“State v. Homer Adolph Plessy: 125 Years Ago in New Orleans”

On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, the Law Library of Louisiana and the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society, along with the Plessy and Ferguson Foundation, the A. P. Tureaud American Inns of Court, and the New Orleans Bar Association, co-sponsored “State v. Homer Adolph Plessy: 125 Years Ago in New Orleans.” New Orleans Criminal District Court Judge John H. Ferguson’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the Separate Car Act of 1890 was handed down 125 years ago, on November 18, 1892. The program featured a live re-enactment of the arguments heard before Judge Ferguson in the case of State of Louisiana v. Homer Adolph Plessy. State v. Plessy doesn’t receive the same amount of attention that the case it became upon appeal to the United States Supreme Court, Plessy v. Ferguson, has received. The re-enactment demonstrated the critical importance of what occurred in the lower court. After the re-enactment, a panel of speakers analyzed the arguments of State v. Plessy and led a discussion reflecting upon the development of civil rights in New Orleans over the past 125 years. Mock trial and panel participants included Val P. Exnicios, managing director and senior trial counsel Liska, Exnicios, and Nungesser; Gregory P. DiLeo, managing partner of Gregory P. DiLeo, APLC; Hon. Max Tobias, State of Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal (ret.); Hon. Kern Reese, Orleans Civil District Court; and librarian and archivist Brenda B. Square.