The Honorable James L. Cannella, former Jefferson Parish Judge and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal Judge, was surrounded by loving family as he passed away peacefully at the age of 76 years old Friday, May 22, 2020.
Born in New Orleans, Judge Cannella was the son of Alvin and Lorraine Cannella. He is survived by his dedicated wife of 52 years, Nancy Christy Cannella, his three children, Christy Cannella Negrotto (Joel), James L. Cannella, Jr. (Jennifer) and David Ryan Cannella (Karen); and the seven grandchildren who brought him abundant joy: Stephen, Peter, Seth, Valerie, Claire, Spencer and Dereck. Jim is also survived by three proud and adoring sisters, Jean, Janice, and Ellen, their spouses and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Jim Cannella graduated from Jesuit High School in New Orleans in 1961, earned his Bachelor of Science degree from LSUNO in 1964, and received his Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola University Law School in 1967. He began his legal career with the law firm of Exnicios & Kelly and became a partner in the Metairie firm of Donelon, Cannella and Donelon.
In 1982, Jim was elected to the Jefferson Parish 24th Judicial District Court. He served there as Judge of Division N and became Chief Judge. He rose to the higher Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in 1992, where he presided over cases from the district court in four parishes. Upon retiring in 2006, he was asked to serve as City Attorney in Kenner to restore stability and confidence into the office. One year later, upon completing his objectives, Jim retired for good.
After retiring, Judge Cannella continued to sharpen his legal skills serving ad hoc on numerous cases. He was a member of the American Bar Association, the Louisiana Bar Association, the Jefferson Bar Association, the John C. Boutall American Inns of Court, an alumnus of the National Judicial College, and the Christian Legal Society.
Judge Jim Cannella’s legacy in law can only be overshadowed by his humanity. He was a man of a great faith who cherished family and believed in promoting family values. Jim was an Elder and Trustee of Word of Faith Church in New Orleans under Pastor Charles Green, and continued his service under Pastor and close friend Michael Green. Judge Cannella helped form annual prayer breakfasts in Kenner and Jefferson Parish, and he presided over Bible studies for lawyers and business leaders. With Nancy at his side, Jim enjoyed counseling and comforting those who were married and helping couples overcome the challenges of everyday life.
An avid LSU Tiger fan, Jim subscribed to the belief that “it never rains in Tiger Stadium.” He relished family vacations, but especially those that included attending an LSU football away game against a longtime rival or NCAA powerhouse.
The Cannella family extends its heartfelt thanks to the many friends and family members who brought a smile and comfort to Jim and Nancy in his final days as they visited, called, or reached out to show their love.
Services will be held on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at the Pontchartrain Center, 4545 Williams Blvd., Kenner, Louisiana 70065. Visitation will begin at 11:00 a.m. and run through 1:00 p.m. Attendees should wear masks and briefly share condolences. A private memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. with private interment to follow immediately after at the Garden of Memories Cemetery, 4900 Airline Drive, Metairie, Louisiana 70001. To send flowers or leave condolences please visit www.gardenofmemoriesmetairie.com
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