Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr., a visionary who helped Lafayette realize its potential, has died at age 99, according to a Facebook post from his son:
“It is with a heavy heart to post that my father passed away peacefully this evening. He lived a wonderful 99+ years, and leaves an indelible mark not only on his family but this community. I am proud he called me his son and I, my father, to carry his name. Love.”
The message was posted to Facebook early Sunday morning.
We will continue to update as more details become available.
Below is a story published by The Daily Advertiser in 2013 celebrating Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr.’s life:
Those who know him best call him a living historian, an empathetic yet stern man who is one of the brightest Lafayette has ever seen.
He’s a man who remembers well The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, a veteran who helped to capture a two-star Nazi general in World War II, who protected British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill during wartime.
He’s a visionary who saw potential not only for Lafayette’s people but for its then-corrupt city court.
And while every Lafayette resident well knows the name Kaliste Saloom — if for no other reason than for the roadway — some don’t know much about the retired judge who recently celebrated his 95th birthday.
Judge Kaliste Saloom Jr. now lives a quiet life with his wife, Yvonne, in their quaint Lafayette home in Bendel Gardens, but he’s still one of the city’s greatest advocates.
Oh, and he’s actually not the person the Lafayette road was named for.
Born the fifth of seven children to Lebanese immigrants Kaliste and Asma Boustany Saloom, Kaliste Saloom Jr. learned quickly the hardships life could bring.
His father died in 1925 when he was only 6 years old. Four years later, The Great Depression devastated the world’s economy, greatly affecting the impressionable youth.
His mother, a businesswoman who owned an apparel store called Saloom’s, pushed her three boys to study professions that could support a family, such as medicine and law.
Kaliste Saloom Jr.’s older and younger brothers chose the medical profession, but he chose the legal profession.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in arts in 1939 from the Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Kaliste Saloom Jr. pursued his law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.