Judge Peter Garcia died Tuesday afternoon after a brief illness. Garcia, who was elected to the Division D judgeship of the 22nd Judicial District Court in 1996, helped launch specialty courts in the area, including a drug court that allows non-violent offenders to receive support while on probation. NAMI, and other local organizations, had recognized Garcia for his work with behavioral health, including work with addictive and mental health disorders. He was also one of the main proponents behind Safe Haven, a mental health group on the grounds of the former Southeast Louisiana Hospital.
Parish President Mike Cooper was one of many expressing condolences. His statement is below.
“It is truly a sad day for our community. We have lost a great public servant. Judge Garcia and I have been lifelong friends since we attended the third grade at St. Peter’s school in Covington. We graduated from St. Paul’s together — class of 1971. Like me, he chose to stay in Covington and St. Tammany to work, and raise his family. We supported each other in our respective careers and political endeavors. He started one of the first Drug Courts in our state over 20 years ago. He literally helped to change people’s lives. He was instrumental in bringing the 22nd JDC into St. Tammany Parish Government’s Safe Haven project. I know our entire community will miss his quiet but deliberate way of making enormous impacts that helped so many. On behalf of Parish Government, and the citizens of St. Tammany, I want to extend my deepest condolences to his family.”