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Mr. Kaliste Saloom, Jr. (Deceased)

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Obituary: Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr. - L'Acadien/Vermilion Sports Editor & Military Vet - 12/2/2017

Please visit the Archives News (click on any news article, then the upper left of the new page) and click on December & 2017 to view the headlines of those articles, then click on the headlines of his full obituary with photos/links, etc.


Obituary for Judge Kaliste Joseph Saloom, Jr.

May 15, 1918 - December 2, 2017

The Honorable Kaliste J. Saloom, Jr. Retired Judge


Judge Kaliste Joseph Saloom, Jr., whose life spanned an extraordinary century of change but whose devotion to Lafayette, its people and potential never wavered, died Dec. 2, 2017. He was 99. Saloom served four decades as judge of Lafayette City Court.

During his judicial tenure, Saloom instituted reforms to the court’s operations that served as a model followed by other systems in the state and nation. He was also an advocate for public and traffic safety, and for the well-being of children.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lafayette. The Most Reverend J. Douglas Deshotel, Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette, will be the Celebrant of the Mass and The Most Reverend Glen John Provost, M.A., D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles, will serve as concelebrant. Reverend Michael Russo and Reverend Nathan Comeaux of Our Lady of Fatima, and The Very Reverend Chester C. Arceneaux, VF of Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, will also serve as concelebrants. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Martin and Castille Funeral Home-Downtown, 330 St. Landry St. A rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. Friday. Visitation will resume at 8 a.m. until the time of services Saturday at Our Lady of Fatima. Burial with full military honors will be at St. John Cemetery. A reception will follow at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Center.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Judge Kaliste J. Saloom, Jr. Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Political Science, administered by the UL Lafayette Foundation; Cathedral-Carmel School; and Our Lady of Fatima School.

Pallbearers will be Judge Saloom’s son-in-law, Evan P. Howell III, and grandsons Bradley M. Saloom, Kaliste J. Saloom IV, Adam D. Saloom, Christopher S. Saloom, Ethan J. Saloom and John W. Howell. Honorary pallbearers will be Emile Nassar, Dr. Maurice Nassar, former Lafayette City Marshal Earl J. “Nickey” Picard, Larry Donahue, Micah Vidrine and Judge Saloom’s nieces and nephews.

Kaliste Joseph Saloom, Jr. was born May 15, 1918, in Lafayette. His parents were Kaliste J. Saloom, Sr. and Asma Ann Boustany Saloom. Both were natives of Lebanon. The couple had four sons and four daughters. Kaliste, Jr. was their sixth child. Kaliste, Sr. and Asma opened Saloom’s, a mercantile store in Lafayette, shortly after their marriage in 1907. Located at 1335 Jefferson St., it remained family-operated for more than a century. As a child, Kaliste, Jr. worked in the store’s accounts department, and often traversed unpaved city streets on bicycle or in a horse-drawn wagon to deliver goods to customers. He was also employed by the Lafayette White Sox, a Class D baseball team that was part of the Evangeline League. He kept score and reported the game results to area news outlets. He earned $1 per game.

Kaliste Saloom, Sr. died in 1925 at age 39. His son and namesake was 6. Shortly after, in 1927, the Great Mississippi River Flood heralded a period of economic instability for South Louisiana. The Great Depression enveloped the world’s financial markets two years later and continued for the next decade. Saloom later remembered that the hardships he witnessed in his youth instilled the compassion, determination and optimism that defined his later life and career. He watched as his mother, who continued to operate the store after her husband’s death, sold clothes to families knowing they would never be able to pay her. It inspired him and his two surviving brothers to pursue careers that could help others. He became a lawyer, while Richard and Clarence became doctors. A fourth brother, Joseph, died before Kaliste, Jr.’s birth.

Saloom graduated from Cathedral High School in 1935 as class valedictorian. At Cathedral, he served as a class officer and took part in speech and debate. He played football, basketball and baseball, and participated in track and field. After graduation, he enrolled at Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. At SLI, he was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Leadership Fraternity; Blue Key National Honor Society; Pi Kappa Delta National Debating Society; Kappa Sigma Fraternity (formerly Sigma Pi Alpha); Pi Gamma Mu National Social Science Society; and Alpha Phi Omega Scouting Fraternity. He was president of the Newman Club, a Catholic student organization. He was on the staffs of The Vermilion student newspaper and L’Acadien yearbook. Saloom also wrote sports articles for The (Lafayette) Daily Advertiser and other regional papers. He graduated with high distinction with a bachelor of arts degree in 1939, but his love and support for his alma mater continued for the next eight decades. He served as president of the University’s Alumni Association from 1958-1959. The association honored him at its Spring Gala in 2001, the same year the University established the Judge Kaliste J. Saloom, Jr. Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Political Science.

Saloom’s academic record at SLI earned him a scholarship to attend Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. At Tulane, he was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Tulane Law Review Board of Editors. He served as editor of the Law Review Index and as president of La Société de Droit Civil. He graduated with honors in 1942 and was admitted to the Louisiana Bar that same year. World War II delayed Saloom’s legal career. He joined the military in 1942, and served in North Africa, France and Germany as a special agent in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps. He was decorated with two battle stars for service in the North African campaign and European Theater of Operation. When asked about his military service, Saloom invariably recounted two stories. The first was when he worked with Scotland Yard to protect Winston Churchill while the British prime minister recuperated from pneumonia in Marrakesh, Morocco. The second involved the 1945 capture of German Gen. Karl Cerff. Saloom received a special commendation from the commander of the U.S. Sixth Army Group for helping to capture Cerff, head of the Nazi Youth. In July 2017, the National World War II Museum in New Orleans presented Saloom its Silver Service Medallion, given to World War II veterans for distinguished service.

