Adrian Guy Duplantier, Sr. has been described as a lawyer, lawmaker, and jurist who was a force in New Orleans life for more than a half-century. In 1978, after having practiced law for many years and serving stints as a judge on the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, a Louisiana State Senator and First Assistant District Attorney in Orleans Parish, President Jimmy Carter appointed Judge Duplantier to the bench of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He served as a federal judge until his death on August 15, 2007. He was 78 years old.
Judge Duplantier attended Loyola University School of Law, from which he graduated cum laude in 1949. He was editor-in-chief of the Loyola Law Review from 1948 to 1949. In 1988, Judge Duplantier earned a master of laws degree from the University of Virginia Law School in Charlottesville.
In one of his most notable cases, Judge Duplantier struck down an anti-abortion law passed by the Louisiana legislature over the veto of Governor Charles E. "Buddy" Roemer, III. In the August 8, 1991 opinion, he ruled that the statute conflicted with the 1973 United States Supreme Court opinion, Roe v. Wade, and that he was legally bound to strike it down, though such action was not his personal preference.
Judge Duplantier also had a robust sense of humor, which was evidenced in his handling of a case involving ownership of “Mr. Bill,” the clay figure that appeared on “Saturday Night Live”. After the parties had reached a settlement, Judge Duplantier appeared in court wearing a “Judge Sluggo” name tag (a reference to “Mr. Bill’s” nemesis). He sliced up a version of “Mr. Bill” and tossed bits to people who claimed ownership. The courtroom was filled with cries of “Mr. Bill’s” trademark cry of “Oh, noooo.”
In addition to his involvement of many scholarly and judicial pursuits, Judge Duplantier was very involved in the New Orleans community. He co-founded of Boys Hope/Girls Hope, a residential and educational program for kids with academic promise but who come from difficult home circumstances. In a tribute to him, Judge Helen G. Berrigan noted that “even with six kids of his own, Adrian parented hundreds of others through Boys Hope, becoming personally involved in many of their lives and bragging about them as if they were his own.”
Finally Judge Duplantier was a member of the board of directors of the Louisiana chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce. In 2002, he was the first non-French citizen to be inducted into the honorary "Compagnons de Beaujolais." Other memberships included the American, Louisiana, and New Orleans bar associations, the Louisiana State Law Institute and the Louisiana Bar Foundation.
© United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana