A reception is being held today in New Orleans to celebration Judge James F. McKay III’s appointment to the position of Honorary Consul General of Ireland in the state of Louisiana.
McKay is widely known for his leadership and service to the Irish community in New Orleans. He is currently president of the American Judges Association and National Treasurer of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.
His great passion is the preservation of Irish culture in New Orleans. He has long been associated with the St Patrick’s Day parade and has helped to erect the city’s first monument to thousands of Irish immigrants who died of yellow fever, malaria, cholera, occupational hazards, and exhaustion while digging the New Basin Canal in 1831 to link Lake Pontchartrain to the inner city.
A native of New Orleans, McKay was educated by the Carmelite Sisters and the Christian Brothers and he remains active within the church and the Knights of Columbus.
Since 2000 McKay has been the President of the Fireman’s Charitable and Benevolent Association, an association that cares for the widow and children of volunteer firefights who have died in the line of duty.
The association now has two cemeteries, a mausoleum, funeral home, and corporate offices. Much of their properties were devastated during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but have rebounded as a result of McKay’s help.
In 1998 McKay was elected to the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. He served as judge at Criminal District Court in Orleans Parish from 1982 to 1998. He has also served as Chief Prosecutor for the Metropolitan Office of the State Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney for Orleans Parish.
Over the years McKay has also been a distinguished member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians at the national level. He served as the National Chairman of the 94th National Convention and was elected the National Treasurer of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 2008.