Courtside Conversation Louisiana Court Administrators Association

Highlighting the Louisiana Court Administrators Association
Louisiana will host the NACM Annual Conference, July 21–25, 2024, at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside

Laissez les bon temps rouler
(Let the Good Times Roll)

How did you get started in court administration?

Judge Ranord Darensburg, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court:  “Some say that I became judicial administrator of Orleans Parish Juvenile Court because it is the only job I had not held in the juvenile court. Throughout my legal career, I have been involved with the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court. I have served as public defender, hearing officer/traffic referee, clerk of court, judge pro tempore, and judicial administrator since 2012.  In 2010 I was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to serve as judge pro tempore. The experience provided me the insight into the workings of the court. Following my appointment, I was asked to stay on as clerk of court. As clerk of juvenile court, I was placed in charge of the operations of the court and the staff of the clerk’s office. While serving as clerk of court, the judicial administrator left the court. I was hired as judicial administrator in 2012. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I believe that my trajectory to administration and my appreciation for the work was shaped by holding so many different positions within the court.”

Judge Darensburg has served in numerous and varied capacities during his career, including judge pro tempore; ad hoc judge; clerk of juvenile court; outreach coordinator Multi-Service Center for the Homeless; code enforcement hearing officer; and general counsel at Transit Management of Southeast Louisiana.  Since taking over as judicial administrator of Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, he has worked with the court to enhance court services and operations.

Tim Leger, Court Administrator Lake Charles City Court/Lake Charles:  “I was originally hired by my court not as an administrator but fresh out of college with a BS in computer science as an IT professional. The running joke with my judges at that time was that this court was limited by our city on what position could be filled. Technically, there was not an IT slot for our court. The only position that was open was ‘janitor class 4.’ So even though I was hired as an IT professional, worked up and was promoted to a court administrator, and even was verified in judicial administration through Michigan Sate University, my senior judge always reminded me that I was hired in as ‘janitor class 4.’ Sure keeps me from feeling too big for my britches. Also, to the delight of my senior judge, when we moved into our brand-new courthouse in 2013, the upstairs janitor closet is next door to my office. My judge says it keeps me close to my roots.”

How has your NACM membership helped you address some challenges?

George “Bo” Coxen, Court Administrator, 21st JDC, LCAA President:  “Attending NACM conferences allows court leaders to improve operations by sharing ideas and approaches. Conferences also allow peer-to-peer conversations and learning from other NACM members. Vendors at these conferences have been very helpful to our courts in addressing issues with geographical distances. Our court has implemented videoconferencing to reduce inmate transport and space issues at our courts. With ideas discovered at NACM conferences, we are currently exploring other opportunities to take advantage of videoconferencing. Also our residents can pay traffic tickets and fines online to eliminate some of the travel required to attend court sessions. Another valuable tool is Our court leaders consistently refer to the resources available on this site.”

Judge Ranord Darensburg, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court:  “My involvement in NACM began with Scott Griffith. As a new administrator, I was interested in learning all that I could about the position and how Orleans Parish Juvenile Court could improve operations and efficiency. Scott introduced me to the NACM website and suggested that I attend the next NACM conference. I believe that my first conference was in Birmingham. I was immediately struck by the values of membership. The information I have been able to gather through NACM has allowed me to improve court policies and procedures and to more effectively manage the court and the court staff.

Tell us about something that makes your court unique.

Tim Leger, Court Administrator Lake Charles City Court/Lake Charles:  “Even though all our Louisiana Court Administrators Association members hail from either the supreme court, courts of appeal, district, city, parish, or municipal courts, the one thing that makes our court unique is that we are Cajuns. Historically, Acadians migrated primarily from the Vendee region in France to the Nova Scotia region in Canada. Due to unrest and persecution, the Acadians were exiled to France, the Caribbean, Britain, and British colonies. Our current day ‘Cajuns’ came from these groups that settled in the Louisiana state. . . . [T]his union of cultures, French Louisianans and Acadians, brings us to our present state of Louisiana. Unlike other states, instead of counties, we have parishes, probably from deep roots within the Catholic faith. Most importantly, our civil code derives from the Napoleonic Code instead of an English-based legal system. While our way of life in the courts mirror many of our American counterparts, there are subtle differences in how we process legal matters that make us a unique court system. Coupled with this uniqueness is the Cajun way of holding on to tradition while making the most of the present. Today, one of our greatest challenges is to modify and unify our legal system that is a nonunified court system into a system that is relevant and needed in the 21st century. To this goal, NACM has provided a unique opportunity to learn as we transform our court system.”

The Louisiana Court Administrators Association is very active in the state. What special events do they hold, and how do they assist their members?

Hope La Fleur, Court Administrator, 9th JDC/Rapides Parish:  “Louisiana Court Administrators Association offers an annual spring and fall conference, which is in conjunction with Louisiana District Judges’ Association Conference. Having these annual events together allows administrators to directly network not only with other court administrators but other judges. It also presents an availability of court administrators to share information with courts/judges who don’t have administrators. These judges notice our efforts and what Louisiana Court Administrators Association is offering to administrators. Louisiana Court Administrators Association also holds an annual workshop in which the agenda is focused on ‘events’ that are being addressed in our state’s courts. Since administrators range from various courts, there is always a topic that will touch on recent trends not only in Louisiana but across the nation. In addition, the workshop provides a ‘safe’ environment in which administrators can convey their concerns to other court administrators in a place where there’s understanding and proven techniques immediately available.”

Pam Dance, Court Administrator, 3rd JDC/Lincoln and Union Parish:  “Louisiana Court Administrators Association offers a workshop every year. Having this annual event allows us to directly network with other administrators. The trainings are great, and I have learned so much throughout the years that I would have never learned without it. I was appointed a mentor from the beginning, and I don’t know what I would have done without him! Also, the annual spring and fall conference, which gives us another avenue of learning and networking with other people having the same problems we have and learning how to handle them. By being a member of Louisiana Court Administrators Association, I was verified in judicial administration through Michigan State University. This was a five-year course and Louisiana Court Administrators Association was so helpful in giving me time to finish it.” 


Carlene Redmond is court program administrator, Juvenile Court Unit, Restorative Programs Division, Cobb County, Georgia.