The Louis A. Martinet Legal Society was created by Earl J. Amedee; Israel M. Augustine; Louis Berry; Lionel Collins; Robert F. Collins; Niles R. Douglas; Norman C. Francis; Benjamin J. Johnson; Alvin Jones; Vanue B. LaCour; Ernest N. Morial; Justice Revius Ortique, Jr.; J. T. Powell; James Smith; A. P. Tureaud; Freddie Warren and Lawrence Wheeler in 1957 to challenge racial injustice.
The Society is named in honor of an African-American pioneer in the legal profession, Louis André Martinet. Martinet was the first African-American graduate of Straight University Law School, now Dillard University, in 1876. He graduated law school after he passed the Louisiana Bar Examination a year earlier in 1875. In 1890, he helped organize the Comité des Citoyens (Citizens Committee) to offer legal resistance to the Separate Car Law of Louisiana. The Separate Car Law was passed by the Louisiana Legislature, requiring blacks and whites ride in separate coaches on all public transportation in the state. Martinet publicly denounced the Separate Car Law in the Daily Crusader and quickly mobilized African-American attorneys to combat the law. He was a key strategist in orchestrating Homer Adolph Plessy’s arrest for violating the Separate Car Act, an act that resulted in the landmark 1896 United States Supreme Court decision, Plessy vs. Ferguson, which established separate but equal as the law of the land. Because Martinet was not admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, he selected S.F. Phillips and A.W. Tourgee to serve as attorneys of record.
The Louis A. Martinet Legal Society Greater Baton Rouge chapter has members throughout the practice and on the bench. Our objectives are to encourage interchange of ideas, promote legal scholarship, advance the science of jurisprudence, promote the administration of justice, uphold the order and ethics of the courts and the profession of law and promote the welfare of the legal profession in Louisiana.