United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
(W.D. La.)
More locations
Appeals toFifth Circuit
EstablishedMarch 3, 1881
Chief JudgeTerry A. Doughty
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyBrandon B. Brown
U.S. Marshalvacant

The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (in case citations, W.D. La.) is a United States federal court with jurisdiction over approximately two thirds of the state of Louisiana, with courts in Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Shreveport. These cities comprise the Western District of Louisiana.

Appeals from the Western District of Louisiana are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


The parishes that fall under the jurisdiction of this district court are:


On March 26, 1804, Congress organized the Territory of Orleans and created the United States District Court for the District of Orleans – the only time Congress provided a territory with a district court equal in its authority and jurisdiction to those of the states.[1] The United States District Court for the District of Louisiana was established on April 8, 1812, by 2 Stat. 701,[1][2] several weeks before Louisiana was formally admitted as a state of the union. The District was thereafter subdivided and reformed several times. It was first subdivided into Eastern and Western Districts on March 3, 1823, by 3 Stat. 774.[1][2]

On February 13, 1845, Louisiana was reorganized into a single District with one judgeship, by 5 Stat. 722,[1] but was again divided into Eastern and the Western Districts on March 3, 1849, by 9 Stat. 401.[1] Congress again abolished the Western District of Louisiana and reorganized Louisiana as a single judicial district on July 27, 1866, by 14 Stat. 300.[1] On March 3, 1881, by 21 Stat. 507, Louisiana was for a third time divided into Eastern and the Western Districts, with one judgeship authorized for each.[1] The Middle District was formed from portions of those two Districts on December 18, 1971, by 85 Stat. 741.[1]

Current judges

As of December 22, 2023:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
31 Chief Judge Terry A. Doughty Monroe 1959 2018–present 2022–present Trump
29 District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. Shreveport 1952 2003–present 2017–2022 G.W. Bush
32 District Judge Robert R. Summerhays Lafayette 1965 2018–present Trump
34 District Judge James D. Cain Jr. Lake Charles 1964 2019–present Trump
35 District Judge David C. Joseph Lafayette 1977 2020–present Trump
36 District Judge Jerry Edwards Jr. Alexandria 1979 2023–present Biden
37 District Judge vacant
21 Senior Judge Donald Ellsworth Walter Shreveport 1936 1985–2001 2001–present Reagan
23 Senior Judge James Travis Trimble Jr. Alexandria 1932 1991–2002 2002–present G.H.W. Bush
25 Senior Judge Tucker L. Melancon Lafayette 1946 1994–2009 2009–present Clinton
26 Senior Judge Robert G. James Monroe 1946 1998–2016 2009–2012 2016–present Clinton
27 Senior Judge Dee D. Drell Alexandria 1947 2003–2017 2012–2017 2017–present G.W. Bush
30 Senior Judge Elizabeth Erny Foote Shreveport 1953 2010–2022 2022–present Obama

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Prior judge's duty station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
3 Shreveport Elizabeth Erny Foote Senior status January 21, 2022

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 John Dick LA 1788–1824 1823–1824[Note 1][Note 2] Monroe/Operation of law death
2 Thomas B. Robertson LA 1779–1828 1824–1828[Note 2] Monroe death
3 Samuel Hadden Harper LA 1783–1837 1829–1837[Note 2] Jackson death
4 Philip Kissick Lawrence LA c.1793–1841 1837–1841[Note 2] Van Buren death
5 Theodore Howard McCaleb LA 1810–1864 1841–1845[Note 2] Tyler reassignment to D. La.
6 Henry Boyce LA 1797–1873 1849–1861[Note 3] Taylor[Note 4]
Fillmore[Note 5]
7 Alexander Boarman LA 1839–1916 1881–1916 Garfield death
8 George W. Jack LA 1875–1924 1917–1924 Wilson death
9 Benjamin C. Dawkins Sr. LA 1881–1966 1924–1953 1948–1953 1953–1966 Coolidge death
10 Gaston Louis Noel Porterie LA 1885–1953 1939–1953 F. Roosevelt death
11 Benjamin C. Dawkins Jr. LA 1911–1984 1953–1973 1953–1973 1973–1984 Eisenhower death
12 Edwin F. Hunter LA 1911–2002 1953–1976[Note 6] 1973–1976 1976–2002 Eisenhower death
13 Richard Johnson Putnam LA 1913–2002 1961–1975 1975–2002 Kennedy death
14 Nauman Scott LA 1916–2001 1970–1984 1976–1984 1984–2001 Nixon death
15 Tom Stagg LA 1923–2015 1974–1992 1984–1991 1992–2015 Nixon death
16 W. Eugene Davis LA 1936–present 1976–1983 Ford elevation to 5th Cir.
17 Earl Ernest Veron LA 1922–1990 1977–1990 1990 Carter death
18 John Malach Shaw LA 1931–1999 1979–1996 1991–1996 1996–1999 Carter death
19 John M. Duhé Jr. LA 1933–present 1984–1988 Reagan elevation to 5th Cir.
20 F. A. Little Jr. LA 1936–2024 1984–2002 1996–2002 2002–2006 Reagan retirement
22 Richard T. Haik LA 1950–present 1991–2015 2002–2009 2015–2016 G.H.W. Bush retirement
24 Rebecca F. Doherty LA 1952–present 1991–2020 2017–2020 G.H.W. Bush retirement
28 Patricia Head Minaldi LA 1958–2018 2003–2017 2017–2018 G.W. Bush death
33 Michael J. Juneau LA 1962–2023 2018–2022 2022–2023 Trump death
  1. ^ Reassigned from the District of Louisiana.
  2. ^ a b c d e Jointly appointed to both the Eastern and the Western Districts of Louisiana.
  3. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 21, 1849, confirmed by the United States Senate on August 2, 1850, and received commission the same day.
  4. ^ Judge Boyce was given a recess appointment by President Taylor.
  5. ^ Judge Boyce was nominated by President Taylor but was appointed to the Court by (i.e., received his commission from) President Fillmore.
  6. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 11, 1954, confirmed by the Senate on February 9, 1954, and received commission on February 10, 1954.

Chief judges

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge.

A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years, or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire, on what has since 1958 been known as senior status, or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats

U.S. attorneys

The complete list of United States attorneys in Louisiana, including those who served during territorial status:

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h U.S. District Courts of Louisiana, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 392.
  3. ^ "Brandon B. Brown Sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana" (Press release). Shreveport, Louisiana: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana. December 10, 2021. Retrieved December 10, 2021.