Charlie Cusimano – …a person of character

Considering, this soft-spoken, mild-mannered attorney has spent a lifetime helping those in need through his legal services. The Baton Rouge Bar Association honored him for devoting more than 500 hours of pro bono work to people unable to pay for a lawyer.

Considering, he has donated his time, legal experience and assistance to the Maternity and Adoption Department of Catholic Charities for almost two decades. He has served on the Louisiana Adoption Advisory Board and has spent hundreds of hours advising young couples who wish to adopt as well as young parents who are considering surrendering their child for adoption.

Considering, some consider him a “closet social worker.” He visits often with families and helps them through the adoptive process. 

Considering, he has firsthand experience in the adoptive world. He and his wife, Vicki Crochet, also an attorney, are the parents of two adopted children: Daniel, 22, and Kate, 17. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, founded by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, honored the couple in Washington, D.C., last year as Angels in Adoption.

Considering, he knows that adoption and parenting aren’t easy. Six years after adopting Daniel at birth, he and Crochet were approached about adopting Kate, a deaf, biracial 18-month-old. Knowing little about the hearing-impaired, the couple chose to adopt the toddler. Kate went to the Baton Rouge Speech and Hearing Foundation and spent six years at the Louisiana School for the Deaf. Today, she communicates through speech only, thrives academically and plans to be a veterinarian. Charlie has served as chairman of the Louisiana School for the Deaf Foundation three times.

Considering, he views the trials of parenting a special-needs child an ultimate blessing. “Certainly, there are times we struggled with it. It was hard. And we had to work to accomplish many normal tasks. But Kate has turned out to be an awesome child, and it’s made our family stronger.”

Considering, he is very active in the St. Aloysius Church parish. He serves on its education commission, volunteers on its prayer stewardship each year and teaches as a catechist. As a volunteer for the parish fair in the early 1990s, he first incorporated rides into the yearly event.

Considering, as an attorney with Hebert, Spencer, Cusimano & Fry, he represents the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, providing legal consult for 70 church parishes. “My passion is helping people. Many times, I pile too many things onto myself, but helping people is what I like to do.”

Considering, “My dream now is simply to help those in my life to be happy and fulfilled. There are times when I fail miserably, but I get up and keep trying!”