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Tech Triumphs

Mary “KK” Kite Norman

Mary “KK” Kite NormanShe plans to retire soon, but she'll still perform marriage ceremonies and live out one of her mottos: "Look at the positive; make the most of every day!"

Title: Judge (retired), New Orleans

Hometown: Monroe

Now resides in: New Orleans until December 31, then retiring to Destin, Fla.

Degree: Elementary education

Family: Married to Dr. James C. Lorbeck; two children and a step-daughter: Hudson Norman, Caroline Norman Kirsch, Lisa Lorbeck Wight

What brought you to Tech? My sister Lela Bess Kite Weber graduated from Tech and I knew lots of people attending Tech. It was also close to home.

Why did you choose this career? After testing, I found that I had an aptitude for the law so decided to attend law school. After practicing law as a trial attorney for 15 years, it became an overwhelming desire of mine to become a Judge. I was elected initially as Clerk of Court in 1990 and then as Judge in 1994.

Advice to Tech students who want to pursue law or, eventually, a judgeship: I am a very organized person and always have a plan. My advice would be to write down your goals, make a plan to achieve them -- and then just do it. Nothing ever just seemed to fall in my lap. I always had a plan and followed it step by step until I accomplished what I started out to do. Anything is possible it you want it badly enough. The practice of law is an honorable profession through which you may be of help to many people. I found it to be personally very satisfying.

The hardest part of being a judge: For me I took to it like a duck to water. Nothing was really hard, though maybe unpleasant. Part of my job was to evict people from their homes and that was very heart- wrenching and difficult for me.

Have you ever had to go before a judge?, and if so, what was THAT like? As a trial attorney I went before judges many times. That experience taught me to always treat attorneys with the utmost respect even if they were ill prepared or unprofessional. I tried to be more of a mentor rather than belittle them in front of their clients like many judges do.

How has law evolved during your career, specifically in city court? Nothing much has changed in City Court except to have our jurisdictional limit raised by the legislature.

Tell us why you've been called "The Judge of Love" and how you feel about it: I am honored to be known as "The Judge of Love." I was dubbed that by the Discovery Channel about 15 years ago. They were taping the final show of a nine-month series in which the couple was to be married, and after listening to many celebrants perform, they chose my ceremony as the most romantic. I then married the couple on national television where they called me the Judge of Love, and the title stuck. I have had a lot of fun with it through the years.

What's one of your favorite Valentine's Day experiences as a judge? I have probably married over 200 couples on Valentine's through the years; but certainly the most emotional was when I preformed the ceremony for my daughter Caroline this past year. Of course there are some crazy stories on Valentine's Day as well. Once I had a bride go into labor during the wedding!

Your best memories of Tech: I loved my experience at Tech. I found the school very friendly with a quality education offered. I always felt as if I were in a very large family of students and professors...everyone helpful, loving and kind. Great experience. One of the best decisions of my life. I also greatly loved my experience as a PHI MU!

Your advice to Tech freshmen today: You are in a great place right now so take advantage of that opportunity. Give a 110% effort to all you do.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's... never to say never; there are no short cuts; anything worth having takes hard work; always look at the positive; make the most of every day!

How did Tech prepare you for your career and, in general, life after college? The Tech community was like a mini-'Big World' and I got to practice there so I would be ready for the real thing. I also received the education I needed to accomplish my goals in life.

Your "retirement" plans: I plan to still hear some cases, still marry lots of couples, travel some, and am considering writing a book which will be titled "Memoirs of The Judge of Love."