Fred James Cassibry served as a judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1966 to his retirement on April 3, 1987. His life of service to country and community ended at his death on July 6, 1996.
Born in D’Lo, Mississippi, on September 28, 1918, Judge Cassibry attended Tulane University on an athletic scholarship where he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. He was a star half-back on the 1939 Green Wave football team that went undefeated in the regular season and was the last Tulane team to play in the Sugar Bowl. He graduated from Tulane University in 1941 with a bachelor’s degree, and in 1943 with an LL.B. from Tulane Law School. In 1960, Judge Cassibry formed the Friends of Tulane, the precursor to today’s Tulane Athletics Fund. Tulane nominated him to its Hall of Fame in 1988.
Judge Cassibry enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II, was commissioned, and served from 1944 to 1946 aboard a destroyer in the Pacific Theatre. After the war, he returned to New Orleans and worked as a field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board from 1946 to 1948. From 1948 to 1961 he worked as an attorney in private practice and served on the New Orleans City Council from 1954 to 196. He was elected to a judgeship on the Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans, in 1960 and served from 1961 until 1966.
President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Judge Cassibry to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, on October 11, 1966. Judge Cassibry took the bench on November 3, 1966, and assumed senior status on March 15, 1984. During his years as a federal judge, Judge Cassibry co-founded the Federal Judges Association, and served as that group’s president from 1975 to 1976. He was also an active member of the Louisiana District Court Judges Association, the U.S. Trial Judges’ Association, and the New Orleans and Louisiana Bar Associations. Judge Cassibry served on the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Ethics, the Louisiana Judicial Counsel and on the Executive Committee of the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges.
Judge Cassibry retired from the judiciary in 1987 and returned to private practice. In 1994, Governor Edwards appointed him to the Louisiana Economic Development and Gaming Corporation, where his outspoken style saw him clash repeatedly with the rising gaming interests. He served on the board with distinction until his death.
On November 30, 2006, the State of Louisiana honored Judge Cassibry’s life and legacy by dedicating the square city block on which the Louisiana Supreme Court Building now sits as Judge Fred J. Cassibry Square. Then Louisiana Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. noted that “[t]he plaques and the naming of the square will stand as a permanent testament to the life and accomplishments of a great man.” Judge Cassibry left behind a wife, two daughters, three step-sons, and six grand-children.
© United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana