Judge James Brady: A Man Apart

By Robert Mann

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ―Shannon L. Alder

U.S. District Judge James Brady, who died on Saturday after a brief illness, was the rarest of persons in politics and the law. I knew him for more than 30 years and I cannot recall him speaking a harsh or uncharitable word about another person.

Ever.

Imagine going through life without indulging in such talk. I can’t do it for a week or, sometimes, more than a day.Brady

Now, imagine spending decades working in the law and politics — leading a state political party, no less — and conducting yourself like that.

Imagine devoting yourself to public affairs and being devoid of personal animus toward other people.  

Think about how few people in your life you could describe as such. I know a few, but not many. I know even fewer in politics, in which the coin of the realm is, too often, personal insults, denigrating statements and the airing of petty grievances.

Jim Brady was a man apart. I almost asserted “he was among the best of a bygone era during which politics was not governed by such dark impulses.” Then, I remembered, there never was such an era in American or Louisiana politics.

It was not some golden era that has passed.

Rather, it is Jim Brady — a rare individual, exceedingly modest and compassionate and generous to a fault — who has passed.

Everyone who knew Jim has a story — or many stories — about his kind and thoughtful ways. Jim treated everyone with dignity and respect.

He was one of the most thoughtful and considerate people I knew. Hardly six weeks went by Jim didn’t call to compliment me about something — a column, a radio appearance, some minor distinction that few in my life, but Jim, took note of.

He not only noticed; he also called. And after each phone call from Jim, I thought: I wish I were more like that — thoughtful, caring and taking the time to make a call.

And here’s the thing: I know I was only one among dozens of friends who received phone calls like that.

Jim Brady gave his friendship — and did not request anything in return.

I know many generous people. I know many thoughtful people. I know many compassionate people. I know many people who are ethical to a fault and faithful to their families and friends. Jim Brady was that person in my life who represented the best balance of those fine qualities and more.

He was simply, as one of his good friends told me this morning, “the best.”

Rest in peace, friend.

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13 Responses to Judge James Brady: A Man Apart

  1. What a wonderful tribute, Bob, and an appropriate reminder for us to strive for a higher standard in our dealings with other. Well done.

    Like

  2. Reg Keogh says:

    He was a great jurist and a great and considerate man. Glad I got to know him and sorry for his passing. Yes more attorneys and judges should emulate him.

    Like

  3. MiltonOurso says:

    Quite the tribute to an amazing guy. Your written words, though maybe not intended to be so, should be a dose of inspiration to everyone. I felt inspired reading the article, and knowing Jim made it very special. Thanks

    Like

  4. chandrews1965@gmail.com says:

    Beautiful tribute, Bob. Thanks.

    Chris

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    • marylouise prudhomme says:

      Bob / thank you for writing from your
      heart and expressing what words can not capture
      unless you are Robert Mann.
      “You” are the Best and I am forever grateful
      for you – just like Jim.

      Like

    • marylouise prudhomme says:

      Bob / thank you for writing from your
      heart and expressing what words can not capture
      unless you are Robert Mann.
      “You” are the Best and I am forever grateful
      for you – just like Jim.

      Last one was incomplete so here I go again

      Like

  5. Rogers Prestridge says:

    Bob, what a wonderful tribute to a fine gentleman. Thanks. Mickey

    On Sat, Dec 9, 2017 at 8:12 PM, Something Like the Truth wrote:

    > rtmannjr posted: “By Robert Mann “Carve your name on hearts, not > tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories > they share about you.” ―Shannon L. Alder U.S. District Judge James Brady, > who died on Saturday after a brief illness, was the rarest o” >

    Like

  6. Michael Wade says:

    What a fine tribute to a man who obviously warranted it. Thanks.

    Like

  7. Eric Cochran says:

    Very well said. I clerked for the Judge almost a decade ago and have been friends ever since. Through calls and texts, he always reached out to keep that friendship strong.

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  8. Joe Traigle says:

    Jim was truly an “exceptional “ person. A know nd, gentle soul what made everyone he touched feel like a better person because Jim touched their life. He will be dearly missed.

    Like

  9. Dan Cornett says:

    You could not not have said it better,He was a prince of fellow and more than worthy fellow advocate.Jim could send you the most uplifting, funny and observant letters to stir you up and get you going. The Good Lord broke the mold when he made JIm. Prayers for his family and loved ones.

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  10. Colin Brady says:

    Thank you Mr. Mann for your wonderful tribute to my brother Jim ! He was a rare individual to many but to me he was my BIG brother who loved me for me without any reservations.Can’t beat that !

    Like

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