| History || |
8046 Main Street
Houma, Louisiana 70360
Research by: Mrs. Nancy Wright
In 1908, Ephraim “Ephie” A. Aitkens and Joseph Charles Bourg were elected Justices of the Peace for Ward 3, which was the area of Houma. It is apparent that the public considered Ephraim Aitkens and J. C. Bourg the judges for the city of Houma and often referred to them by the title of Judge or City Judge. “Ephie” Aitkens took an oath of office for City Judge in 1912. The next oath of a City Judge is in 1916 when Charles A. Celestin was sworn into office.
City Court was not officially founded until 1916, but there are minutes and a document signed by E. A. Aitkens, City Judge as early as 1913. Louisiana allows for the formation of a City Court when the population of the city reaches 5,000. The Justice of the Peace for the city becomes the Judge of City Court. When the city of Houma grew until the population reached 5,000, a City Court was officially recognized. Charles Amedee Celestin, the former Clerk of Court, was the first man elected to the office of City Judge. He took the oath of office on the 27th of May 1916. Unfortunately he died a short time later, in November of 1918. His son, Dr. Charles Amedee Celestin, who was a dentist, was appointed to complete his father’s term.
J. C. Bourg was elected as City Judge in 1920. He served until 1936, when E. A. Aitkens was elected to the office. Sometime prior to the 1936 election the terms of office for City Judge and City Marshal were changed from a four-year term to a six-year term. E. A. Aitkens was the first City Judge elected to a six-year term. He only served three years of his term because he also died in office in March of 1939. His obituary says he was the first City Judge and served from 1908 until 1912. In reality he served until 1916 when Judge Celestin was elected.
Eugene V. Routier was appointed by Governor Leche to fill the vacancy left by the death of “Ephie” A. Aitkens. He served for 3 years, from 1939 to 1942.
Robert D. Lottinger, was the only candidate for the office in 1942. He served the city until he retired in 1978. Then the current Judge, Jude T. Fanguy, was elected to the office. He took his oath in January 1979.
The first men to take the oath of office for City Marshal were V. J. Lirette, Guy A. Porche, Wilfred King and Ferdinand Bergeron. All of these oaths were for Assistant City Marshal. It is supposed that the Chief of Police of the city of Houma assumed the position of City Marshal and these men were his Deputy Marshals.
Jules Levron was elected to the office of City Marshall in 1920. He served only one four-year term. Edgar H. Caillouet was elected to the office in 1924. He served until his death in 1960. His widow, Mrs. Edgar J. Caillouet, was appointed to fill his unexpired term. Weaser “Hood” Charpentier ran for the office and was elected in 1960. He served 12 years until Ray B. Boudreaux was elected in 1972. Mr. Boudreaux served 15 years until his death in November 1987. The Parish President and Terrebonne Parish Council appointed his widow to serve until March 1988, when a special election was called. Twelve candidates qualified for the election of City Marshall in March. In an April runoff election, Carl E. Kimble was elected to the office.
Upon Carl Kimble's retirement, Brian LeBlanc was elected City Marshal. Orville Callahan was elected City Marshal in 2014.
The earliest cases that are recorded in the books of the City Court are suits for unpaid accounts, most of which were less than $100.00, or rent that was not paid. The early minutes books list some cases that were referred to the District Attorney because they were outside of the jurisdiction of City Court. Several of the earlier trials in 1912 were for assault and battery, gambling, fighting, disturbing the peace, drunk and disorderly conduct and trespassing. The fines ranged from $5.00 to $25.00 and the sentences were from 10 days to 60 days. By 1916 the first speeding charge was levied, the sentence was a fine of $2.50 or 5 days in jail. Some names appeared more than one time for violating the oyster laws and others were charged with violating the dipping ordinance. (This was an ordinance instituted to dip cattle to rid them of ticks.) There were cases of running over a fire hose, riding a bike on the sidewalk, violations of the Sunday law and being out after curfew.
By 1917 and 1918 the presence of automobiles was increasing and so were the charges involving them. Speeding and parking violations were quite common, but there was an occasional charge of driving across the sidewalk and turning around on Main Street. The Court Minute book does not elaborate on any of the charges.
As the population grew, so did the number of crimes that went to court. In one month during1941, 98 cases were heard by City Court, that number dropped by 45 to 53 in the comparable month of 1942. The drop in the number of crimes was probably due to the start of World War II, when many men were drafted into the service and those who stayed behind were busy with their daily routine as well as patriotic and charitable obligations.
The Elected City Judges and Their Terms of Office
Charles Amedee Celestin 1916-1919
Charles Amedee Celestin, Jr. 1919-1920
Joseph Charles Bourg 1920-1936
Ephraim A. Aitkens 1936-1939
Eugene Victor Routier 1939-1942
Robert Dennis Lottinger 1942-1978
Jude T. Fanguy 1979-2014
Matthew Hill Hagen 2015-present
The City Marshals and Their Terms of Office
V. J. Lirette 1916-1920
Jules Levron 1920-1924
Edgar J. Caillouet 1924-1928
Celestin Cunningham 1928-1936
Edgar J. Caillouet 1936-1953
George Leslie Broussard 1953-1954
Edgar J. Caillouet 1954-1960
Mrs. Edgar J. Caillouet 1960-1960
Weaser “Hood” Charpentier 1960-1972
Ray B. Boudreaux 1973-1987
Wanda Boudreaux 1987-1990
Carl Kimball 1990-2009
Brian LeBlanc 2009-2014
Orville Callahan 2015-present
The Clerks of City Court and Their Terms of Office
Shirley Lirette 1956-1960
Peggy McNamara 1960-1973
Peggy Swan 1973-1990
Eric J. Duplantis 1990-1997
Ernie Dubois 1997- 2003
Douglas Holloway 2003-present