Legal Leaders | Waitz & Downer: Hunt Downer, Mary Waitz Riviere, Joseph Waitz III, & Ellen Daigle Doskey

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For over five decades, Waitz & Downer has proudly represented the citizens of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region.

 The law firm of Waitz & Downer focuses on helping injured persons and devastated families who have suffered a catastrophic loss in an oil field accident, maritime accident, auto or boating accident that resulted in serious personal injury or wrongful death. They are also skilled in handling Social Security and disability claims, as well as wills and successions. 

With a focus on fighting insurance companies, the team at Waitz & Downer wants the community to know they fully equipped to help those affected by hurricane Ida. Our town and surrounding communities took a hard hit; thousands of individuals had their homes effected. People are quickly realizing that the insurance protection they thought they had is now becoming nothing short of a nightmare. Many feel that the years of timely paid premiums have been all for nothing with the insurance companies “nickel and dimeing” homeowners and paying only a fraction of what they are rightfully owed.

Waitz & Dower has assembled a team of experts dedicated to fighting for homeowners to help recover and rebuild. After speaking to hundreds of affected people, the feedback is the same: All people want is a return to pre-Ida normalcy and they simply cannot get that with the way they are being treated by their insurance companies.

 “We know many victims of Ida have started the process of making an insurance claim themselves,” shared Joseph Waitz III. “It can be overwhelming, especially when it doesn’t seem like you are recovering what you are owed. Let someone who is experienced take it the rest of the way.”  

Founded by the late Joseph L. Waitz in 1971, attorneys at the firm include Hunt Downer and Mr. Waitz’s children: son Joe Waitz Jr, who is Terrebonne Parish District Attorney and of counsel, daughter Mary Waitz Riviere; his grandson Joseph Waitz III; and rounding out the firm is Ellen Daigle Doskey, who also is an assistant district attorney. 

The care with which clients are handled reflects the family-like atmosphere at the firm overall. 

 “Our philosophy is when you are our client you are part of our extended family,” shared Downer. “Mr. Waitz instilled that into us. You are not a number; you are not a dollar sign; you are a person who has experienced a devastating loss. We are going to treat you as we would any member of our family.”


Each member of the firm brings a diverse and experienced background with them, allowing them to help their clients achieve success in the courtroom.  

Downer points to his life experiences as helpful to his practice of law, such as working as a roughneck and roustabout to driving a school bus among them, as benefitting his ability to help clients. His resume also includes the titles Major General (Retired), USA/LANG and Speaker, Louisiana House of Representatives. Hunt is a graduate of Nicholls State University, Loyola Law School, and Army War College.

Riviere is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Tulane Law School. She brings to the firm over 30 years of experience in a variety of complex serious personal injury cases. Riviere is an outspoken defender and advocate of victim’s rights and passionately represents her clients to ensure that justice is achieved in all of her cases. She also focuses a portion of her time on Social Security Disability law and specializes in providing legal advice and counsel to the elderly in the forms of successions, wills and donations and estate planning. 

Waitz III is a graduate of Nicholls State University and Southern University Law Center. He joined the firm in 2014, focused primarily on personal injury. Prior to attending law school, Waitz served four years as a deputy for the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol Division, conducting search and rescue operations and patrolling the waters of Terrebonne Parish. He understands the marine oilfield industry and the dangers posed. He is also the Past President of the Terrebonne Bar Association.

Doskey has over 25 years of experience in the practice of law. Upon graduation from LSU School of Law, she clerked for the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Shreveport for three years before returning to her hometown of Houma. She is an Assistant District Attorney for Terrebonne Parish where she is the lead research and appellate attorney. Doskey specializes in wills, successions, trusts, estate planning, and elder law. She also has expertise in researching and the writing of briefs, memos, and appeals.

 Waitz & Downer would like to share a message with all residents who have been affected by Hurricane Ida: “Don’t Give Up!”. Insurance companies make billions by shorting its policy holders. The attorneys at Waitz & Downer will fight to hold them accountable and recover what you are rightfully owed. Let them help you get back to that life we all knew prior to Hurricane Ida.

Contact the firm by visiting or by calling 985-876-0870.