guiding handBy MEGAN PHILLIPS,
From small town to small town, Walter “Bubba” Morrison has always been the person looking to make a difference and to help others in his community.
His community is now seeking to become a town: Gluckstadt.
Originally from New Roads, La., Bubba attended Catholic High School of Point Coupee, where he was graduated in 1986. He went on to Louisiana State University, where he majored in accounting. After graduating in 1990, Bubba went straight into law school at Mississippi College, graduating in 1993.
Now, along with practicing law full-time in two different states, he is also the appointed mayor of Gluckstadt.
His role is not as a lawyer. Bubba’s role is to help the supporters of the Gluckstadt incorporation have a figurehead and guide supporters and activists through the process.
“I am no politician. I don’t intend to, never intended to, run for an office and was approached numerous times about this, about trying to help get this movement started. The Gluckstadt group, the real grassroots people who want to get this done… those people don’t serve as the nominated aldermen or the nominated mayor in this circumstance, which I think gives a whole lot of credence to the whole movement.”
Bubba feels honored to be able to help the incorporation movement both as a long-time resident and because of the sincerity of those behind the cause.
“Those six or eight people could have decided they were going to be the mayor, they were going be the aldermen… They didn’t do it that way. They said, ‘Let’s meet, let’s go find people in the community who we think would do a good job, not us.’ I think their motives are pure in that nobody’s trying to do this for any kind of personal gain.”
As the appointed mayor, Bubba tries to help answer questions about what it would mean to have a new city in Madison County.
“I have tried to guide them. I have had a role as a figurehead and answering as many questions as I possibly can, because it’s not every day that a city gets formed. There were a lot of questions that people had: ‘Should I sign this (petition)? Is this a good thing? What does this mean? What are the ramifications of all this?’ Those are all the questions I was able to try and answer for people.
“All of these people have done so much work to try to get this resolved, far more work than I have done… It goes sort of hand-in-hand with what I do every day. What I do every day is see somebody with a problem. I try to figure out if I can help them with their problem, and if I can, I do everything in my power to help them.”
Bubba is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting, fishing and sports. He has been a Gluckstadt resident for nearly 20 years and has two children that are Germantown High School graduates.
The Northsider originally thought he would become a tax lawyer but had taken a trial practice class during his last semester of law school, and he was hooked.
“That just stoked the competitive fire I’d always felt something was missing. I like the confrontational nature of (being a trial lawyer), having a client who you really have to advocate for. So, I decided I was going to be a litigator. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”
He started working for Upshaw Williams, where his clients were doctors and hospitals. “I was litigating cases from the defense side...I learned how to properly work on those cases, to develop them.”
After working with Upshaw Williams for seven years, Bubba left defense work to represent plaintiffs. “In 2000, I left that firm and joined a firm doing it from the other side, representing the patients against the doctors and the hospitals.”
“The issues are complicated, they’re complex, juries are very reluctant at times to return a verdict against a doctor or hospital. Doctors are held, rightly so, in good esteem by the community; they’re well respected. I can remember as a kid, the people that you always knew about and looked up to were the doctors and the lawyers in your community, and that’s not changed…”
Bubba said that makes it difficult to convince a jury that a well-known and respected doctor may have made a mistake.
“It’s an uphill battle a lot of times, but I have had some really great clients who have really needed help, and that’s what I enjoy doing. I enjoy trying to help them if I can.”
In 2013, Bubba joined a New Orleans-based firm, and became licensed to practice law in Louisiana that same year.
Now, he has clients across the state of Mississippi and in New Orleans.
“I said, if I’m going to do anything in my home state, I need to have a Louisiana law license… Now, I handle cases in both jurisdictions.”