Longtime St. Charles judge fondly remembered

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 2010



LAPLACE – Longtime St. Charles Parish Judge Edward A. Dufresne, a fixture on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, died suddenly Tuesday after suffering a massive heart attack, according to family members.

Dufresne, 72, a resident of Luling, was working in the offices of his private company, the Jackie Bee Corp., when he collapsed in front of family members and office staff.

The son of a sugar cane farmer, Dufresne was remembered as a devoted member of St. Charles Parish community who had an incredible knowledge of the parish’s history. St. Charles Parish leaders said Dufresne was always a force of harmony when it came to politics.

Dufresne served as clerk of court and district judge in St. Charles before being elected to the eight-member appeals court panel, where he served as chief judge. Colleagues of Dufresne on the appeals panel describe him as a caring and thorough judge who was always current with his docket.

“He was always concerned about work being done expeditiously,” said Judge Jude Gravois, who has served a little over a year on the panel with Dufresne. “He was always interested in getting dockets done on time.”

Gravois said Dufresne always had a calming influence on the panel, never getting too excited over disagreements with other judges.

“He always had great vision for how his decisions would play out in both the legal and business realm,” Gravois said. “He never made a quick decision. He always thought things out.”

St. John Parish District Attorney Tom Daley, who spent 12 years on the Court of Appeals with Dufresne, said the late judge was a conscientious business manager for the appeals court who had a strong presence among the other judges.

“He kept track of docket statuses and always made sure things ran well in the courthouse,” Daley said. “He was always very collegial in that he always looked for ways we could all agree on an issue. He was very good at building a consensus among fellow judges.”

Outside of court, Dufresne stayed very active in private business ventures. Gravois recalled some mornings where Dufresne worked a full day of work before coming into work on the appeals court.

“He would always be up very early for breakfast with buddies to go over business dealings,” Gravois said. “He had many opportunities to leave the appeals court and retire, but it was his passion. He was at the court more than any other judge on the panel.”

Dufresne was laid to rest Friday in his family’s cemetery, following a Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

in Hahnville.