Saloom returned to Lafayette in 1946 after his discharge from the Army and opened his legal practice. Two years later, he became Lafayette City Attorney and was instrumental in the development of the Lafayette Utilities System, and in the creation of Lafayette Parish’s Permanent Voter Registration Program. In 1953, he became Lafayette City Court Judge, his first, and only, elected position. He would remain on the city court bench for the next 40 years. Saloom’s ability to navigate the period’s political antagonism won him support from both the Long and anti-Long factions that then divided the Louisiana Democratic Party. With endorsements from each, Saloom could address - without fear of charges of political favoritism - the problems he saw plaguing city courts in Lafayette and across the state. He immediately proposed accountability measures in how traffic violations were handled. The previous system enabled state and local politicians to “fix” tickets for friends and supporters; more tickets were being fixed than tried, Saloom later remembered. His reforms placed control of traffic tickets under the city court’s jurisdiction. The four-way traffic ticket system he proposed created a multi-layered record that reduced potential for corruption. Some politicians in Lafayette told the young judge, then in his first term, that he would never be re-elected because of his efforts. But he was - in 1956 and in each subsequent election until his retirement in 1993.

Saloom’s judicial tenure remains the second-longest in the state’s history, and includes his service as a temporary judge on the Louisiana 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in 1992. As city court judge, Saloom abandoned the practice of docketing cases based on a defendant’s race. The new system instead called cases by name and docket number with no racial designation. Saloom instituted other measures that protected the rights of the accused. He brought in lawyers, not police officers, to prosecute city court cases. He was also one of the first area judges to insist indigent defendants deserved legal counsel. Saloom remained the city court’s sole judge until 1984, when it expanded to second sections.

On October 19, 1958, Saloom married Yvonne Adelle Nassar. The couple met when Saloom saw her receive a scholarship to attend Newcomb College, part of Tulane University. They were introduced shortly after, and a five-year courtship followed. After Yvonne graduated from Newcomb, the couple married in St. Mary Catholic Church in Jackson, Mississippi, her hometown. They returned to Lafayette and purchased the home where they lived during their 59 years of marriage. It is also where they raised their four children. Eventually, the family grew to include 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

From 1960-1964, Saloom served on the Louisiana Supreme Court Judicial Council, the first city court judge to do so. He was twice chairman of the state Supreme Court’s Special Committee for Revision of Louisiana Highway Traffic Laws. In addition, he assisted in drafting the Uniform Traffic Code of the National Council on Uniform Traffic Laws; the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure; the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure; the Louisiana Children’s Code; the Small Claims Court Act; and the federal Drunk Driving Prevention Act.

On the state and national levels, his professional memberships and service included: delegate, White House Conference on Children and Youth, appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1960); president, Louisiana City Judges Association (1962); president, Louisiana Council of Juvenile Court Judges (1963); member, National Council of Juvenile Court Judges; member and chair, Louisiana Youth Commission (appointed by Gov. Earl K. Long in 1958 and served until 1978); member, U.S. Justice Department’s National Conference on Uniform Bail and Criminal Justice (1966); member, American Judges Association’s Board of Governors (1972-1977); member, Louisiana Judicial College’s Board of Governors (appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Joe W. Sanders in 1976 and served until 1980); member, U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Advisory Committee (appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977 and served until 1980); national chair, U.S. Department of Transportation’s Task Force 55 MPH (1980); National Center for State Court’s Board of Directors (1978-1984); and the American Academy of Judicial Education’s Advisory Committee (1980). In 1991, the Louisiana Supreme Court appointed Saloom to study the state’s juvenile justice system.

Locally, Saloom was president of the Lafayette Parish and the 15th Judicial District Bar Associations. He also cofounded or sponsored numerous safety and youth related organizations, including: the Lafayette Area Safety Council, now the Acadiana Safety Association; Lafayette City Court Sobriety Program; the Drivers Improvement School for Traffic Violators; the Lafayette Juvenile Detention Home; the Lafayette Alcohol Traffic Action Program, affiliated with the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation (1975); and the Alcohol Driver Education Program (1978). He also served on the Crimestoppers Board of Directors and was both its chair and vice chair for several years.

His efforts on behalf of children, to enhance public safety and to improve the administration of justice earned Saloom numerous accolades from local, state and national organizations. From 1959 to 1990, he won national traffic inventory awards from the American Bar Association. He was named the ABA’s 1968 Outstanding Traffic Court Judge in the Nation, and received the second Flaschner Foundation Award of the American Bar Association, National Council of Special Court Judges in 1981. His other honors included: the Sears Foundation’s Carol Lane Safety Award, which he shared with the Lafayette Women’s Federated Club (1958); the Allstate Safety Crusade’s Certificate of Commendation (1962); the American Auto Association’s Traffic Safety Award (1969); the Award for Distinguished Public Service, the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (1981); the American Judges Association’s Judge William H. Burnett Award (1982); the Mississippi State University Pre-Law Society’s sixth National Distinguished Jurist Award (1987); a special commendation from the Louisiana State Bar Association (1988); National Center for State Courts’ Distinguished Service Award for a Trial Judge on the State Level (1988); and the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Distinguished Jurist Award (1992).

