Tracking Louisiana´s Legal Heritage:
 Celebrating 200 Years of the Federal Courts in Louisiana

District Judge George Arceneaux, Jr.

George Arceneaux, Jr. served as a judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1979 until his death in 1993. President Jimmy Carter nominated Judge Arceneaux to a new seat on the United States District Court created by 92 Stat. 1629.

Born in Houma Louisiana, Judge Arceneaux was in the United States Army from 1951 to 1952 and served in the Korean War as an intelligence analyst for the 38th Military Intelligence service at Fort Meade, Maryland. He received a B.A. from Louisiana State University in 1949 and a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law in 1957. After his discharge from the Army, he worked an administrative assistant to United States Senator Allen J. Ellender from 1952 to 1960, and was thereafter in private practice in Houma, Louisiana from 1960 to 1979.

Judge Arceneaux championed building a federal courthouse in Houma, Louisiana. In 1994, a federal courthouse bearing his name was built in Houma. At a hearing regarding the courthouse, a friend noted that “like so many Cajuns, he was close to family and community and to roots. He showed it in his temper and his temperament and in the way he treated people from the federal bench. So often the federal judiciary is accused of arrogance and, with lifetime appointments, a lack of feeling and touch with people. Judge Arceneaux was the exact epitome of a judge who met all the criteria of the kind of federal judges I think all of us would want across America, who remembered where they came from and who they served.”

Dr. Warren Billings, a Distinguished Professor of History at the University of New Orleans, noted that Judge Arceneaux was a gifted story teller who had a keen interest in American history and in the history of Louisiana courts. Judge Arceneaux, who by nature was intellectually curious, was extraordinarily helpful to one of Billings’ graduate students who was working on a master’s thesis about organizing the courts after New Orleans fell into Union hands in 1862. The resulting work was published in Louisiana History in 1988, under the title "Of Generals and Jurists: The Judicial System of New Orleans Under Union Occupation, May 1862–April 1865." The piece was later reprinted as a chapter in A Law Unto Itself: Essays in the New Louisiana History (Baton Rouge, 2001).