NEWORLEANS-- Judge C. Hearn Taylor, whose years on the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court bench and outspoken nature put him in the spotlight as an advocate for programs aimed at steering children away from a life of crime, died Wednesday.He was 65.
Taylor retired in 2008, after serving for 17 years as a Juvenile Court judge.He was elected chief judge in 2002.
A popular public speaker, civic activist and frequent interview subject, who favored wearing bow ties with his suits, he also wrote and delivered weekly commentaries and made other on-air appearances at WWL-TV's Eyewitness Morning News in the late 1990s.
A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, Taylor came to New Orleans in 1983, setting up a private law practice here before seeking a judgeship in 1991.
In addition to his work in the courts, his community involvement including serving more than 25 boards, committees, organizations and agencies over the years, according to his family.
Over the years, he served as board president of City Park, as well as serving in various capacities with Each One Save One, the Velocity Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, 100 Black Men, and many legal organizations and advisory committees. He also served on the city's Civil Service Commission.
Taylor was a graduate of Southern University Law School and Howard University, where he earned a degree in political science.While in college during the Watergate scandal years he also worked for the Attorney General in Washington, D.C.
In his native Virginia, he was among the first students to desegregate a public high school.Later, he was also the first African-American to work as a law clerk for the U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Louisiana.
He is survived by his wife, Janice, and one daughter.
Funeral arrangements are pending.