A Monroe Lawyer Punches a Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court!

My jaw hit my chest when I read this one! The parties involved are Louisiana State Supreme Court Chief Justice George Eustis and a Monroe Lawyer named Wesley John Quincy Baker. The following article was posted in the New Orleans Weekly Delta October 25, 1847:

An occurrence happened at court much to be regretted. The Chief Justice as the organ of the court pronounced a censure in open court upon Mr. Baker, a member of the Monroe bar, for improper language used in pleading. It seems he had filed an opposition to an administrator’s account in the Probate Court, in the Parish of Morehouse, in which “he prayed that the account might be rejected and kicked out of court.” For this he was censured. When the Judges left the bench, as the Chief Justice stepped out of the Courthouse door, Mr. Baker accosted him in rather a rude manner, and after a word or two passing between them, struck the Chief Justice, which was returned by a severe blow from the latter, causing the lawyer to stagger and fall back.

The court took the matter in hand, which resulted in fining Mr. Baker fifty dollars and imprisoning him ten days in the Parish Jail.

A bar meeting was afterwards held to take into consideration the treatment of the bar by the court; R.F. McGuire was in the chair, and [?] N. Wood, secretary. Resolutions were passed implying a pointed censure on the Chief Justice for his treatment of the members of the bar; but exempting the other two Judges, (King and Slidell.) Judge Rost was absent.

A little bit of side information on both parties: Eustis was a benefactor of what would become Tulane University. He himself was a Harvard graduate. He was also Louisiana’s first State Supreme Court Chief Justice. A neat little fact I learned is that Eustis was an ancestor of actor Wayne Rogers. Most in my generation know him as Trapper John from M.A.S.H.!

Baker owned Limerick, Bon Aire and Ingleside Plantations. He was a Union man during the Civil War, but lost a lot of property to Union troops when they came through. A son was also murdered by a Confederate soldier. Baker was buried in Bon Aire Plantation cemetery after he died. His tombstone (and a few others) was among the ones found near the Children’s Home in the 1980’s.

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