February Spotlight, Rhonda Goode-Douglas, Merry Mac of 1988

In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you are doing now?
 
The educational foundation that I received at Ursuline Academy prepared me to be a leader. From my first day on campus until graduation day, my teachers instilled in me the ability to meet every challenge head on. I was taught the value of working hard to reap the benefits of that work. One of the most important skills that I learned was public speaking. The time that I spent in Mrs. Nolan’s speech and drama classes and on Student Council was the beginning stages of my career in public service. As an advocate in the courtroom, and now as an elected official, I had to use my voice. Although I was very shy when I entered Ursuline, my confidence level grew each year as student. Our teachers challenged us to be the best students that we could be. They also taught us the value of speaking up and speaking out when we saw that something was improper or wrong. I have utilized these skills throughout my entire career as an attorney and will continue to do so as a judge. 
 
Please describe the most significant value you learned from Ursuline Academy.
 
The most significant value that I learned at Ursuline Academy is Serviam.  Luke 12:48 “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded” is one of my favorite Bible verses. My love for giving back to the community began at Ursuline Academy. While enrolled at Tulane University, I continued that love of service as one of the founding members of the Omicron Psi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is dedicated to implementing programs of service that enhance the local, national, and international communities. Being an active member of the sorority gave me an opportunity to serve the greater New Orleans area while in College. I have continued my membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha and I am currently a Life member of the sorority. After my graduation from law school, I began my career in public service and continue to serve as a community servant as an election official. Throughout my career, I have mentored young girls and boys, raised awareness and chaired fundraisers for women’s health issues, as well as participated in fundraising for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I am also actively involved in other organizations dedicated to serving the community including Jack and Jill of America Inc. and the Links Incorporated. I also proudly chaired the Serviam Drive several years ago!
 
Describe Ursuline in one word. Explain
 
Home. Every time I drive by the campus on State Street or walk through the Date Doors to enter the high school, I am flooded with the fondest memories of my teenage years. I remember touring Ursuline in eighth grade and I instantly knew that Ursuline was the school for me. The Merry Macs of 1988 were a very special class and I feel blessed to have been a part of this class. I am still very close to many of my high school classmates and treasure those relationships. The foundation that I received at Ursuline has grounded me and is an integral part of the woman that I am today.  

About Rhonda Goode-Douglas

The Honorable Rhonda Goode-Douglas is a native New Orleanian who is passionate about the New Orleans Saints, Festival Season, and a good piece of king cake. Although she grew up in New Orleans East, she attended high school, college, and law school in the uptown area of New Orleans. She graduated from Ursuline Academy, Tulane University, and Tulane Law School. One of her proudest accomplishments while attending Tulane University, besides graduating, is becoming a founding member of the Omicron Psi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. which brought the first African American Sorority to Tulane's campus. Thirty-one years later, the chapter is still active at Tulane.

After graduating from Tulane Law School, Judge Goode-Douglas moved to the city of Chicago to begin her career as a prosecutor.  She served as an Assistant States’ Attorney in the City of Chicago for six years and prosecuted various crimes that occurred throughout the city.  Eventually the city of New Orleans called Judge Goode-Douglas back home. Upon her return, Judge Goode-Douglas served as a law clerk to the Louisiana Supreme Court in the Central Staff Division. 

In 2003,  Judge Goode-Douglas began her career as a prosecutor in the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office. She served the citizens of Orleans Parish for 12 and a half years.  During her tenure as an ADA, she prosecuted violent crimes as well as contractors who defrauded Hurricane Katrina victims. In 2013, Judge Goode-Douglas was proudly awarded the Outstanding Prosecutor Award by the Citizens and Victims Against Crime for her tireless work on behalf of the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office. Judge Goode-Douglas also served in the Jefferson Parish District Attorneys' Office for two years. After leaving the JPDA, Judge Goode-Douglas litigated environmental law matters at Blue Williams, L.L.P. Judge Goode-Douglas also served as In-House Council at Allstate Insurance Company and the Department of Homeland Security.

On November 3, 2020, Judge Goode-Douglas was elected to serve the citizens of Orleans Parish as a judge in Criminal District Court, Section E. She was sworn in less than a month later to begin her service to the City of New Orleans. Judge Goode-Douglas has already established a Drug Court Program in Section E with the goal of aiding those with long term substance abuse addictions into recovery.

Judge Goode-Douglas is a member of the Martinet Bar Association,  The New Orleans Bar Association, and the Louisiana State Bar Association.  She is also a Life member of the Omicron Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She is the current President of the The New Orleans Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. as well as the South Central Regional Policies and Procedure Chair of  Jack And Jill of America inc,  She is also a member of The New Orleans (La) Chapter of the Links Inc. In each organization, Judge Goode-Douglas actively engages in mentoring young girls and boys and raises awareness for women’s health issues.

Judge Goode-Douglas has been married for 20 years to her husband, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Terry Douglas. Judge Goode-Douglas states her most important accomplishment is being mom to 13 year old Reese and bonus son, Colin. 
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