Local Notables

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Miss Teen USA 2004

Shelley Catherine Hennig
Miss Teen USA 2004 Shelley Catherine Hennig of Destrehan is pictured with Parish President Albert Laque, left, and St. Charles Public Schools Superintendent Rodney Lafon, right.

Senator Joel T. Chaisson

Senator Joel T. Chaisson
Senator Joel T. Chaisson president of the Louisiana Senate. Joel T. Chaisson II, a lifelong resident of St. Charles Parish, is a 1977 graduate of Destrehan High School. He obtained his undergraduate degree in business in 1980 from the University of New Orleans followed by his juris doctorate degree in 1983 from the Louisiana State University Law Center. Upon obtaining his law degree, Chaisson sought and won an at-large council position on the St. Charles Parish Council becoming the youngest parish-wide elected official in Louisiana at that time. In 1991, Chaisson was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives where he represented St. Charles Parish for eight years. Chaisson was elected to the Louisiana Senate in 1999 and was re- elected without opposition in 2003 and again in 2007. On January 14, 2008, Chaisson was elected by his colleagues to serve in the Louisiana Senate’s highest leadership post, president of the Senate. In addition to his political career, Chaisson has established a well-respected legal practice in the river parishes and has been very successful as a real estate investor and developer. He and his wife, Sandra Stage Chaisson, reside in Destrehan and have one daughter, Martine Marie Chaisson. He is the oldest of Judge Joel and Bobbie Chaisson’s nine children.

Nancy Tregre Wilson

Nancy Tregre Wilson
Nancy Tregre Wilson, retired schoolteacher (38 years), historian, and author, is president of the Louisiana Gourmet Enterprises, a family-owned food manufacturing company headquartered in Hahnville. The enterprise was the first to introduce Cajun foods to the grocery market as convenience foods (Mam Papaul Brand). Nancy has written several books including a cookbook, which details her German-French heritage. In 1976, she wrote the history of St. Charles Parish as a bicentennial project. Nancy and Charles Wilson reside in Hahnville.

Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon

Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon
Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon serves on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana since her appointment to that position by the president of the United States in 1996. Prior to that appointment, she served as a district judge in the Twenty-ninth Judicial District Court in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes, the first woman to be elected judge in either of those parishes. Previously, she practiced law in Hahnville with her husband, Harry Lemmon and her father, James P. Vial. In 2005, she was chair of the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges and in 2007 was elected to the Hall of Fame of Women in Government. Judge Lemmon worked with school officials to establish a court school for behavior-disordered children on probation. She also spearheaded a Zero Tolerance Program to handle violent behaviors on school campuses. In an effort to comfort and advise domestic violence victims, she hired and trained a special court officer to work with these individuals. Judge Lemmon is the granddaughter of former Sheriff Leon C. Vial, Sr. (Photo by Timeless Images)

Justice Harry T. Lemmon

Justice Harry T. Lemmon
Justice Harry T. Lemmon served on the Louisiana Supreme Court from 1980 through 2002. He served on the court of appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1970 to 1980. Prior to becoming a judge, he practiced law in Hahnville with his father-in-law, James P. Vial. He grew up in Morgan City, Louisiana, the son of Gertrude Blum and Earl Lemmon, both teachers. He served as education chair of the National Conference of Appellate Judges for ten years. In 2002, he was selected Outstanding Jurist by the Louisiana Bar Foundation. (Photo by Timeless Images)

Curtis Johnson, Jr.

Curtis Johnson, Jr.
Curtis Johnson, Jr., wide receivers coach, joined the New Orleans Saints in 2006 after forging a reputation for developing top-flight targets on the college level for over two decades. His Saints team defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl. In February of that year, Curtis was honored for his accomplishments with a weeklong exhibit of his memorabilia at the St. Charles Museum on the grounds of Destrehan Plantation. At opening ceremonies, he received salutations and commendations from federal, state, and local officials. Born in New Orleans, he is a kindergarten through high school graduate of St. Charles Borromeo School in Destrehan. Curtis is the son of late Councilman Curtis Johnson, Sr., of St. Rose.

Lorraine and Louis Gendron

Lorraine Gendron
Hahnville folk artist Lorraine Gendron and her husband Louis have created a thriving art industry featuring Mississippi mud. Her mud sculptures have appeared in prestigious venues, fine art museums across the South, and in international collections. Lorraine is also known for her vivid acrylic paintings and whimsical wood cutouts. Her work was featured at the White House in 2001 and is currently hanging in the State Capital in Baton Rouge.

Judge Edward A. Dufresne

Edward A. Dufresne, Jr.
Edward A. Dufresne, Jr., “Father of the St. Charles Parish Home Rule Charter,” attorney since 1963, and chairman of the Home Rule Charter Commission, was instrumental in drafting the first parish constitution. He worked tirelessly for its passage and assisted parish officials for years with implementation of the provisions. Dufresne was elected unopposed to the offices of clerk of court, Twenty-ninth Judicial District judge, and appellate judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal for the Third District, serving as chief judge since 2001. Judge Dufresne has been appointed numerous times to sit on the Louisiana Supreme Court and has served continuously for over 45 years as an elected official of the parish.

Sherman Washington

Zion Harmonizers Contemporary Music Legends
Sherman Washington, a resident of Boutte, and the Zion Harmonizers Contemporary Music Legends, were internationally recognized gospel recording stars. (Source: Music Legends of St. Charles Parish Booklet prepared by the St. Charles Historical Foundation)

Milton Cambre

Milton Cambre - Image
Milton Cambre, a wetlands advocate and Norco resident has been instrumental in coastal restoration work on the East Bank of St. Charles Parish.

Don Raymond

Don Raymond
Don Raymond was the first African American to be named to the first all-state football team in Louisiana, as a junior at Hahnville High School.

This text is copyright © material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.

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Further Reading

The Judge Means Business
By Henry E. Yoes III
River Parish Focus
Vol. 1 No. 2
June 1979

Garland Robinette: More Than Just a Pretty Face
By Edith Vicknair
River Parish Focus
Vol. 1 No. 12

The School of Impressionism: Mary Lou Liberty
By Melody Yoes
River Parish Focus
Vol. 1 No. 1

Three Young Men: The Emphasis is on Ability
By Edith Vicknair
River Parish Focus
Vol. 1 No. 5

The Future of New Orleans: Everyday Heroes (Milton Cambre)
The Times-Picayune
July 20, 2016

Milton Cambre: Guardian of the Wetlands, Protector of St. Charles Parish
Norco Newsline
June 2016

I Could Have Danced All Night
By Henry E. Yoes III
River Parish Focus
Vol. II No. 5
June 1979

Gus Champagne: A Rebel at Heart
By Henry E. Yoes III
River Parish Focus
Vol. II No. 4
October 1979

Live From Garyville
By Andrew S. Duet Jr.
River Parish Focus
Vol. 1 No. 12
May 1979

Joe Vitrano: Bodyguard to the Kingfish
By Edith Vicknair
River Parish Focus
Vol. 1 No. 12
May 1979

Sherman Washington Jr., Zion Harmonizers leader and Gospel Tent godfather, has died
By Keith Spera
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Sherman Washington: Jazz Fest Ancestors
The Times-Picayune
April 24, 2019

Jules Cahn: Jazz Fest Ancestors
The Times-Picayune
April 24, 2019

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