Kaliste Saloom Jr.

The death of Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr., for decades a familiar figure in Lafayette city government, marks a milestone for the city that he and his extended family have helped lead for a century.

The city judge for decades who died at 99 was also a historian of Lafayette and the living repository of the community’s stories.

As a 1939 graduate of SLI, UL’s first incarnation, he also was a graduate of Tulane Law School before his service in World War II. He later served the university in many volunteer capacities.

He knew, as University of Louisiana President Joseph Savoie recalled, not only the history but the context of what happened decades ago. “He not only knew the facts of history, but the nuances behind the facts,” Savoie said.

Every community needs that kind of wise witness to its history.

The judge was respected and set an example for service among the large community of immigrants from Lebanon who have made such a mark in Lafayette’s history over the last century.