In 1988, Louisiana Gov. Charles E. “Buddy” Roemer III declared May 15, 1988 - Saloom’s 70th birthday - as “Judge Kaliste J. Saloom Jr. Day” statewide. Three years later, Roemer presented Saloom with an award to mark “38 years of outstanding service as city judge.”

Saloom continued to amass honors even after he left the bench. He received a letter of commendation from President Bill Clinton to mark his retirement in 1993. The Lafayette City Court’s original courtroom, where he presided for 26 of his 40 years on the bench, was renamed in his honor in 1998. The following year, he became the only city court judge in the nation to receive the Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Award, which was presented by Burger’s successor, William H. Rehnquist.

Saloom was inducted into numerous halls of fame as well, including: the Louisiana State Justice Hall of Fame (2006); the Acadian Museum Hall of Fame’s Order of Living Legends (2009); Junior Achievement’s Business Hall of Fame (2014); the Lafayette Bar Association inaugural Hall of Fame Class (2014); and the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame (2016). Other honors he received in retirement were: the League of Women Voters’ Outstanding Public Service Award (2013); the Sons of the American Revolution’s Patriotism Medal (2014); and a commendation from the Louisiana Legislature during its 2015 regular session. Earlier this year, Kaliste and Yvonne Saloom were named Franco-Fête 2017 Honorees for their support of CODOFIL and their efforts to preserve Louisiana’s Cajun-Creole French culture. This honor came at the end of a long career of civic engagement in Lafayette. Saloom held memberships in or was affiliated with Rotary International; the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association and its Krewe of Gabriel; the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition; Lafayette Town House and its Krewe of Troubadours; and the Krewe of Attakapas (1968). He served as co-chair of the Lafayette Parish Bicentennial Commission in 1976, and was a charter member of Oakbourne Country Club.

For his devotion to Lafayette, Saloom received a host of awards, including: the Lafayette Civic Cup (1965); the Salvation Army’s Man of the Year Award (1966); Cedar’s Club Man of the Year Award (1968); and the American Legion’s Arthur Webb Jr. Memorial Award (1991). He reigned as the Krewe of Attakapas’ first King Lacassine in 1969, and as the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association’s King Gabriel L in 1989.

Saloom is survived by his wife of 59 years, the former Yvonne Adelle Nassar; four children: Kaliste J. Saloom III; Lafayette City Court Judge Douglas J. Saloom, and his wife, the former Mary Margaret Bienvenu; Leanne Saloom Howell, and her husband, Evan Howell III; and Gregory J. Saloom (retired major, U.S. Army), and his wife, the former Shari Yount; eleven grandchildren: Bradley M. Saloom and his wife, the former Christina McMahan; Kaliste J. Saloom IV, and his wife, the former Bridget Ortte; Thomas R. Saloom, and his wife, the former Angelle Trahan, D.D.S.; Christopher S. Saloom; Leslie M. Saloom; Adam D. Saloom, and his wife, the former Megan Jenkins; Ethan J. Saloom; Alexandra M. Howell; John W. Howell; Katherine A. Saloom and Jordan A. Saloom; five great-grandchildren: Eli J. Saloom, Kaliste J. Saloom V, Emma K. Saloom, Taylor E. Saloom and Minette M. Saloom. He is also survived by one sister-in-law, Mrs. Richard G. Saloom, the former Ruth Black; two brothers-in-law, Emile A. Nassar and Dr. Maurice G. Nassar, and his wife, the former Marilyn Anderson; and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Kaliste J. Saloom, Sr. and Asma Boustany Saloom; three brothers, Joseph Saloom; Dr. Clarence Saloom (m. Pauline Womac, deceased) and Dr. Richard Saloom; four sisters, Alice M. Saloom; Mary Agnes Saloom Azar (m. Dr. Paul Azar Sr., deceased); Beatrice M. Saloom and Isabelle Saloom Haik (m. Dr. George M. Haik Sr., deceased); daughter-in-law, Leah Richardson Saloom (m. Kaliste III); his father- and mother-in-law, Lee G. Nassar and Isabelle Nejam Nassar; and a brother-in-law, George Lee Nassar.

The Saloom family would like to thank Judge Saloom’s caregivers, Rita Burney, Carolyn Walley and Jaquitha Jenkins, Dr. Maurice Nassar, Dr. George Nassar, Dr. George M. Haik, his godchild, Dr. Paul “Buddy” Azar, Dr. Harold Chastant Sr., Dr. Jude Bares, and his primary care physician, Dr. Michael Alexander and the staff of Lafayette General Medical Center. He was blessed with many friends, colleagues and acquaintances all of whom are deserving of mention especially his neighbors, Eddie and Ann Palmer, and Dr. David Elston; golfing buddy, Larry Donahue; his long-time city court staff, including Leora Fuselier, Fay Markham, Gloria Wheeler, Dot Ritchey and Belle Breaux; former city marshals Don Breaux and Earl J. “Nickey” Picard, and their deputies; and the krewe and board members of the Southwest Mardi Gras Association and the Krewe of Gabriel. The family would also extend a special thanks to Terry Huval, and Stuart Clark and Channel One Video for memorializing his life and words; and Dr. Ray P. Authement and Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, presidents of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, for sharing with the community his extraordinary life as part of the University’s archives.

