Local teen makes progress in recovery

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2002


LULING – It’s been five months now for Justin “Pee Wee” Dufrene, but the 18-year-old Luling resident continues to make steady progress in his recovery.

Dufrene, who was allegedly beaten by a Des Allemands man at an Aug. 4 party, is walking now.

Three weeks ago, he underwent surgery to replace plates in his skull which were first put there to relieve swelling on his brain.

“He’s still a little slow, but he’s talking better,” commented his uncle, Grant Dufrene. “He was walking with a cane at first.”

The young Dufrene took a holiday break from his five-days-a-week therapy at Touro Rehabilitation Clinic in New Orleans.

“It was a great Christmas for all of us,” his uncle said.

As for the attack which nearly killed him, Justin “doesn’t remember any of it,” Grant Dufrene said. “That’s very common with head trauma.”

He’s been home from the hospital since Oct. 12, but undergoing almost daily therapy.

Meanwhile, the two men arrested in connection with that alleged attack await trial in March. Shawn J. Trehan was charged with attempted homicide and Wesley Price is charged with being a principal to attempted homicide and also simple battery.

The two large scars, one on each side of his head, will be a permanent reminder of the brain surgery he underwent to relieve swelling after he was reportedly kicked in the head repeatedly by his attacker.

Dufrene was an honor student and 2001 graduate of Hahnville High School, who was enrolled at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette on a TOPS Scholarship, according to his uncle.

Dufrene has been raised by his uncle since the age of 7, when his father died in a 1990 auto accident.

Now, the young man who was looking forward to starting college is instead trying to put his life back together. But, as his aunt, Liz Dufrene, said, the family can endure that, while Justin is home every night, sleeping in his own bed.

“For awhile, we didn’t know if he was going to make it,” Grant added.