Like a lot of kids, Blake Comeaux spent a fair amount of his youth watching YouTube. But unlike almost any teenager ever, he was obsessed with philosophy videos.
“I would just fall down these rabbit holes,” said Comeaux, who grew up in Kiln, Miss., and now calls New Orleans home. “I’d learn about the categorical imperative and think, ‘Well, what else does Kant say?’ And then I got into Camus, so I’d watch videos about him and then watch videos about the philosophers who influenced him. It finally clicked for me that philosophy is a great major for going to law school. Actually, it’s a great major — period. Philosophy teaches you how to think and how to accept other people’s perspectives. And for the rest of my life, I’m going to have to think. And for the rest of my life, I’m going to be introduced to other people’s perspectives.”
After graduating in May with a degree in philosophy from Arts & Sciences, Comeaux plans to continue his education at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.
Here, Comeaux shares more about his first impressions of St. Louis and his experiences as an Ervin Scholar and a student athlete.
You’ve been a varsity football player, an Ervin Scholar and a Gephardt Institute Goldman Fellow. How have those communities impacted your WashU experience?
Where to start? Each experience has been so meaningful. Players joke that Coach Kindbom (who retired in 2019) had a magical way of picking roommates. The players he put me with are still people I talk to every single day. And being an Ervin, surrounded by a lot of very high-achieving, very academically oriented Black people, has been really motivating to me. I also loved my experience with the Gephardt Institute. For my Goldman summer, I worked as a legal intern here in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri. The experience was so positive that I’ve decided to serve on the new advisory board for Gephardt’s St. Louis Fellowship Program.
What did you know about St. Louis before you arrived here?
I knew the Cardinals and I knew there was an Arch. But I’ve learned a lot. I’m in a class right now called ‘Artifact STL’ in American culture studies with Elizabeth Eikmann and we’ve talked about Pruitt–Igoe, Shelley v. Kraemer and Homer G. Phillips Hospital and other important moments in history and their implications today. It’s made me realize that every major civil rights movement has roots in or a connection to St. Louis.
Why do you want to be a lawyer?
So much of Mississippi’s history is tied in with the Civil Rights Movement. My high school history teacher Mr. Allemand did a really good job of highlighting the different legal cases that brought out change and introduced us to the different lawyers who argued those cases. And that sparked something in me. I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know how. Law became the answer.