In addition, the family offers its thanks to the Acadiana Veterans and Fort Polk honor guards; the Knights of the Eucharistic Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office; the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department; the Lafayette Police Department; the UL Lafayette Police Department; and the Lafayette Fire Department for their participation in the funeral proceedings.

View the obituary and guestbook online at www.mourning.com

Martin & Castille-DOWNTOWN-330 St. Landry St., Lafayette, LA 70506, 337-234-2311

Athletic Network footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.

Please click here for the Athletic Network Profile of Judge Kaliste Saloom, Jr.
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Judge Saloom phoned me in 2003 to informed me that he had heard something about a new website for athletics and he wanted to know if I was going to include former athletes. I informed him that we were including them and he offered his services. He was delighted to learn that support groups would also be included in the website and that we would attempt to capture information as far back as possible. He has served as the photographer and sports reporter for the L'Acadien and Vermilion while in school and was a virtual clearing house of information on the university and athletics. It would also be said for Lafayette and Acadiana. He was unbelievalbly knowledgeable when it came to history.

Click here for a photo of Judge and Mrs.Saloom (Yvonne) attending the Shipley Reunion in 2001.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Judge Kaliste Joseph Saloom, Jr. please visit our Sympathy Store.


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Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr. has died - L'Acadien and Vermilion Sports Editor. Military Veteran


The Advertiser, Dec. 3, 2017

Click here for videos and photos of Judge Saloom.


Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr., a visionary who helped Lafayette realize its potential, has died at age 99, according to this Facebook post from his son:

"It is with a heavy heart to post that my father passed away peacefully this evening. He lived a wonderful 99? years, and leaves an indelible mark not only on his family but this community. I am proud he called me his son and I, my father, to carry his name. Love."

The message was posted to Facebook early Sunday morning.

We will continue to update as more details become available.

As news of Judge Saloom's passing reached the public, reactions from friends and colleagues ranged from sadness to reverence for the man many called a living legend.

Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court Louis Perret considered Saloom a friend.

"Besides being a brilliant legal mind, he was a gentleman to a T," Perret said Sunday.

Saloom, he said, was a sharp dresser, very polite, a great historian for Lafayette and a devout Catholic.
"He helped me many, many times that people will never know about," Perret said. "When I had a sticky situation or a legal question, I could call him and get completely unfettered, unbiased advice."


After World War II, up until around 1950, as the bodies of soldiers were identified, they were returned to Lafayette by train, where the funeral home collected them for the families, Perret said.

"Judge Saloom and a group of citizens took it upon themselves," he said, "to meet the bodies at the train station with dignity and respect."

Former Louisiana Congressman Jimmy Hayes, a city prosecutor in the 1970s and early 1980s while Saloom was a city court judge, was "extremely fond" of him.

For many people, appearing in city court for a traffic ticket or other minor offense was their only contact with the criminal justice system, Hayes said. Saloom felt an obligation to be professional and fair in his rulings and the way he conducted himself, he said

"He had an extraordinary career" and is one of the most scholarly people to serve as city judge, Hayes said.

Saloom published many writings about the way a city court should be administered and received national honors for his work, he said.

The late judge also corresponded for years with Sandra Day O'Connor, former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stuart Clark called Saloom a friend for many years. He was so amazed by the stories Saloom would tell, he decided to make a documentary with the judge recalling portions of his life and sharing his knowledge of Lafayette history. The two hour video was donated to the UL Lafayette library in a special dedication ceremony on May 15, Saloom's 99th birthday.

Clark said he made the film titled, Judge Kaliste Saloom, Jr. A Lafayette Legend, to preserve history.

"I am very blessed and privileged that I got to do that," Clark said. "I had heard he had been ill, so, when I got the news, I was deeply saddened and very sorry for the family. I thought right away that Lafayette lost a great man, a living legend. 99 ½ years, filled with a life of service and sacrifice. He was a wonderful family man -- all the things we should all strive for. So many things he did, I hope will inspire people to follow in his footsteps."

Stella Theriot served in the Rotary Club with Saloom for more than 15 years. She recalled that he was a loyal presence at the club.

"He was just a living book of history, " Theriot said. "He would share with us his knowledge and he was so kind and genuine. There will be a gaping hole for us (now). He was there until the last couple of weeks. He has just been a mainstay of our club and he will be greatly missed."

Former Lafayette mayor Dud Lastrapes also called Saloom a friend and was a fellow Rotary Club member.

"He was an icon," Lastrapes recalled. "He had the respect of everyone who knew him and probably many who didn’t who were impressed by his major part in Lafayette’s history."

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette issued this statement from President E. Joseph Savoie:

“We have lost a community icon. Judge Saloom was a walking encyclopedia of University and community history. He not only knew the facts of history, but the nuances behind the facts."

The statement continues, “He was an integral participant in the development and evolution of the University, and while his presence at University events will be missed, his legacy will be remembered and cherished.”

Below is a story and video published by The Daily Advertiser in 2013 celebrating Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr.'s life:

Those who know him best call him a living historian, an empathetic yet stern man who is one of the brightest Lafayette has ever seen.

