J. Keith Gates was elected Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Louisiana on March 3, 2018 and assumed the office on March 4, 2018.
Keith hails from Bethlehem Commandery in Winnfield, and is only the second Grand Commander to call that commandery home. Keith is also a member of Payen Commandery in Lafayette, where he originally joined templary in 2009.
Keith is a member and Past Master of Goldonna Lodge, No. 293, in Goldonna, Louisiana, where he was raised in 2006. Aditionally, he is a member and Past Master of O.K. Allen Lodge, No. 33, in Winnfield, Louisiana, and is also a member of Hope Lodge, No. 145, in Lafayette, Louisiana. Keith has also served as the Grand Organist of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, F. & A.M., since 2010.
In the York Rite, Keith served as High Priest, Illustrious Master, and Commander of the Winnfield York Rite Bodies in 2014. He is also a member of the Louisiana Priory of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor, the Ouachita Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, the Order of the High Priesthood of Louisiana, the Order of the Silver Trowel of the Louisiana, and the Ray Burgess Council of Knight Masons.
In the Scottish Rite, Keith was invested with the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor in 2017 and currently serves as a member of the advisory council and as the Master of Kadosh of the Monroe Valley, where he also serves in the cast of the 18th degree, sometimes known as the most beautiful degree in masonry, as well as the masonic play A Rose Upon the Alter. Keith is also a member of the Kisatchie Scottish Rite Club and is an active participant in their annual Maundy Thursday program.
Keith is also a member of the Eastern Star (serving as organist of Goldonna and Winnfield chapters) and a past president in the Dugdemona High Twelve Club in Winnfield.
Keith was born in Natchitoches, raised in Goldonna, and is proud to call the area home. He is a 2000 graduate of Lakeview High School where he was co-valedictorian, graduating with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Keith attended Northwestern State University where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, gaining a minor in political science along the way. Keith also received the American FFA Degree while in undergraduate work, after having served as a State FFA Officer for two years.
Keith then studied for three years at the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge where he received both a Juris Doctor degree and a Bachelor of Civil Law degree. While at LSU, Keith became actively involved in the College Republican organization, serving two terms as the State Chairman of College Republicans in Louisiana and also two terms as Chairman of the Southern Caucus of the College Republican National Committee.
After law school Keith clerked as a research attorney for the Hon. Justice Jeffrey P. Victory of the Louisiana Supreme Court in New Orleans, the highest court in Louisiana. Keith worked in all areas of Louisiana law including appellate, constitutional, criminal, election, family, property, sales, workers’ compensation and many others.
Following his clerkship Keith worked in private practice in Lafayette, Louisiana, for a number of years defending and bringing various types of civil claims, including offshore injuries, workers’ compensation injuries, auto accidents, construction defects and business litigation.
In the summer of 2011, Keith left for Washington, D.C., where he and three other attorneys founded Cause of Action, a non-partisan organization that uses public advocacy and legal reform tools to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote economic freedom. Keith served as one of two senior attorneys, growing Cause of Action to a multi-attorney organization dedicated to attacking waste, fraud, mismanagement and corruption in the federal government.
Thereafter, Keith came home to North Louisiana to fulfill his dream and open the Gates Law Firm. Keith represents clients in many different types of matters that run the gamut of Louisiana and Federal law. Keith strives to stay current in areas of law that impact the lives and livelihoods of his friends and neighbors in The Great State.
Keith is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Louisiana and all other Louisiana state courts, the United States Supreme Court, the Federal District Courts for the Western District of Louisiana, and the United States Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia.
Keith is a member of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana FFA Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Women’s Resource Center in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Keith lives in Winn Parish, Louisiana, where he practices law and serves at the Winnfield City Prosecutor.