Judge Marcus Broussard passes away
Abbeville’s first City Court Judge, the Honorable Marcus Anson Broussard, Jr., passed away this past Friday, March 3, 2017, at his home in Abbeville. Judge Broussard was born in Abbeville, Louisiana, on February 14, 1929, the eldest child of Marcus A. Broussard, Sr. and Muriel Alice Brady. He spent his early childhood residing in Washington D.C., where his father was secretary to then U.S. Congressman Numa Montet. After three years in D.C., the family returned to Abbeville where he was raised along with his two siblings -- Florence Adele “Flo” Broussard (Guidry), and R. Brady Broussard, who would later become Mayor of Abbeville.
As a child, Judge Broussard, known then as “Buddy,” was educated both in the Catholic and public schools of Abbeville before graduating high school from Saint Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in 1946. Upon graduation from Saint Stanislaus in June of 1946, he enlisted in the Louisiana National Guard as a private. Thereafter, he quickly rose through the ranks, receiving a commission as a Second Lieutenant Infantry Division in 1952, and promoted, by the Secretary of the Army, to Reserve Commissioned Officer of a First Lieutenant to the U.S. Army in April of 1956. After nearly twelve years of service, he was honorably discharged on January 14, 1958.
Prior to attending law school, Judge Broussard received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette). On December 27, 1951, just weeks after graduating from undergraduate school, he married the girl he met at the Abbeville City pool in 1948, Abbeville’s own Barbara Ann Schlesinger. In the fall of 1952, he enrolled in law school at the Loyola University in New Orleans -- the same university where his father received a law degree in June of 1927. As newlyweds, the couple could not afford to both move to New Orleans so Buddy commuted to law school in New Orleans, traveling back and forth to Abbeville, as much as he possibly could, to be with his wife. These were, understandably, tough times for the couple, as his wife recalls, she would cry “for at least two hours every time he would leave” to return to New Orleans. But despite the adversity, the young couple made the best of their long-distance marriage. By the time Buddy graduated from law school in 1955, the couple had been blessed with their first two sons: Marcus A. “Mike” Broussard, III, and James G. “Jim” Broussard; their third son, Edward B. Broussard, who currently serves as a Fifteenth Judicial District Court Judge, was on the way. The couple would ultimately complete their family unit, and fulfill the aspirations of Mrs. Broussard’s desire to have a large family comprised of both sons and daughters, by having three girls: Catherine Broussard, Patricia Broussard, and Virginia Broussard (Stokes).
Despite his obligations as a husband and father, Buddy made the most of law school. He was a member of the Loyola Law Review, Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Honor Fraternity, Blue Key National Honor Fraternity, Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, and President of St. Thomas Moore Law Club. Most notably, he received the Dean’s Award for maintaining the highest grade average of any student during his first year of law school. He graduated in 1955 with such a high grade point average that he was exempt for taking the bar; nevertheless, he sat for the bar and passed without having studied.
Upon his admission to the practice of law in 1955, Marcus A. Broussard, Jr., formed a partnership with his father, under the name of Broussard & Broussard, Ltd., which was the first professional law corporation incorporated in Louisiana after such corporations were authorized by the Legislature. Notable associates employed by the Broussard & Broussard firm include retired Judge J. Byron Hebert, and the late J. Nathan Stansbury, former District Attorney, of the Fifteenth Judicial District Court. Eleven years later, in 1966, Mr. Paul G. Moresi, Jr. joined the firm, as partner, to form Broussard, Broussard & Moresi, Ltd. Eventually, Mr. Moresi would amicably leave the firm in 1983, and form his own law firm where he continues to practice with his two sons. Even after the breakup of their firm, Judge Broussard and Mr. Moresi remained close friends. “He was a dear friend. He was a great attorney and an excellent judge, and he will be missed.” Paul G. Moresi, Jr.
In August of 1958, Marcus A. Broussard, Jr. was appointed by the Governor as Abbeville’s first City Judge upon the creation of that court by the Louisiana Legislature. In 1960, he was elected to retain that positon, by a large majority of the voters, winning every precinct. Judge Broussard held that position thereafter, without opposition, until he retired from that seat on May 30, 1984. By appointment of the Louisiana Supreme Court, Judge Broussard also sat as an ad hoc judge, pro tempore, for more than one-fourth of the Judicial District Courts in the State of Louisiana. In 1986, Judge Broussard’s youngest son, Edward B. Broussard, joined the firm with his father and grandfather where the three generations of Broussard attorneys practiced together until Marcus A. Broussard, Sr.’s death on March 6, 1996. Judge Broussard continued to practice with his son until he, Edward B. Broussard, was elected judge for the Fifteenth Judicial District in 2008.
Judge Broussard was known throughout the legal community as an equitable, fair judge of the utmost integrity. “Judge Broussard was definitely an important mentor to me, both as an attorney and judge. He hired me as an associate right out of law school. Years later, I worked again with Judge Broussard when he served as ad hoc judge for the Fifteenth J.D.C. He worked untiringly and served the district well for so many years.” Retired Judge J. Byron Hebert.
Many of the rulings Judge Broussard made while serving as ad hoc judge appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court remain widely read and cited as seminal examples of exemplary legal reasoning. In Franklin v. Oilfield Heavy Haulers, 478 So.2d 549, for example, Judge Broussard’s ruling from the bench, although overturned by the court of appeal, comported exactly, with Louisiana legislature’s amendment of article 2324 of the Louisiana Civil Code only eighteen months later. In another example, Polk v. State, through Dep't of Transp. & Dev., 538 So.2d 239 (La. 1989), Judge Broussard forged a new and more realistic interpretation of a regulation of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development concerning the furnishing of comparable replacement dwellings for Louisiana homeowners, whose properties had been seized by the State for the development of highways, resulting in a more fair and equitable resolution for the public. Judge Broussard’s equitable approach to this issue has undoubtedly had a positive impact for countless Louisianans faced with losing their homes due to highway expansion.
Beyond his familial and professional accomplishments, Judge Broussard was a revered civic leader who maintained a robust involvement with community organizations, both commercial and charitable. He served as president of the Abbeville Kiwanis Club, was a member of the Knights of Columbus and a Fourth Degree Knight. He also served as a member and past president of the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce, a Long-time Boy Scout and Girl Scout finance chairman, and past president of Abbeville Little League Baseball. He was an active participant in Heart Fund, Red Cross, Cancer and March of Dime Campaigns. He was honored with the position of first Chairman for the Abbeville’s Human Rights Committee in 1965, and again in 1966; thereafter, he remained a dedicated and active member of that committee for many years. A two-time winner of the Outstanding Kiwanian Award and a member of Mensa. In 1963, he was named Abbeville Citizen of the Year. Both his professional and civic accomplishments where borne of his deep commitment to his faith, family and community.
Judge Broussard is survived by his wife of more than sixty-five years, Barbara Schlesinger Broussard, his sons, Jim and Ed, his daughters, Cathy, Tricia, and Virginia, as well as eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Above all else, Judge Broussard will be remembered for his captivating personality, his generosity, and fairness, both on and off the bench. He gave himself to his family and his community; he will be sorely missed by both.