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Joan Bernard Armstrong

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Joan Bernard Armstrong
Judge, Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal
Assumed office
Term ended
Judge, Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal
Dates of service
1984 - 2003

Joan Bernard Armstrong was a judge of the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. She first joined the court in 1984 and became the Chief Judge in 2003. retired at the end of her term, in 2011. Armstrong was the first woman elected to the bench in the state of Louisiana.[1][2]


Judge Armstrong is a 1963 graduate of Xavier University and earned her J.D. from Loyola University School of Law in 1967. She is affiliated with the Judiciary Budgetary Board, the Judicial Ethics Committee, the Judicial Human Resources Committee, the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice. She is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Council of Chief Judges State Courts of Appeal, the American Judges Association, the National Association of Women Judges, the Louisiana Conference of Court of Appeal Judges, and the Louisiana Fourth and Fifth Circuit Judges Association.[2]


Judge Armstrong, Chief Judge, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, has held that position since 2003. She is the first woman to serve as Chief Judge and first African-American in the Court’s history to serve as Chief Judge. Previously, as judge on the Fourth Circuit from 1984 to 2003, she was the first female member of the Court in its history. In 1974, she became judge in the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, and became the first African-American woman elected to a Louisiana judgeship. She became Administrative Judge, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, from 1979 to 1981 and ultimately served on that court until 1984. Judge Armstrong was also Chairman of the Louisiana Conference of Court of Appeal Judges from 2004 to 2005. Other affiliations include: Judiciary Budgetary Board; Judicial Ethics Committee; Judicial Human Resources Committee; Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice.[2]

Educational Activities: Loyola University Board of Trustees, 1984 to 1990; Adjunct Professor of Law, Southern University Law Center, 1985 to 2003; American Judges Association Education Committee, 1990 to 1991; Graduate, National College of Juvenile Justice, 1974. Former member, Loyola University Law School Visiting Committee; Gillis Long Poverty Law Center First Board of Advisors; Grambling State University Dr. Martin Luther King Criminal Justice Center, First Board of Directors, and others.

Civic Associations: President, Community Relations Council of Greater New Orleans, 1972 to 1974; President, Louisiana League of Good Government, 1972 to 1974. Other former affiliations include: Mercy Hospital Board of Trustees; Girl Scouts Southeast Louisiana Council; Associated Catholic Charities Hope Haven Center Board of Directors; Louisiana Mental Health Association Board of Directors; Longue Vue House and Gardens Board of Directors; American Red Cross Southeast Region Board; Children’s Bureau; League of Women Voters; Honorary Board Member, National Council of Negro Women, New Orleans, and others.

Honors: Member, Loyola University Board of Trustees, 1984 to 1990; Louisiana Judicial Council, National Bar Association – Women Lawyers Distinguished Jurist Award, 2005; National Council of Jewish Women Hannah G. Solomon Award for Outstanding Service, 1986; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. National Honorary Member, Inducted 1975; Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Epsilon Sigma Chapter, Salute to Exemplary Community Service, 2001; Eta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Inducted Golden Hall of Fame, 1988; Louis Martinet Legal Society, Ernest N. Morial Judicial Pace-Setter Award, 2000; Louis Martinet Legal Society Distinguished Member of the Louisiana Judiciary, 1996; New Orleans Branch, Louisiana Chapter, National Association of Social Workers Citizen of the Year Award, 1988; New Orleans NAACP, Outstanding Community Service Award, 1989; National Bar Association Women Lawyers Distinguished Jurist Award, 1984; Children’s Bureau Alfred E. Clay for Outstanding Service, 1984; Former member, Louisiana Supreme Court Judicial Planning Committee; Judicial Service Award in Recognition of Distinguished Career, Judges and Staff, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, 1984; Loyola University A.P. Tureaud Chapter of the Black Law Students Association Outstanding Judicial Service Award, 1983; A. Philip Randolph Institute Outstanding Community Service Award, 1980; Ebony Magazine Pioneering Outstanding Black Women Judges, 1978; Southern University Law School Alumni William H. Samuels, Jr. Humanity Award, 1974; New Orleans Jaycees’ Outstanding Young Woman of the Year, 1974; Ebony Magazine Pioneering Outstanding Black Women Judges, 1978; One of One Hundred Outstanding Woman Leaders Honored by President and Mrs. Carter, White House Reception, 1982; Girl Scouts Distinguished Woman Award; Associated Catholic Charities Volunteer Activist Award; Southern Christian Leadership Conference Rosa Parks Award.

Memberships: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; Governor’s Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Advisory Board; Mayor’s Executive Committee, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of New Orleans, 1975 to 1986; Louis A. Martinet Legal Society; Judicial Planning Committee; New Orleans Legal Aid Bureau Board of Directors.[2]

External links