Judge Warren D. Willett

COLFAX – The 35th Judicial District Court reopened Tuesday morning following a shutdown on Monday caused by a lack of water and electricity.

“When employees began arriving at the courthouse on Monday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 a.m., they encountered two issues: no electricity and no water,”  Judge Warren D. Willett, who ordered the shutdown on Monday, said. 

After power was restored at 8:40 am, Willett decided to hear the traffic and misdemeanor cases set for that morning to prevent a work backlog.

Willed, a representative of Colfax, Louisiana, said at the time that water would be restored by 11 a.m.; however, by 11:30 a.m., water services remained down.

“Every restroom in the building had been used by the public or employees, and could not be flushed due to the lack of water,” Willett said.

After a town representative pushed the time that water would be restored back to 1 p.m., Willett closed the courthouse for the day.

“Due to the lack of working bathroom facilities in the courthouse and town of Colfax, combined with the uncertainty as to when services would be restored, I decided to close the courthouse,” Willett said. “Several employees remained to complete their duties.”

Willett said water services were restored by 12:50 p.m., but the courthouse did not reopen until the following morning due to inclement weather conditions and employee commutes.

The courthouse is taking measures to prevent unexpected maintenance issues from causing emergency closures in the future.

“The court has consulted with the Police Jury regarding obtaining a large generator to have backup power to prevent closures for that reason," Willett said. "We will also be exploring portable water options to address lack of water."

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