• 63°

Vidalia Convention Center turned into makeshift courtroom

VIDALIA — Visitors at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center are sure to scratch their heads when they enter the doors at the front of the building for the next three weeks.

Since Tuesday, the convention center has been transformed into a courtroom to host a Catahoula Parish civil court case.

With chairs and podiums aligned just like they would be in court, the convention center has signs leading to the back of the building letting regular visitors know there is a trial.

Retired district judge Glen Strong was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to rule over the case.

Strong said a gag order is in place for the case, which involves a landowner suing multiple oil companies over environmental damage done to his property over the course of many years.

Strong said the case was originally to be tried in court in Harrisonburg, but due to numerous reasons, the move to the convention center in Vidalia was made.

“They have court in the other courthouses,” he said. “They would have had to suspend the other court business for three weeks.”

Strong also said a lack of hotels in Harrisonburg’s prompted the switch.

“All but two of the attorneys are from out of the area,” he said. “There was no place for them to stay there, so this was a convenience for them.”

The convention center’s technology and amenities were another factor in having the trial in Vidalia, Strong said.

“There are thousands of pages of documents as evidence for this trial, and they wanted to present them all on slides,” he said. “They are using the convention center’s computers and monitors to put it up on the screen so the jury doesn’t have to go through the pages individually.”

Strong said Harrisonburg court also did not have enough capacity in the courtroom to hold everyone and there was were not enough electrical outlets for the trial.

Strong said the first two days of the trial have started smoothly, and the lack of an official courtroom has not been a problem.

“Everything has worked out really well and the convention center has been very good to everyone,” he said.

Strong said while the trial is scheduled to end in three weeks, it could last longer, depending on how things go.

The convention center is still open to the public, because the trial is only taking place in one of the convention center’s rooms.

BREAKING NEWS

Hank Williams Jr. to play Natchez 4th of July Celebration

News

Law officials arrest 3 in connection with automobile burglaries

News

Master Gardners host spring plant sale at Co-Lin

News

Security officer enjoys building relationships with students

Business

Jobs everywhere but few workers to fill them

Business

Natchez artist opens mobile-making studio amid pandemic

News

Concordia Parish jury finds Clayton man guilty in killing of his wife, 12-year-old boy

News

International investors from India visit Natchez on economic development trip

News

Donations of items needed for 3rd Gayrage Sale

News

City approves final lease for historic train depot on Broadway Street

News

Lt. Gov. Hosemann addresses American Rescue funds in Natchez, Adams County

Business

Hosemann won’t close door to Medicaid expansion in Mississippi

News

Natchez Euro Fest moved to Sunday due to weather

News

Local resident takes photo of lightning strike behind Mississippi River bridges

News

Firefighters work house fire on Rankin Street Tuesday night

News

ACCS Drama Club to perform Aladdin Saturday

News

CPSB names candidates for Superintendent of parish schools

News

Police investigating shooting on Bishop Street

News

Thomas named STAR Student at NHS, chooses Coach Haywood as STAR Teacher

News

Library closes for renovations

News

Adams County man arrested for alleged sex crime with juvenile

News

Master Gardener plant sale April 17 at Co-Lin

News

Harriss keeps active

News

Cemetery restoration workshop comes to Natchez Wednesday