Westside of Ascension Parish elects first African-American woman to serve as Justice of the Peace
Tamiko Francis Garrison was officially sworn in by Judge Erin Wiley-Lanoux for First Justice Court this morning, Thursday, December 31, 2020 during a private ceremony due to covid restrictions held at City Hall in Donaldsonville. Francis-Garrison will officially take office on January 1, 2021.
Francis-Garrison wore a white suit — a nod to the suffragettes of the Women’s Suffrage march held on March 3, 1913 – more specifically the 22 bold founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. who were among them. Francis-Garrison was initiated into the sorority in the Spring of 2006.
“I promise to work hard, to be fair, and to ensure the First Justice Court is fully accessible to the community that I love,” said Francis-Garrison.
Francis-Garrison, 52, democrat was elected to office on Saturday, December 5, 2020 during a run-off with the 42-year incumbent, Andrew Falcon. Francis-Garrison is not new to public service as in 2006, she served as the interim Ascension Parish Councilwoman for District One making history as the first African-American woman to serve in that role.
Francis-Garrison is the daughter of the late Bernard “BJ” Francis, Sr. and the late Janet Ganes Francis. In 1992, Atty. Francis was elected as the first African-American Mayor in Donaldsonville since the civil war era and Mrs. Francis was affectionately known as “The Woman who brought Juneteenth to Donaldsonville.”
Currently Francis-Garrison’s paternal uncle Reginald Francis, Sr. currently serves as a Donaldsonville City Councilman representing District Three.
Francis-Garrison found out a few weeks ago that she is not the first in her family to serve in the role as Justice of the Peace. Her maternal great-great grandfather Louis Butler, Sr. was elected as Justice of the Peace, First Ward in Ascension Parish on Tuesday, November 7, 1876. Mr. Butler served in various roles over the years: in 1867 – Distinguished of the Convention & Assembly of the Reconstruction of the State of Louisiana and 1874 – State Representative.
She has been married to her husband, Ira, for over 13 years and they have one daughter, Tamiko.