Back to Judges

Judge Ivan Lemelle

On April 13, 1998 JUDGE LEMELLE began active service as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Prior to this current appointment, he was Louisiana’s first African American United States Magistrate Judge and only the sixth nationwide to hold that title, from 1984 to 1998.  Judge Lemelle is an honor graduate from Xavier University of Louisiana  where he was a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. scholar; and Loyola University College of Law in 1974, where he was an Earl Warren Scholar and a NAACP Legal Defense Fund scholarship recipient. Judge Lemelle considers his best work has been with mentoring programs for students at all levels and with beginning attorneys. For his work in the area of civil rights, he received the A.P. Tureaud Award from the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society.  For his work as a judge, he was twice honored with the Ernest “Dutch” Morial Judicial Pacesetters Award, chaired many court administrative committees, authored and edited various publications for judicial education.  For his work with students, Judge Lemelle was twice named “Law Alumnus of the Year” by Loyola Law School’s Moot Court Board and “Distinguished Mentor” by the Orleans Parish Public School System’s World of Work Academy.  He frequently addresses and lectures students, lawyers and judges, including several such assignments in Africa, China, South America, France and elsewhere.

Amongst many other service positions, he also served as Adjunct Professor of Law-Loyola Law School, President-Loyola College of Law-Thomas More Inn of Court, Vice-President of the District Judges Association for the Fifth Circuit, New Orleans Chapter of Federal Bar Association-Board of Directors, and Reconcile New Orleans, Inc. (Café Reconcile)-Board of Directors.

Judge Lemelle is married to Patricia Waddell Lemelle, a retired public school educator. They are parents to Dr. Christopher Lemelle, M.D., Dr. Marc Lemelle, Pharm.D., and Tricia Lemelle, a medical student.  The judge is an avid reader, sports fisherman, swimmer, lover of music (especially the “Motown Sound”) and a positive thinker, believing nothing is impossible.