More than three years after Hurricane Ike destroyed the courtroom and offices of Orange County Justice of the Peace of Precinct 3 Janice Menard, she was moved into her new building Monday.

“It’s wonderful, finally. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s worth it,” said Menard. They had spent the last three years in temporary quarters of a small trailer. “We were cramped,” she said. Menard is very happy with the new offices. “It’s so nice, so very nice.”

The new building is a major improvement over the one destroyed by the storm. “When I went to work for the JP office there were folding chairs for the jurors and then we got theater seats out of the old Bridge Theater,” said Menard. “You had to be careful, because once you stood up they folded back up.”

She said after Flo Edgerly was in office about ten years they got church pews out of one of the local churches. “They were cushioned and very nice, but you could only seat your 12 jurors and maybe 8 spectators. This way we’re going to be able to seat a little more.”

She held court Monday while the moving process was in progress. “I had four evictions. Things go on.”

Menard kept her gavel from the old office even though it has some water damage on the handle. It was a gift from John Tarver and his wife, Dena, when Judge Menard was sworn in. “John Tarver was married to my daughter a year, before she passed away. He’s like a son to me.”

“I salvaged some things, like the mirror I had hanging on the wall. The back of it, you can tell it got wet. Most of my pictures did get wet. I can take them out of the frames, but I cannot take the glass away because the picture is stuck to the glass. I would like to hang the previous JPs in this courtroom, that’s what I plan to do.”

Menard and her staff are still unpacking and finding a home for belongings, but they are very happy with their new home in front of the Orange County Airport on Texas 87.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.