He's a man who remembers well The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, a veteran who helped to capture a two-star Nazi general in World War II, who protected British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill during wartime.

He's a visionary who saw potential not only for Lafayette's people but for its then-corrupt city court.

And while every Lafayette resident well knows the name Kaliste Saloom " if for no other reason than for the roadway " some don't know much about the retired judge who recently celebrated his 95th birthday.

Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr. now lives a quiet life with his wife, Yvonne, in their quaint Lafayette home in Bendel Gardens, but he's still one of the city's greatest advocates.

Oh, and he's actually not the person the Lafayette road was named for.

Born the fifth of seven children to Lebanese immigrants Kaliste and Asma Boustany Saloom, Kaliste Saloom Jr. learned quickly the hardships life could bring.

His father died in 1925 when he was only 6 years old. Four years later, The Great Depression devastated the world's economy, greatly affecting the impressionable youth.

More: Judge Kaliste Saloom is living history

"The Great Depression left a very big mark on me," he says today. "Try not to be poor. Always have a job. Don't expect tomorrow to be greater than today, but hope that it is."

His mother, a businesswoman who owned an apparel store called Saloom's, pushed her three boys to study professions that could support a family, such as medicine and law.

Kaliste Saloom Jr.'s older and younger brothers chose the medical profession, but he chose the legal profession.

After earning a bachelor's degree in arts in 1939 from the Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Kaliste Saloom Jr. pursued his law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.

By the beginning of 1942, as Kaliste Saloom Jr. was preparing to graduate from Tulane, the World War II draft became his reality.

He entered the Army in June of 1942, just after earning his degree.

Only weeks into basic training, Kaliste Saloom Jr. was selected to be a member of the Counterintelligence Corps, in part due to his education and knowledge of languages, including English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Kaliste Saloom Jr.'s first encounter with a great world figure came in 1944 during wartime when he became one of six American intelligence agents assigned to protect Churchill as he recuperated from pneumonia in North Africa.

"The excitement of being close to a great person is something any young person would cherish," Kaliste Saloom Jr. said.

Although he and his fellow counterintelligence agents protected the lives of many Allied soldiers in their day-to-day work, their real recognition came when they rounded up high-ranking Nazis, Waffen SS men, American traitors and war criminals.

What Kaliste Saloom Jr. is most proud of is the capture of the highest Nazi general in the Hitler Youth, Karl Cerff.

Although it became a long search with many dry runs, Kaliste Saloom Jr. and fellow counterintelligence agents ultimately captured the Nazi general and turned him over to the crimes commissioner.

In November 1945, Kaliste Saloom Jr. returned home a war hero and opened his own Lafayette law office in a small, rented office.

Kaliste Saloom Jr. worked only for a few years as a private lawyer before being asked to take on the role of city attorney in 1949 and later city judge in 1952.

With less than two years to serve as judge before facing election, Kaliste Saloom Jr. invoked a no-favoritism system.

"When more tickets were being fixed than tried, there was something that needed changing in the system," Saloom said. "And that's what we did."

More than one in Lafayette told the young judge that he didn't stand a chance at re-election.

One of Kaliste Saloom Jr.'s early renovations to the city court process included implementation of four-way tickets. Before four-way tickets, there was no real system of accountability to tickets issued by officers.

The four-way system dictated that the first ticket would be given to the motorist, the second would be retained by the issuing officer, the third ticket would be used in the court system as an affidavit for proceedings and the fourth ticket would be held in the court's permanent records.

"That prevented politicians from imposing on the officers favoritism or disposing the tickets by tearing them up," Kaliste Saloom Jr. said. "The record would report what the disposition was."

From his start, the people of Lafayette learned that Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr. was a force to be reckoned with.

Even those who had ties to the judge were treated with the same " if not an even higher " standard.

Dee Stanley, the chief administrative officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government, has turned to Kaliste Saloom Jr. many times through the years, often to discuss Lafayette's growth and trends.

Stanley also once stood before the judge in city court to contest a speeding ticket.

"Let's just say that I believed I was right so much so that I felt it was important for me to go to court," Stanley said. "Our friendship and relationship withstanding, I was treated exactly like you'd expect. I was treated fairly and with respect, and I did not prevail."

Likewise, City Court Marshal Earl J. "Nickey" Picard has worked alongside Kaliste Saloom Jr. since the early 1950s, first as a state trooper, then as his court administrator.

"He had a record for being stern," Picard said."He'd give you hell, but he was very compassionate. He was always wanting the police to do better, the city to do better."

From 1952 to 1983, Kaliste Saloom Jr. served as the sole Lafayette City Court judge, and his reputation soon spread far outside of Lafayette.

Most cities in Louisiana implemented his four-way ticket system, the same one that state police use today.

Kaliste Saloom Jr. became the first city judge appointed to the judicial council of the Louisiana Supreme Court. He received recognition from the U.S. Supreme Court and served as the board of directors for the National Center for State Courts.

While serving on President Carter's National Highway Safety Advisory, Kaliste Saloom Jr. was named the National 55 MPH chairman and was sent from state to state to address legislatures and governors.

"I think one of the reasons they accepted my eulogy is that Louisiana was such a great petroleum producer, and here is somebody coming from a state that thrives on oil and gas, and he's preaching conservation," Kaliste Saloom Jr. said.

In another program under then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Kaliste Saloom Jr. worked up a system of release under certain conditions in which an honorable citizen would not be held in jail simply because he could not afford to post bail.

