Chief Justice’s Portrait Unveiling


Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson was joined on February 17, 2014 by justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court, judges of the state and federal judiciary, members of The Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society, distinguished members of the legal community, and a host of friends and family in a courtroom ceremony to unveil the official portrait of the Chief Justice. Also in attendance was the portrait artist Ulrick Jean-Pierre. The portrait, commissioned by the Historical Society, will take its place among the permanent collection of portraits of Chief Justices exhibited in the Louisiana Supreme Court Museum located in the Royal Street courthouse.

The Historical Society was founded in 1992 to preserve the history of the Louisiana Supreme Court and its influence on the development of Civil Law; and to research, publish, and create items and materials of historical interest regarding the Court.

Historical Society Board President, attorney Donna D. Fraiche, began her remarks by introducing the artist, “A native of Haiti, Ulrick Jean-Pierre is renowned for his creation of Haitian historical paintings. His works interpret the elements of the culture of his native land and the historical characters who helped shape the society. Now a resident of New Orleans, Jean-Pierre continues this tradition in his portrait of Chief Justice Johnson by capturing her essence as a leader in the field of law in Louisiana for over 40 years.”

This year marks Chief Justice Johnson’s 29th year as a member of the Louisiana judiciary, having served as an Orleans Civil District Court judge for 10 years, including a term as Chief Judge, before joining the Supreme Court where she has served the remaining 19 years. She was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court on February 1, 2013. She is the Court’s 25th Chief Justice, the second female Chief Justice and the first African-American Chief Justice.

Others providing remarks to honor and celebrate the judicial career of Chief Justice Johnson included: attorney Richard Leefe, President, Louisiana State Bar Association; attorney Jack Weiss, Chancellor, Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center; Judge Ivan Lemelle, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana; and attorney Darleen Jacobs. Neyah and Noah Johnson, grand-children of the Chief Justice, opened the ceremony leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

Current board members of The Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society are: Donna D. Fraiche, Judge Marc Amy, Mathile W. Abramson, Professor Paul R. Baier, Benjamin West Janke, Louis Curet, Rachel Emanuel, Ph.D., Robert Pugh, Jr., Cynthia Dupree, Allen Danos, Jr., Judge James Dennis, retired Judge James Boddie, Jr., Edward “Ned” Diefenthal, E. Phelps Gay, Dean David Meyer, Dean María Pabón López, Chancellor Jack Weiss, Chancellor Freddie Pitcher, Jr, Richard Leefe and Leo Hamilton.