First black La. Supreme Court justice dies

Chris Rizo Jun. 22, 2008, 9:00pm

Revius Ortique Jr.

NEW ORLEANS (Legal Newsline) - Civil rights lawyer Revius Ortique Jr., who became the first black justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court, died Sunday of complications from a stroke. He was 84.

Ortique, a New Orleans native, was elected to the state's high court in 1992, but stepped down two years later when he reached the state's mandatory retirement age for judges at 70.

He suffered a stroke on June 14, his birthday. He lapsed into a coma from which he never recovered.

Ortique is known well for his work as a civil rights lawyer in the 1950s and '60s, when he helped integrate state labor unions and sued to get equal pay for black workers.

Ortique was appointed as an alternate delegate to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton.

In 1946, he earned a bachelor's degree at Dillard University, and went on to earn a master's degree in criminology from Indiana University.

He earned a law degree in 1956 at Southern University.

Ortique was the first black member of the Louisiana State Bar Association's House of Delegates, and was the first black Civil District Court judge. He later became the first black chief judge of that court.

Revius Ortique Jr. is survived by his wife Miriam; his daughter Rhesa Ortique McDonald and her husband Alden; three grandchildren, Heidi, Dr. Alden III and Todd McDonald; a sister, Althea Watson; and a brother, Charles Ortique.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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