Longtime Judge Frederick J.R. Heebe dead at 91

Judge Frederick J.R. Heebe, a longtime judge on the Federal District Court in New Orleans, died at his Metairie home Sunday 2014 after a lengthy illness. He was 91.

Heebe served as Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for more than 20 years. He took "senior status" upon reaching his 70th birthday, and he continued to actively serve in that capacity until 1996, when health issues forced him to give up his duties as judge.

He was nationally recognized as a jurist America could trust to "follow the law," according to former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Current U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle places Heebe in the tradition of Louisiana's "grand history of brilliant jurists".

Heebe served as a federal judge during a tumultuous time in American history, and he decided many historic cases. Most notable among those were civil rights cases involving public school desegregation, voting rights, employment and housing discrimination, and access to public accommodations. Other matters that came before him involved the preservation of historic French Quarter buildings; the effort by Clay Shaw to stop his prosecution by Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison in connection with the assassination of President Kennedy; protests over the Vietnam War; and battles over reapportionment.

Survivors included Heebe's wife, two stepchildren, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Family and friends are invited to visitation on Saturday, Aug. 16, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Lakelawn Metairie Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at noon following the visitation. A private burial will follow.

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