Kaliste Saloom Jr.'s work at home, however, is what has created his legacy.

"A judge on the front ranks has a duty besides sitting on the bench," Kaliste Saloom Jr. said. "His duty is to encourage unity and obedience to the law, and in community courts, traffic safety and juvenile programs."

Charles Lenox, the director of student publications for UL, crossed paths with Kaliste Saloom Jr. constantly during Lenox's 42 years working for The Daily Advertiser, where Kaliste Saloom Jr. wrote sports stories in his college days.

"I was just always amazed at the man because of what he stood for and how he continued to stand for the things that any judge, any lawyer, anyone would want to stand for," Lenox said.

In 1993, Kaliste Saloom Jr. finally retired, but he certainly has not retired from his role as an advocate for the city.

When asked whether he has ever had a moving violation, Saloom responds with a chuckle before saying, "Not that I know of."

As a native of Lafayette, Kaliste Saloom Jr. watched Lafayette grow from a small college town to a hub for business and tourism.

His childhood home and his mother's store were situated in the center of town on Oak Avenue, which is now Jefferson Street.

"I could walk to church, walk to school, walk to the theaters," Kaliste Saloom Jr. said. "As a youngster, Lafayette was a beautiful town with a lot of oak trees and sidewalks that were built before I was born."

The brick-paved Oak Avenue served as the hub of Lafayette, he recalls, and Lafayette ended at the Vermilion River where the agricultural developments began.

Kaliste and Asma Boustany Saloom immigrated to Lafayette largely because of the language and religious similarities at the time.

The Christian population in Lebanon was largely Catholic when Kaliste Saloom Jr.'s parents made Lafayette their new home, and the country's second language was French.

One of the most vivid memories from Kaliste Saloom Jr.'s childhood is from The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, during which water rose to the city limits at all angles and thousands of refugees filtered into the city to find safety.

"There were tents, white tents, strewn all over the town and on almost all vacant properties," he said. "It was a very sad occasion, a very troublesome one, because of the fear of typhoid fever and small pox."

Much of Lafayette's growth halted during The Great Depression and World War II, he recalls, but the hardworking people of Lafayette kept the faith and continued to work hard.

"Very little was done for several years," he said. "The electric system, the water system, the streets, the playgrounds all were neglected."

In his role as city attorney during the post-war era in Lafayette, however, Kaliste Saloom Jr. helped to design the Lafayette Utilities System that brought the city's electric, water and sewage operations to a more modern scale.

More than 50 years later, Kaliste Saloom Jr. is still advocating Lafayette's need to think ahead for a more successful future.

"Of course we have geographic boundaries," he said. "But it is very important that we do not lose sight of the fact that we need to develop the infrastructure of our community and to keep developing it – the widening of our roads, the extension of our facilities."

At 95 years old, Kaliste Saloom Jr. has devoted most of his life to his hometown.

He and his wife still work for the betterment of Lafayette, and their family continues to carry on their legacy.

Their four children " Kaliste Saloom III, Leanne Saloom Howell, Douglas Saloom and Gregory Saloom " all practice law in Louisiana.

Kaliste Saloom Jr. is often asked if the road that has become a major artery through Lafayette is named after him.

After serving the City of Lafayette and its people for most of his life, he very well could be the honoree.

"He set the roadway to bring this court into the 21st century," Picard said. "He was always trying to do things better for Lafayette."

Yet the roadway was named for another.

Prior to World War II, Asma Boustany Saloom acquired land in the Kaliste Saloom and U.S. 90 area. This became the key land needed to open a much-needed roadway between the Vermilion River and Verot School Road.

The city attorney approached the Saloom family and asked that the land be donated for the project.

"There was no money paid," Kaliste Saloom Jr. said. "But they agreed to name the road after my father, my deceased father, who is Kaliste Saloom. And that pleased my mother, and she gave what lands they needed."

"Very often, I get the question, 'Is that named for you?' And I say, 'The road and me were named after the same person.' "

Athletic Network footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.

Please click here for the Athletic Network Profile of Judge Kaliste Saloom, Jr.
|
Judge Saloom phoned me in 2003 to informed me that he had heard something about a new website for athletics and he wanted to know if I was going to include former athletes. I informed him that we were including them and he offered his services. He was delighted to learn that support groups would also be included in the website and that we would attempt to capture information as far back as possible. He has served as the photographer and sports reporter for the L'Acadien and Vermilion while in school and was a virtual clearing house of information on the university and athletics. It would also be said for Lafayette and Acadiana. He was unbelievalbly knowledgeable when it came to history.

Click here for a photo of Judge and Mrs.Saloom (Yvonne) attending the Shipley Reunion in 2001.

* * * *

Megan Wyatt, Daily Advertiser, July 14, 2013


Those who know him best call him a living historian, an empathetic yet stern man who is one of the brightest Lafayette has ever seen.

