866 by 14 Stat. 300

Seat 3
Seat established on March 3, 1881 by 21 Stat. 507
Boarman 1881–1916
Jack 1917–1924
Dawkins, Sr. 1924–1953
Dawkins, Jr. 1953–1973
Stagg, Jr. 1974–1992
Melancon 1994–2009
Foote 2010–present

Seat 4
Seat established on May 31, 1938 by 52 Stat. 584
Porterie 1939–1953
Hunter, Jr. 1953–1976
Veron 1977–1990
Trimble, Jr. 1991–2002
Minaldi 2003–present

Seat 5
Seat established on May 19, 1961 by 75 Stat. 80
Putnam 1961–1975
Davis 1976–1983
Duhe, Jr. 1984–1988
Haik 1991–2015
vacant 2015–present

Seat 6
Seat established on June 2, 1970 by 84 Stat. 294
Scott 1970–1984
Little, Jr. 1984–2002
Drell 2003–present

Seat 7
Seat established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Shaw 1979–1996
James 1998–2016
vacant 2016–present

Seat 8
Seat established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Walter 1985–2001
Hicks, Jr. 2003–present

Seat 9
Seat established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Doherty 1991–present

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 U.S. District Courts of Louisiana, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  2. 1 2 Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 392.
  3. "Office of the United States Attorneys". Executive Office for United States Attorneys. United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  4. Future Judicial Vacancies
  5. "W. Burch Lee Funeral Here in Afternoon: Former Clerk of Federal Court Expires After Week of Illness". The Shreveport Times through findagrave.com. Retrieved March 22, 2015.

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