A vacant Baton Rouge City Court seat attracted a half-dozen contenders by the end of the three-day qualifying period Friday for the Oct. 14 election, while an open seat on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board lured three candidates.

Vying for the City Court Division E seat vacated by retired Judge Suzan Ponder are lawyers Whitney Higginbotham Greene, Chris Hester, Carson Marcantel, Johnell Matthews, Janice Miller and Judy Moore Vendetto.

In the School Board District 7 race, Brian Adams, Belinda Davis and Michael Gaudet threw their hats into the ring. Gaudet has been holding down the seat since January when the School Board picked him to fill it until the fall election. Former District 7 School Board member Barbara Freiberg was elected to the Metro Council in December.

In the City Court contest, Greene, Hester, Marcantel and Vendetto are Republicans. Matthews and Miller are Democrats.

Greene, the daughter of state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Toni Higginbotham and sister of 19th Judicial District Judge Beau Higginbotham, is on leave from her job as an assistant state attorney general for the duration of the campaign.

Hester, the son of former 19th Judicial District Judge Bob Hester, is also on leave as a prosecutor in the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office.

Marcantel is a criminal defense lawyer; Matthews handles civil law and personal injury cases; Miller has a general legal practice; and Vendetto is the former longtime law clerk for 19th Judicial District Judge Mike Erwin, and the sister of East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III and lawyer Steven Moore.

In the School Board race, Adams and Davis are Democrats, and Gaudet is a Republican.

Adams has worked for Teach For America since 2013 as its director of district and school partnerships, and is vice chairman of Laurel Oaks Charter School.

Davis is an associate political science professor at LSU who came into prominence for her opposition to creating a breakaway school district in southeast Baton Rouge as president of the pro-public school group, One Community, One School District. Gaudet is a former Albemarle executive who has served on the Teach For America board in south Louisiana.


Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.