Position: owner, Waltzer and Associates
family: wife, Toni; and children, Noah, 12, Elias, 9
Education: bachelor’s degree, Boston University; juris doctor,
“Whether he’s representing the eastern New Orleans
Vietnamese community on issues involving state and local
governments or his work as a civil trial lawyer, Joel Waltzer’s
sense of social right and wrong is challenged every day.
“I enjoy the legal challenge and pursuing opportunities to
create a better society or a greater social good,” Waltzer said.
“I like challenges that can make a big impact.”
A more recent challenge was the Chef Menteur landfill.
When Waltzer was removing trash from his flooded Lakeview
home, he wondered what the city had planned for all the
stonn and construction debris. 1llat was when the state and
local governments proposed opening the landfill in eastern
Waltzer was incensed when he learned eastern New
Orleans would become the destination for the city’s storm
waste and debris. Having witnessed the devastation to his
home in Lakeview, Waltzer also did not appreciate that the
landfill could weaken the levee system. He organized the community
and helped lead the effort in pursuing the city and
state on behalf of Citizens for a Strong New Orleans East to
prevent the landfill from opening.
“‘You see something that just doesn’t seem right and you
start to figure out how legally it doesn’t make sense, where
legally officials aren’t doing the right thing. And then legally
you can get them to acknowledge a risk. They (officials)
should realize what is in the best interest of society.”
To recognize the difference between wrong and right and
take action is how Waltzer was raised.
“I was given a sense of socialjustice by my parents.”
His mother, Miriam Waltzer, was the first woman elected to
theNew Orleans Criminal District Conrt and his futher, Bruce
Waltzer, was a civil rights lawyer. Watching them prompted
Waltzer to attend Boston University and Harvard Law School
for the purpose of improving people’s lives. He returned to
New Orleans after law school and has practiced law on the
West Bank for the past 19 years.
Waltzer intends to continue using litigation as a means for
social change and to try to get the government to be proactive
rather than reactive.
“We have monumental problems here, and if we can proactively
develop policies that make sense for everyone, rather than
just for a few people, we can create a city that is sustainable.”