A Commitment to Excellence
Early Life & Education
Honorable Lori A. Landry is a 1981 graduate of New Iberia Senior High School. She was also the beneficiary of a catholic school education through the 9th grade at both St. Edwards Catholic School and Mt. Carmel Academy for girls, both in New Iberia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Pre-Law from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, formerly the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Judge Landry entered USL in the Fall of 1983 on a full athletic scholarship in basketball. Prior to her matriculation at USL, she attended Panola Jr. College in East Texas and Itawamba Jr. College in North Mississippi on full basketball scholarships, receiving an Associate of Arts Degree from Itawamba Junior College. After a career-ending knee injury, she pledged her beloved sisterhood, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. before receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree December 15, 1985. Her lifetime commitment to the tenants of this well-known public service sorority helped shaped her public service work and is nurtured by New Iberia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She earned her Juris Doctor from Southern University Law School in 1989, thus beginning her legal career and life’s work.
Becoming Judge Lori Landry
In 1994, Judge Landry was sworn in as the first African-American female Assistant District Attorney in the 16th JDC (Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes) under District Attorney Bernard E. Boudreaux, Jr. She served in that position until her election to the bench and; for eight (8) years she prosecuted all sex offenses in Iberia Parish. In that role, she was responsible for the development of a district-wide protocol for the prosecution of sex offenses in the 16th JDC. In doing so, she developed and presented training modules for area law enforcement agencies that enhanced investigative skills that supported successful prosecution of sex crimes; collaborated with the Acadiana Criminalistics Laboratory in developing protocols for collection of evidence during a sexual assault forensic examination; sought out and encouraged training for physicians in the performance of S.A.F.E examinations; assisted in the development of a sexual assault collection kit and protocol provided to all emergency rooms in the 16th JDC and; spearheaded the creation of the 16th JDC’s first designated waiting room for child victims in the courthouses of the 16th Parish.
These efforts were naturally extended to other agencies that were mandatory reporters of sexually assaultive behavior alleged by children. As such, Judge Landry was instrumental in the training of Iberia Parish school board personnel in their development of comprehensive reporting policies that were consistent with the law and sensitive to the special relationship children have with educators. However, the most rewarding work was collaboration with stakeholders in the development and delivery of age-specific training presentations in areas schools for students of all ages. These presentations, shared with the general public, focused on awareness, prevention, protection and appropriate responses to reports of sexually assaultive behavior by students of all ages.
For many years, Judge Landry worked just as diligently with the D.A.R.E program, presented to all sixth (6th) graders with a focus on substance abuse awareness and prevention and; CHOICES, presented to all eighth (8th) graders and designed to help students make the connection between early educational choices and their future. CHOICES was one of the earliest programs designed to encourage and help students identify educational and career opportunities that fit their personalities, interest, and aptitude. Judge Landry committed her time and talent to these and other programs all over Acadiana and encouraged others, especially people of color and women, to make the same investment in the future of young people and our communities.
Continuing to Make History
On November 5, 2002, Judge Landry was elected District Court Judge for the Sixteenth Judicial District, Division H. Again, she became the first African-American female to serve in that capacity and only the third African-American, after the election of Judges Charles L. Porter and Carl J. Williams in 1993. She served as Chief Judge of the 16th Judicial District Court in 2005 and 2012. In addition to her regular general jurisdiction duties in three parishes, Judge Landry volunteered to serve as the sole Juvenile Court Judge for delinquency matters in St. Martin Parish for 13 years. She accepted the charge in furtherance of her philosophy “One Family, One Judge”, which led to consistent outcomes for the juveniles and their families. Her leadership and collaboration with other dedicated justice partners and their staffs naturally led to a holistic court and changed the culture surrounding the prosecution of these cases in St. Martin Parish. Judge Landry was adamant that disregarding the potential negative impact caused by contact with the juvenile justice system was an injustice to the juvenile and their families. This simple truth helped raise the consciousness of other justice partners, as they all addressed their responsibility to avoid unnecessary contact with the juvenile justice system. The work done by all stakeholders during Judge Landry’s tenure, lead to policy changes and community education that supports the spirit of juvenile justice and positive sustainable changes for families.
Accepting her role as a voice for systems change, Judge Landry has continued to grow and enhance her ability to better administer justice to our citizens. She has been a member of the Board of Governors for the Louisiana Judicial College for 5 years (currently serving as Vice President); a faculty facilitator for the National Judicial College; and a faculty member and trainer for LPOR (Louisiana Protective Order Registry). LPOR is tasked with educating Louisiana judges on the law and pertinent assessments of danger when adjudicating cases involving domestic violence. Judge Landry was also appointed by Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, Bernette J. Johnson, to serve on the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force. The bipartisan Legislative Task Force established in 2015, was formed in response to Louisiana leading the Nation in incarceration rates. The panel was charged with “recommending legislation that would control prison population growth and recalibrate the state’s correctional investments to ensure the best possible public safety returns.” The final report of the Task Force, published in March of 2017, led to the historic passage of the Justice Reinvestment package of 10 bills, subsequently signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards on June 15, 2017. The work done by the Task Force and courageous legislators was Louisiana’s bold move toward criminal justice reform. Judge Landry continues to support equitable and just changes that are “Smart of Crime.”
Serving Her Community
Over the years Judge Landry has been active in many other professional and civic organizations; which include Board of Directors for Iberia Chamber of Commerce and member of the Inaugural Class of Leadership Iberia, Festival International de Louisiane Board and; the Diocesan Pastoral Council for the Diocese of Lafayette. However, she believes her gifts are best utilized in her service to many faith communities through her membership with Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church and previously, St. Edward’s Catholic Church. She’s a frequent lecturer for area churches and community events that support equality and justice for all people.