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Wednesday, January 22, 2020



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Lafourche’s first female judge takes the bench

Lafourche’s first female judge takes the bench

Standing in the center of the old courthouse in Thibodaux and repeating after her husband, Marla Abel took her oath to become Lafourche Parish’s first female judge.

The court was packed, standing in unison for a long round of applause after Abel was officially sworn in to the 17th Judicial District Court. She took her place with other judges from Lafourche and Terrebonne.

“To the great citizens of our parish, I will be forever grateful for your confidence in my capacity to serve you in this position,” she said, while standing at the podium and wearing her robe for the first time.

She continued, “I will work in every way that I can to justify your faith in me.”

Abel defeated two male attorneys to fill the Division C seat vacated by Judge Walt Lanier III after he was elected the state appellate court last year.

Noting that she wasn’t the likeliest of candidates, she said she learned early in the race that they had limited resources for the campaign.

“We were just a group of young people without a lot of political experience who all believed that it was possible,” said Abel.

Abel worked as a clerk for the judicial district before becoming a full-time attorney in Lafourche.

Judge John LeBlanc, who presides over Division A, welcomed Abel onto the bench next to him during the ceremony.

“We will never (again) have a woman judge elected in Lafourche Parish for the first time,” he said.

LeBlanc said he believed Abel’s election would bring a fresh perspective.

“She comes from a different place than we all do as far as technology, geographically and gender but its time that we all start looking around differently at things,” he said.

During the campaign, Abel spoke about her plans to make court proceedings more efficient by using electronic-filing and case management systems and ensure her rulings are easy for parties to understand.

To close the ceremony, Abel pulled LeBlanc’s microphone to her and said her first, “Court adjourned.”

 

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Halle Parker can be reached at hparker@houmatoday.com or 857-2204. Follow her on Twitter, @_thehalparker.