He’s a man who remembers well The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, a veteran who helped to capture a two-star Nazi general in World War II, who protected British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill during wartime.
He’s a visionary who saw potential not only for Lafayette’s people but for its then-corrupt city court.
And while every Lafayette resident well knows the name Kaliste Saloom " if for no other reason than for the roadway " some don’t know much about the retired judge who recently celebrated his 95th birthday.
Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr. now lives a quiet life with his wife, Yvonne, in their quaint Lafayette home in Bendel Gardens, but he’s still one of the city’s greatest advocates.
Oh, and he’s actually not the person the Lafayette road was named for.
Born the fifth of seven children to Lebanese immigrants Kaliste and Asma Boustany Saloom, Kaliste Saloom Jr. learned quickly the hardships life could bring.
His father died in 1925 when he was only 6 years old. Four years later, The Great Depression devastated the world’s economy, greatly affecting the impressionable youth.
“The Great Depression left a very big mark on me,” he says today. “Try not to be poor. Always have a job. Don’t expect tomorrow to be greater than today, but hope that it is.”
His mother, a businesswoman who owned an apparel store called Saloom’s, pushed her three boys to study professions that could support a family, such as medicine and law.
Kaliste Saloom Jr.’s older and younger brothers chose the medical profession, but he chose the legal profession.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in arts in 1939 from the Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Kaliste Saloom Jr. pursued his law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.
By the beginning of 1942, as Kaliste Saloom Jr. was preparing to graduate from Tulane, the World War II draft became his reality.

He entered the Army in June of 1942, just after earning his degree.

Only weeks into basic training, Kaliste Saloom Jr. was selected to be a member of the Counterintelligence Corps, in part due to his education and knowledge of languages, including English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
Kaliste Saloom Jr.’s first encounter with a great world figure came in 1944 during wartime when he became one of six American intelligence agents assigned to protect Churchill as he recuperated from pneumonia in North Africa.
“The excitement of being close to a great person is something any young person would cherish,” Kaliste Saloom Jr. said.
Although he and his fellow counterintelligence agents protected the lives of many Allied soldiers in their day-to-day work, their real recognition came when they rounded up high-ranking Nazis, Waffen SS men, American traitors and war criminals.
What Kaliste Saloom Jr. is most proud of is the capture of the highest Nazi general in the Hitler Youth, Karl Cerff.
Although it became a long search with many dry runs, Kaliste Saloom Jr. and fellow counterintelligence agents ultimately captured the Nazi general and turned him over to the crimes commissioner.
In November 1945, Kaliste Saloom Jr. returned home a war hero and opened his own Lafayette law office in a small, rented office.
Kaliste Saloom Jr. worked only for a few years as a private lawyer before being asked to take on the role of city attorney in 1949 and later city judge in 1952.
With less than two years to serve as judge before facing election, Kaliste Saloom Jr. invoked a no-favoritism system.
“When more tickets were being fixed than tried, there was something that needed changing in the system,” Saloom said. “And that’s what we did.”
More than one in Lafayette told the young judge that he didn’t stand a chance at re-election.
One of Kaliste Saloom Jr.’s early renovations to the city court process included implementation of four-way tickets. Before four-way tickets, there was no real system of accountability to tickets issued by officers.

The four-way system dictated that the first ticket would be given to the motorist, the second would be retained by the issuing officer, the third ticket would be used in the court system as an affidavit for proceedings and the fourth ticket would be held in the court’s permanent records.

“That prevented politicians from imposing on the officers favoritism or disposing the tickets by tearing them up,” Kaliste Saloom Jr. said. “The record would report what the disposition was.”
From his start, the people of Lafayette learned that Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr. was a force to be reckoned with.
Even those who had ties to the judge were treated with the same " if not an even higher " standard.
Dee Stanley, the chief administrative officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government, has turned to Kaliste Saloom Jr. many times through the years, often to discuss Lafayette’s growth and trends.
Stanley also once stood before the judge in city court to contest a speeding ticket.
“Let’s just say that I believed I was right so much so that I felt it was important for me to go to court,” Stanley said. “Our friendship and relationship withstanding, I was treated exactly like you’d expect. I was treated fairly and with respect, and I did not prevail.”
Likewise, City Court Marshal Earl J. “Nickey“ Picard has worked alongside Kaliste Saloom Jr. since the early 1950s, first as a state trooper, then as his court administrator.
“He had a record for being stern,” Picard said.”He’d give you hell, but he was very compassionate. He was always wanting the police to do better, the city to do better.”
From 1952 to 1983, Kaliste Saloom Jr. served as the sole Lafayette City Court judge, and his reputation soon spread far outside of Lafayette.
Most cities in Louisiana implemented his four-way ticket system, the same one that state police use today.
Kaliste Saloom Jr. became the first city judge appointed to the judicial council of the Louisiana Supreme Court. He received recognition from the U.S. Supreme Court and served as the board of directors for the National Center for State Courts.

While serving on President Carter’s National Highway Safety Advisory, Kaliste Saloom Jr. was named the National 55 MPH chairman and was sent from state to state to address legislatures and governors.

