NEW ORLEANS – The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana announced today that Alanah Odoms Hebert, a leading civil rights attorney and advocate for children and families, will take the helm as the organization’s executive director, as of June 4. Odoms Hebert previously served as the Director of the Division of Children and Families at the Louisiana Supreme Court, as Deputy General Counsel of the Supreme Court, and as special counsel to Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice, Bernette J. Johnson.
Reflecting on the work ahead, Odoms Hebert said:
“For 62 years, the ACLU of Louisiana has been the state’s guardian of liberty: taking on the toughest challenges, confronting injustice and oppression, and daring to create a more perfect union. Now, a groundswell of grassroots activism and civic engagement is making the ACLU of Louisiana an even more powerful force for positive change.
As a civil rights attorney and as a woman of color, I am deeply honored to be joining an organization that fiercely defends our most fundamental rights, especially on behalf of vulnerable communities. Through my work at the Louisiana Supreme Court and with the Justice Reinvestment Task Force, I’ve seen firsthand how the justice system often harms the very communities it ought to protect – fueling a mass incarceration crisis with staggering human costs and stark racial disparities. So, for me, this is personal. Joining the team of dedicated freedom fighters at the ACLU is the opportunity of a lifetime to stand on the shoulders of giants and help build a more just and equitable future for all.”
As the Director of the Division of Children and Families at the Louisiana Supreme Court, Odoms Hebert worked to protect the rights of children and families in child welfare proceedings, and of young people involved in the criminal justice system. She also serves as Chair of the statewide effort to reduce incarceration of children through the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). In 2018, Alanah was selected for the prestigious Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a partnership between the George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, and George Bush presidential centers. One of 58 leaders recognized for her commitment to solving our nation’s most pressing problems, Alanah’s personal leadership project in conjunction with the program will focus on reducing pretrial detention of youth in Louisiana.
In 2016, Odoms Hebert was appointed to serve as special counsel to the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force, a bipartisan team that developed the recommendations behind Louisiana’s historic package of criminal justice reforms passed the following year. Recognizing the need to have directly impacted community members at the table, she was the architect of a series of listening sessions which allowed Louisiana citizens from across the state to address members of the task force.
“Alanah is an accomplished leader and advocate who has dedicated her career to advancing the cause of justice and protecting the rights of our most vulnerable communities,” said ACLU of Louisiana Board President Jared Frank. “Alanah’s compassion, intellect, and commitment to civil rights and civil liberties have already made a lasting impact on thousands of Louisianans, especially those who come into contact with the criminal justice system. This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the ACLU of Louisiana as we continue to work to advance and preserve the rights guaranteed by the Constitution to every Louisianan.”
From 2013-2017, Odoms Hebert served as the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Deputy General Counsel, as well as the Chief Justice’s policy advisor on criminal and juvenile justice policy. Her work has included advocacy to support the establishment of a truancy center in Orleans Parish, the campaign to end indiscriminate shackling of juveniles in court, and the revision of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Articles on post-conviction.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Odoms Hebert worked as an associate at the law firm Gauthier, Houghtaling and Williams LLP, where she was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2013, and as an assistant district attorney in Orleans Parish.
She currently teaches at Tulane Law School, as an adjunct lecturer in Negotiation and Mediation Advocacy. Odoms Hebert is a graduate of Rutgers School of Law- Newark and a Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers College in New Jersey.