Catherine D. “Kitty” Kimball of Ventress has the distinction of being the first woman to serve on the Louisiana Supreme Court, eventually becoming the court’s first female chief justice.
Born in Alexandria on February 7, 1945, Kimball graduated from Bolton High School in 1963. She attended Louisiana State University (LSU), where she majored in English. She entered the LSU School of Law without an undergraduate degree and earned her law degree in 1970.
Kimball began her legal career in the Louisiana attorney general’s office (1971–1973), moving on to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice (1973–1981). From 1978 to 1982, she was an assistant district attorney for the Eighteenth Judicial District (Pointe Coupee, Iberville, and West Baton Rouge Parishes). She was then elected as a judge to the Eighteenth Judicial District Court (1982–1992), becoming chief judge in 1990.
Kimball was elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court in November 1992 and was sworn in as an associate justice on December 31, 1992, becoming the first woman to serve on the state’s highest court. In January 2009 she became the court’s twenty-fourth chief justice, the first woman to hold that position.
In 2006 Kimball won the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Distinguished Jurist Award and was inducted into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum Hall of Fame in 2011. Throughout her career, Kimball served on or chaired committees with influential and important work, such as the Southeast Louisiana Criminal Justice Recovery Task Force. In honor of her work as an active child advocate, she received the 2002 Louisiana Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association President’s Award, the 2003 CASA Ambassador for Children Award, the 2009 Louisiana CASA Association Judge of the Year Award, and the 2010 Louisiana Champion of Juvenile Justice Award.
Kimball suffered a stroke in January 2010 and was hospitalized for five weeks. She returned to the Louisiana Supreme Court bench in December of that year. She retired on January 31, 2013.
Kimball is married to Clyde Kimball, a former state representative and deputy secretary of the state department of wildlife and fisheries.
Cite This Entry
Chicago Manual of Style
Childs, Miriam. "Catherine D. Kimball." In KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010–. Article published November 13, 2014. http://www.knowla.org/entry/706/&view=summary.
Childs, Miriam. "Catherine D. Kimball." KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 13 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.