“I think one of the reasons they accepted my eulogy is that Louisiana was such a great petroleum producer, and here is somebody coming from a state that thrives on oil and gas, and he’s preaching conservation,” Kaliste Saloom Jr. said.
In another program under then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Kaliste Saloom Jr. worked up a system of release under certain conditions in which an honorable citizen would not be held in jail simply because he could not afford to post bail.
Kaliste Saloom Jr.’s work at home, however, is what has created his legacy.
“A judge on the front ranks has a duty besides sitting on the bench,” Kaliste Saloom Jr. said. “His duty is to encourage unity and obedience to the law, and in community courts, traffic safety and juvenile programs.”
Charles Lenox, the director of student publications for UL, crossed paths with Kaliste Saloom Jr. constantly during Lenox’s 42 years working for The Daily Advertiser, where Kaliste Saloom Jr. wrote sports stories in his college days.
“I was just always amazed at the man because of what he stood for and how he continued to stand for the things that any judge, any lawyer, anyone would want to stand for,” Lenox said.
In 1993, Kaliste Saloom Jr. finally retired, but he certainly has not retired from his role as an advocate for the city.
When asked whether he has ever had a moving violation, Saloom responds with a chuckle before saying, “Not that I know of.”
As a native of Lafayette, Kaliste Saloom Jr. watched Lafayette grow from a small college town to a hub for business and tourism.
His childhood home and his mother’s store were situated in the center of town on Oak Avenue, which is now Jefferson Street.
“I could walk to church, walk to school, walk to the theaters,” Kaliste Saloom Jr. said. “As a youngster, Lafayette was a beautiful town with a lot of oak trees and sidewalks that were built before I was born.”

The brick-paved Oak Avenue served as the hub of Lafayette, he recalls, and Lafayette ended at the Vermilion River where the agricultural developments began.

Kaliste and Asma Boustany Saloom immigrated to Lafayette largely because of the language and religious similarities at the time.
The Christian population in Lebanon was largely Catholic when Kaliste Saloom Jr.’s parents made Lafayette their new home, and the country’s second language was French.
One of the most vivid memories from Kaliste Saloom Jr.’s childhood is from The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, during which water rose to the city limits at all angles and thousands of refugees filtered into the city to find safety.
“There were tents, white tents, strewn all over the town and on almost all vacant properties,” he said. “It was a very sad occasion, a very troublesome one, because of the fear of typhoid fever and small pox.”
Much of Lafayette’s growth halted during The Great Depression and World War II, he recalls, but the hardworking people of Lafayette kept the faith and continued to work hard.
“Very little was done for several years,” he said. “The electric system, the water system, the streets, the playgrounds all were neglected.”
In his role as city attorney during the post-war era in Lafayette, however, Kaliste Saloom Jr. helped to design the Lafayette Utilities System that brought the city’s electric, water and sewage operations to a more modern scale.
More than 50 years later, Kaliste Saloom Jr. is still advocating Lafayette’s need to think ahead for a more successful future.
“Of course we have geographic boundaries,” he said. “But it is very important that we do not lose sight of the fact that we need to develop the infrastructure of our community and to keep developing it – the widening of our roads, the extension of our facilities.”
At 95 years old, Kaliste Saloom Jr. has devoted most of his life to his hometown.
He and his wife still work for the betterment of Lafayette, and their family continues to carry on their legacy.

Their four children " Kaliste Saloom III, Leanne Saloom Howell, Douglas Saloom and Gregory Saloom " all practice law in Louisiana.

Kaliste Saloom Jr. is often asked if the road that has become a major artery through Lafayette is named after him.
After serving the City of Lafayette and its people for most of his life, he very well could be the honoree.
“He set the roadway to bring this court into the 21st century,” Picard said. “He was always trying to do things better for Lafayette.”
Yet the roadway was named for another.
Prior to World War II, Asma Boustany Saloom acquired land in the Kaliste Saloom and U.S. 90 area. This became the key land needed to open a much-needed roadway between the Vermilion River and Verot School Road.
The city attorney approached the Saloom family and asked that the land be donated for the project.
“There was no money paid,” Kaliste Saloom Jr. said. “But they agreed to name the road after my father, my deceased father, who is Kaliste Saloom. And that pleased my mother, and she gave what lands they needed.”
“Very often, I get the question, ‘Is that named for you?’ And I say, ‘The road and me were named after the same person.’”

A Lafayette life
Here is a timeline of events in the life of former Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr.
• Saloom is born May 15, 1918, in Lafayette, the fifth of seven children to Lebanese immigrants Kaliste and Asma Boustany Saloom.
• His father dies in early 1925, when Saloom is only 6 years old. His mother, now now a businesswoman providing for her seven children, instills the need to work hard and find a good career to her children.
• In 1935, he graduates from Cathedral High School, now Cathedral-Carmel School.
• Saloom earns his bachelor’s degree in arts in 1939 from the Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The university bestowed its highest honor, the Outstanding Graduate Award, to Kaliste Saloom Jr.
• In 1942, he earns his bachelor of law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.
• Immediately after graduation from Tulane in May 1942, Saloom begings training for the Army. By August 1942, he was selected to be a member of the Counterintelligence Corps of the Army. He served in the military from June 1942 to November 1945
• Upon returning home from the war, Saloom opens his own law office
• By 1948, he was assigned to be city attorney for Lafayette.
• By the end of 1952, Saloom was elected to the position of judge for the City Court of Lafayette to fill a vacancy.
• From 1953 to 1983, Saloom served as the only judge for the City Court of Lafayette.
• On Oct. 19, 1958, Saloom married his wife Yvonne, a Mississippi native who had just earned her bachelor’s degree from Newcomb College, the women’s school of Tulane University.
• Saloom finally retired from his judgeship in 1993, after 40 years of service to the Lafayette community. He remains active.
L'Acadien:  1936, 1937, 1938, 1939
Military Veteran:  1942, 1943, 1944, 1945
Vermilion:  1936, 1937, 1938


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