U.S. attorney search underway

The search to find a new U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge is expected to pick up next week as Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office starts actively seeking names of people interested in the job.

Landrieu’s chief of staff, Don Cravins Jr., is helping facilitate the search and people interested in the job or those recommending others are asked to reach out to him.

Landrieu, D-La., is planning to accept names through Aug. 20 and the U.S. senator could recommend one or more people to President Barack Obama as soon as early September.

As the state’s senior senator in a Democratic administration, Landrieu is in charge of leading the search.

Former U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. announced his resignation last month after three years as the head federal prosecutor for the Middle District, which includes the parishes of East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, Livingston, Ascension, St. Helena, Iberville and Pointe Coupee.

Cazayoux left the office in the beginning of July to enter private law practice with the Long Law Firm LLP. The federal office in Baton Rouge is being led by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Walt Green.

“Don Cazayoux served the Middle District of Louisiana with distinction,” Landrieu said Thursday in a prepared statement. “I’m confident that as we begin the search process for the next U.S. attorney, we will find an outstanding, well-qualified individual who can continue his good work.”

Although Landrieu’s office will not release the names, the senator is forming an unofficial committee of business, legal and law enforcement leaders to help interview and vet candidates for the job.

But the final decision on recommendations will rest with Landrieu.

A similar process was used early this year in the search for the next U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans. Landrieu ultimately chose to recommend only one candidate, 37-year-old lawyer Kenneth Polite Jr., who was recently formally nominated by Obama.

Typically, a senator will recommend up to three candidates to the president.