Barnette, Chris Thomas, 1905-1982
Chris Thomas Barnette (1905-1982) of Shreveport, Louisiana, served as a judge whose career is
associated with laws related to juvenile courts, juvenile institutions, and adoptions.
Barnette was born in Arcadia, Louisiana. He is the son of William Chappelle Barnette (1875-1939) and Eula Yarborough Barnette (1876-1960). His father, William Barnette, worked as a lawyer and district attorney in Arcadia, then was elected district judge of Claibourne and Bienville parishes in 1912. In 1915, the family moved to Shreveport, where William Barnette worked as a lawyer, then served as Caddo Parish juvenile court judge from 1932 to 1939. A charter member of the Shreveport Kiwanis Club, Barnette served as the first president in 1921.
Chris Barnette graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana in 1925 and attended law school classes at Louisiana State University and Tulane University. Prior to graduation from law school, he qualified to take the Louisiana bar examination. He was admitted to the bar in January 1928 and began practicing law in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1936, he formed the law practice Barnette and Barnette with his brother, Leslie Yarborough Barnette (1902-1957).
From 1939 to 1964, Barnette served as Caddo Parish juvenile court judge; he was initially appointed to complete the term of his deceased father. In the late 1950s, he led a campaign to construct a new Caddo Parish Juvenile Court building. Barnette’s judicial positions also included: the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans (1964-1971), the Louisiana Fourth Judicial District, the Louisiana First Judicial District, the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge (1974), and the Louisiana Twenty-Second Judicial Court in Saint Tammany and Washington Parishes (1976-1977). Barnette served as president of the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges (1953-1954), chairman of the board of trustees of the National Juvenile Court Foundation, and chairman of the Louisiana Youth Commission.
Barnette was also active in religious and civic organizations. His involvement in the United Methodist Church included serving as administrative board member of Noel Memorial United Methodist Church (Shreveport, La.) and board member of the Methodist Children’s Home (Ruston, La.). In 1962, he was awarded “Outstanding Layman of the Year” by the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church. Barnette’s civic memberships included the Shreveport Kiwanis Club (serving as president in 1943) and the Shreveport Optimist Club.
Throughout his life, Barnette maintained connections with his alma mater, Centenary College of Louisiana. He served as president of the Alumni Association (1937-1938) and was a member of the board of trustees (1939-1952). In 1971, he was named to the college’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
In 1929, Chris Barnette married Emily Sue Cupples (1908-2000). They had three daughters: Ruth Ann Barnette Pierce, Jane Barnette Hancock, Clara Sue Barnette Watts.