For the first time in the Middle District’s history, on Thursday, September 17, 2020, the Middle District’s Judicial Officers naturalized twenty-three candidates for United States citizenship in an outdoor court ceremony “under the oaks” at the Russell B. Long Federal Building and United States Courthouse.
The Honorable Brian A. Jackson presided over the ceremony, alongside District Judge John W. deGravelles, United States Bankruptcy Judge Douglas D. Dodd, and United States Magistrate Judges Richard L. Bourgeois, Erin Wilder-Doomes, and Scott D. Johnson, who each offered remarks and congratulations to the United States’ newest citizens.
Mr. Russell Long Mosely, local attorney and grandson to the late Senator Russell B. Long to whom the Middle District Courthouse is dedicated, offered special remarks to welcome the naturalized citizens and to commemorate the historical significance of the Middle District’s second only court ceremony on its stately grounds. The first outdoor ceremony was the official dedication of the Russell B. Long Federal Building and United States Courthouse on November 3, 1994.
Ms. Jessica Ryan, Immigration Services Officer for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, introduced the candidates for citizenship. United States Attorney, Mr. Brandon Fremin, admitted the candidates and Chief Deputy, Mrs. Tara Madison, administered the Oath of Allegiance. Other distinguished guests in attendance included Ms. Brooke Altazan, President of the Baton Rouge Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Mr. Dennis Blunt, President of the Baton Rouge Bar Association, and Ms. Ann Gregorie, Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Bar Association.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the outdoor ceremony complete with social distancing and face coverings, the beautiful weather, picturesque scenery, and the Court’s impassioned commitment to fulfilling its Constitutional obligations, overshadowed the looming public health crisis. Undoubtedly, the Middle District’s historic 2020 Constitution Day Naturalization Ceremony will be remembered fondly for years to come.