FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN COURT REPORTER IN NOLA TO RETIRE.
43 years ago, Daryl Duplessie became the first modern day African American court reporter in New Orleans. She was the first black court reporter to use a stenograph machine and broke boundaries for others wanting to be in the industry.
“I guess I never thought about it, in certain respects, as being the first. The first ever of this or the first ever of that because first of all in the job the responsibilities come first,” says Duplessie.
Duplessie started her career at the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court on May 9, 1973. Nearly 43 years later, Duplessie has worked in every section of the courthouses in New Orleans.
Duplessie was Born in 1953 in Algiers, New Orleans. Duplessie was raised in Westwego, Louisiana and she attended Lincoln High School and L.W. Higgins High School. After graduating in 1971, Duplessie worked a summer job at the Westwego Police Department. Because of her experience working at the police department, Duplessie gained an interest in criminal justice.
Money was scarce, Duplessie’s father had passed away when she was 5-years-old and she was one of seven children. Despite it all, her mother managed to take out a $250 loan to buy Duplessie her first stenograph machine.
Duplessie finished her degree in two years taking night courses while also working jobs to earn extra money. Upon graduating, she quickly got hired as a temporary stenographer in magistrate court and it has been history ever since.
Despite accomplishing so much, Duplessie stays humble while inspiring others.
“When I started out in the building as an Assistant District Attorney there was only one black female judge on the bench, now it’s three of us. There were only two females, and now there’s six of us. So it definitely was an inspiration and it just goes to show any female that women can do whatever it is you want to do,” says Judge Robin D. Pittman who has worked with Duplessie since 2009.
Feeling as if her life has come full circle, Daryl Duplessie is retiring on December 31st. Duplessie plans to focus on family and new goals. Duplessie says “it’s never been about breaking boundaries; just the opportunity has been a blessing.”