So, you get that dreaded piece of paper in the mail that says: “Call this number to see if you are one of the chosen.” You call. You are one of the chosen.
Wonderful. Just what you need to add to your to do list. One whole day of getting nothing on your to do list accomplished in exchange for a whopping $28.20.
Wonderful! Just the break you needed from your never-ending to do list. A civic duty day alone. (Well, with approx. 120 of your fellow Acadiana natives.)
Let me share with you a few pointers on how to make jury duty feel less like a wasted day of mommin’ and more like a mini Mom Retreat Day.
Get downtown early.
With that jury summons letter, you will also receive a free, all day, parking pass for the Downtown Parking Garage on E. Vermillion. You will be expected to report at the courthouse, only 3 blocks away, at 9:30am on a Monday morning. But, if your Monday mornings are anything like mine, you’ll still have all your typical early morning mom duties. So, do what you gotta do and then head downtown, even if it’s early! Carpe Diem! Gelato + Espresso Bar opens at 7:00am, giving you a nice chunk of time to enjoy an espresso or specialty coffee in peace.
Bring a good book.
Technology of any kind is banned from being brought into the courthouse by the general public. You will not be allowed your cell phone, smart watch, or tablet. Since you will be forced to be unplugged, why not grab your favorite book of the shelf, dust it off, and toss it in your purse? Or, if you plan ahead, stop by the bookstore or library and pick up a new read, magazine, or adult coloring book to pass the time.
Because, let’s be honest, half of the inconvenience of jury duty is the sitting and waiting, loathing the feeling of unproductiveness as grown adults take an excess of 2 hours to follow simple instructions and processes. (Seriously, though, why does it take all morning to make sure everyone parked where they were suppose to, has their summons letter, fills out 1 sheet of information about themselves, wrangle the judge, have him read over handful qualifications that you should have already met to be in that room, hear everyone’s potential “hardships” and either excuse them or not, and then, it’s lunch time? But I digress … ) Bring a book and kick back, momma! Even if it’s just to use to pretend you aren’t people watching.
Also, PSA: The land line phones in the jury pool room do not call out to other area codes, so IF you need to be reached in case of emergency, leave the telephone number on the top of your jury summons paper with a loved one prior to jury duty day.
Make a food plan.
There are vending machines in the back of the jury pool room, but there is no stipulation on snacks you may bring. A “know before you go” tip: grab your favorite candy or snack food and treat yo’self, or bring some change for later on in the day. Trust me, you will want to get up and walk to the wending machines to stretch your legs at some point.
Depending on the luck of the draw, you will get 1.5 to 3 hours for lunch! This will be plenty of time to eat since no little ones are in tow. Take advantage of any extra time and visit a few of the local shops downtown. You can always run any purchases to your car in the garage before heading back to the courthouse at 1:30pm.
Fun Fact: Many of the restaurants downtown are closed on Mondays. I found this out the hard way by walking up and down Jefferson St. for about a half hour before landing at Pop’s Poboys, which will be my jury duty recommended lunch spot, of course. Splurge and get a Swamp Pop and a window seat to enjoy a long lunch that you can savor all by your lonesome. After all, you are getting a big fat jury duty check that will at least cover this bill!
Enjoy some mom TV time.
After lunch, if the jury panels are still being deliberated, the TV will be turned on in the jury pool room. I don’t know if it’s a regular occurrence, but the channel selected for the afternoon was HGTV. Four glorious hours of non-animated, non-sing song voiced, mom television! Pro Tip: humans are creatures of habit, most everyone WILL sit in the same seat they were in before lunch, so make sure you pick a good one. There are a few cushioned chairs near the front and even 2 sofas and padded armchairs, but those do not have a good view of the tv, choose wisely.