NEW ORLEANS — The family of Judge Clare Jupiter, of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court, confirmed last week that she is ill and in the hospital, although they did not give specifics of her illness. 

Court officials have announced that retired Judge Melvin Zeno will step in for her for three months, starting on Jan. 16.

Judge Clare Jupiter
Judge Clare Jupiter | court website

Speaking for the court, Walt Pierce announced that he didn’t have specific details about Jupiter’s illness but she is in the hospital, according to family members. She was not at work last week.

Three years ago, Jupiter reportedly suffered a heart attack. 

Zeno retired in 2008 after 16 years of hearing cases in Jefferson Parish. The order assigning Zeno to temporarily replace Jupiter was signed by State Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson last Tuesday. This is his second time filling in for another judge. In early 2017, he filled in for Judge Regina Bartholomew when she went to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jupiter earned her undergraduate degree from Yale University and was a working journalist before attending law school at Duke University. She began her law career 39 years ago. For a number of years she worked primarily as a defense attorney at Bryan and Jupiter law firm. She defended the  Orleans Parish School Board in workers' compensation matters and personal injury cases.

Jupiter also served on the Louisiana Bar Association Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct.

She started her career as a judge in 2012, after winning a runoff election in the fall of 2011 against Nakisha Ervin-Knott. Jupiter’s election was the result of the vacancy created when Madeleine Landrieu, sister of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, was elected to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2011.

In 2014, Jupiter ran unopposed for re-election. 

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