News Detail - Alumnae

November Alumnae Spotlight, Hon. Nancy Amato Konrad, Skip of 1959

In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now? 
After graduation I entered the private practice of law. Seventeen years later and for the next thirty-three years I served as a Juvenile Court Judge. My entire career was centered on serving others. Serviam constantly played in my head, in my heart, and in my life. I served others in the practice of law, in judging cases in the courtroom, and in serving Louisiana's children in projects aimed at improving the juvenile justice system. The Ursuline nuns had done their job very well indelibly impressing Serviam on all of us at Ursuline.
Please describe the most significant value you learned from Ursuline Academy.
I don't think I could ever have traveled the road I followed without the values my parents instilled in me and the five other Amato children. These values were reinforced by the nuns every day in every class; discipline, courage, perseverance, character and most importantly faith. Faith being the most important. Without faith I could never have attempted any of the many statewide initiatives I worked on for Louisiana's children during my years on the bench.
Describe Ursuline in one word. Explain.
Home. The Academy and the Shrine always feel like home whenever I return.

Honorable Nancy Amato Konrad 1959 has been chosen by the Ursuline Alumnae Association of New Orleans, with the approval of the Academy President and the Ursuline Sisters, to be the 2017 Ursuline Distinguished Alumna. This award is annually bestowed upon a graduate of Ursuline Academy or Ursuline College of New Orleans who demonstrates the core values and ideals of an Ursuline education in all aspects of her life. Since 1986, 49 women have received this honor, making it one of Ursuline’s most prestigious awards.

Judge Konrad attended Ursuline Academy for 12 years and graduated as a Skipperette of 1959. During her time at Ursuline, she was Student Body President. After graduating from Ursuline, she attended Loyola University New Orleans where she received both a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Juris Doctorate. While at Loyola, she was a member of Phi Phi Phi Sorority, Loyola Law Review Assistant, National Moot Court Team Assistant, and was a recipient of awards in Admiralty, Civil Procedure, and Legal Ethics. Judge Konrad began her law career through private practice where she served for 15 years before joining Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court. She served in Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court for nearly 33 years before retiring. Judge Konrad is the first woman elected to a parish-wide office and the bench in Jefferson Parish.

One of her most significant accomplishments during her judicial career was the implementation of the Louisiana Children’s Code Project. She was the chairperson of the committee that compiled and rewrote all substantive and procedural laws affecting the juvenile court jurisdiction. The Project spanned almost five years and involved the work of 65 diverse professionals from around the state who committed over 15,000 volunteer hours to codify the laws affecting Louisiana’s children. The charge of the Louisiana Children’s Code Project was to construct a comprehensive code from an assortment of laws scattered through 89 separate titles and codes, resolve ambiguities and conflicts in the existing law, and revise these laws when necessary to bring Louisiana statutes in conformity with state and federal constitutional decisions and regulations. The Code was passed into law in 1991. The Code continues to be revised. In fact, Judge Konrad still serves on the Children’s Code Revision Committee of the Louisiana Law Institute. Other notable contributions include being one of two Louisiana courts selected by the Louisiana Supreme Court to pilot a program for citizen review of foster care. Judge Konrad was the Co-Lead Judge of the Louisiana Task Force for Foster Care Reform. She was also the chairperson of the Juvenile Judges’ Benchbook Committee which published a book in 1985 to organize all existing substantive and procedural juvenile law into a one-volume reference for use by all judges in the juvenile jurisdiction in the State of Louisiana. She also served on the Louisiana Children’s Cabinet. Because of her extensive work in juvenile justice and the reform initiative, she was recognized by the Louisiana State Bar Foundation as its 2004 Distinguished Jurist.

In addition to her many accomplishments, Judge Konrad has had much community involvement including: former Chairperson of Ursuline Academy’s Board of Trustees, former member of Loyola University New Orleans’ Alumni Board, Emeritus member of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, former Board Member of Stop Child Abuse & Neglect, former Board Member of YWCA Crisis Care Center, former Board Member of Coliseum Medical Center, former Advisory Board Member of A Child’s Wish of Greater New Orleans and a former Board Member of the Ronald McDonald House. She presently serves on the Jefferson Parish Children & Youth Planning Board and is a member of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council. As for her professional involvement, she has been involved with the Louisiana State Bar Association, Jefferson Parish Bar Association, American Bar Association, Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity, American Judges Association, National Association of Women Judges, Louisiana Association of Elected Women and the Loyola University New Orleans Law Visiting Committee. In 1992, she was awarded the 17th annual Adjutor Hominum Award by Loyola University New Orleans President’s Council, the highest honor bestowed by their Alumni Association.

While giving of herself both to her career and numerous organizations, Nancy’s sense of Serviam and her love for her Alma Mater remain steadfast. Joan Gisevius Johnson ’61, a friend and fellow Distinguished Alumna, describes Nancy as “one of the most loyal members of her class. She can be counted on to attend all activities and to support Ursuline in everything.” Her devotion to both her faith and to Our Lady of Prompt Succor has given her the strength and wisdom to carry out such an important role as Juvenile Judge. Madeleine Simmons Blessey ’59, a classmate, feels that “she always dealt with difficult situations in a fair, even-handed manner, calling upon her knowledge of the law while exercising her steady judicial temperament, with a spine of steel and yet a heart of gold. Nancy Amato Konrad is a person of knowledge, wisdom, and great humanity.” Her professionalism and passion have impacted many lives throughout her career. She has had a positive influence on many people, especially children. Another classmate, Kathleen O’Donnell Gendusa ’59 says, “She has always been a loving and caring woman and has helped many people to find a better life for themselves.” She embodies the Ursuline ideals of courtesy, loyalty, and courage in all aspects of her life. Ursuline Academy of New Orleans is proud to call Honorable Nancy Amato Konrad a Distinguished Alumna.