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Judge Tom Wicker, a Tulane and New Orleans great, has died

February 26, 2021 2:00 PM
Alina Hernandez ahernandez4@tulane.edu

L-R: Law Dean David Meyer with Judge Thomas "Tom" Wicker (L'49) at the Tulane University Alumni Awards Gala in 2019. Wicker received the Scott Cowen Service Award in recognition for his extraordinary leadership and service to Tulane University and the public.


The Hon. Thomas C. Wicker, Jr. lived a life of service: A Naval officer who went into battle in World War II, Assistant U.S. Attorney, district court judge, ad-hoc judge for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Wicker, whose life straddled two centuries that included the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement and the Saints’ only Super Bowl win, died Feb. 24. He was 97. 

During his adventurous life, he was dedicated to Tulane, where he was twice an alumnus, to his community and to his family.

He served as President of the Tulane Alumni Association and of the Tulane Emeritus Club and was a long-time board member of the Tulane Naval ROTC Alumni Association. He was among the pioneering founders the Green Wave Club.

At the Tulane University Alumni Awards Gala in 2019, Law School Dean David Meyer presented Wicker with the Scott Cowen Service Award in recognition for his extraordinary leadership and service to Tulane University and the public.

“Judge Wicker lived his entire life in service to others and was a model of grace and professionalism,” Meyer said. “We could not be prouder of his example and his legacy.”

“There was no more devoted Tulanian than Judge Wicker.”

On the same day Wicker graduated from Tulane with a bachelor’s in business administration in 1944, he was commissioned by the U.S. Navy and assigned to the Lackawanna, a ship that took part in the Hollandia campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the invasion of the Philippines and was among the first to enter Tokyo Bay after the Japanese surrender.

Wicker returned to Tulane after the war, earning his law degree in 1949, and serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Tulane Law Review. He was a strong student, and was named to the Order of the Coif, a scholarly legal society.

After law school, he went on to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New Orleans before launching a private practice. In 1972, Wicker was elected District Judge for Louisiana’s 24th Judicial District, serving Jefferson Parish, becoming the first judge to sit in Division “H.”

In 1985, he was elected to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he served until his retirement. He continued to hear cases as a judge-ad-hoc for the Fifth Circuit as well as for the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Wicker was a leader outside of the law, as well. He was a longtime member of the Sugar Bowl Committee, serving as its president in 1987. He also was a founder of the New Orleans Saints’ Touchdown Club.

A true football fanatic, he was a Tulane football season ticket holder from 1940 until his death and a season ticket holder for the Saints “from the initial kickoff at Tulane Stadium until his grandson could take over the tickets from him,” according to his obituary.

Wicker is survived by his son Thomas Carey Wicker, III (Fredericka); daughter Catherine Wicker West (Thomas); daughter Wendy Frilot Daboval (Daniel); and son James Maitland Frilot (Kim); and numerous grandchildren and extended family.  Judge Fredericka Wicker (L ’77) and her son, Thomas (“T.C.”) Wicker, IV (L ’17) both followed in his footsteps to Tulane Law School.