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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Cajun Court TV

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Rajin’ Cajun committed to doing the right thing

Jacqueline Scott is a real-life attorney. Her billboards are familiar along major roadways in the area featuring a picture of the barrister, including her signature white pearls and the encouragement to “Make them pay.”

But she has another life as well, presiding over a television courtroom where she hands down decisions as Judge Jaque.

“I started this show after watching Judge Wapner [“The People’s Court”]. He was the first personality court TV show,” Scott explained. Her mother, who worked with special needs children at the Alexander School in Shreveport, developed a serious illness in her later years and spent a lot of time at home watching daytime television. Scott said that after her day in court, she would go by her mother’s home and sit with her.

“She’d be watching Judge Wapner. She might be sick, but Judge Wapner was on.

“I asked her, ‘Why are you watching that? That’s not how we do in court,’ but she wouldn’t turn.”

She said she began watching and listening with her mother. “I had no choice,” she said. She discovered that Wapner was doling out moral lessons that reminded Scott of the kind of lessons her own mother had given her.

“[My mother] was always advising people within the community. Any kind of problem they might have, they would turn to her for advice or guidance, and she would always give solid advice.”

On one episode of “The People’s Court,” Wapner had a case of two sisters fighting about property. Scott said Wapner told the siblings what they’re fighting over is stuff. It doesn’t matter. Family is all you have and need. Scott said that really resonated with her. She began to watch the program more closely, and it spawned an idea for a local version. “I wanted to be an instrument and give moral lessons, and I wanted to do it through a court TV show.”

She decided on the “Cajun Court” TV name because she is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a Ragin’ Cajun.

“The thing is, I did it myself, and now I’m looking for the opportunity for the community to back me up. It’s not the best show, but it’s a start. You have a dream, and you have to start somewhere, and you can’t let people put you down. I’m not Judge Judy. I don’t want to be calling people stupid. I really want to be an instrument.”

The show started four years ago and airs on My45 from 5 to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. It also airs at midnight following “Saturday Night Live” on NBC6. During the pandemic, and thanks to its restrictions, Scott said they have been running a series of reruns, but production is slated to resume in early June, and the new episodes will begin to air in the fall.

“At first, we started [taping] at Huntington High School in their courtroom. Then we went to the Chamber [of Commerce building]. When the movie industry was here, they had set it up as a courtroom, so we filmed there. Then we were doing it at SRAC. But we’re in the process of having our own building.

“I don’t know where it’s going, but I am just going to work hard to continue until I really get on the map.”

The program currently airs on stations in Longview, Natchitoches and Oklahoma, according to Scott and is doing well in the ratings. It’s also available on YouTube.

There’s a Facebook page for the show that includes the opportunity for people to sign up to be litigants on a future show. The link is https://cajuncourttv. com/submit-case.

According to the site, “Jacqueline Scott is a certified mediator for ‘Cajun Court’ and not a Louisiana state court judge but will attempt to settle your disputes in her capacity as a mediator.”

There is a form on the site that interested parties can fill out to have their situations considered for a future episode.

“In the fall, we’re going to have a ‘Be Remarkable’ segment,” Scott said, “where you can nominate someone who’s done something good within the community. Maybe a kid who stopped a fight. Or a grown person in the community trying to stop the violence.”

Scott feels strongly about her calling to be an instrument, as she calls it.

“There’s no need for us to fight as family members. Because at the end of the day, life is short. All we have is God and our family. I want to be able to bring all that stuff to the forefront and just make people think about their action, and that’s basically what it’s all about. The main thing for me, this world is basically upside down, and I want to be the instrument, a catalyst for people doing the right thing. That’s how it all came about because of my mom.”

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