The first time I saw him was on the lobby of the Terrebonne Parish courthouse, the older building with the incredibly beautiful art deco trim. Dressed impeccably in a navy blue blazer with a shirt so nearly pressed, gray hair in perfect place, I. Robert Boudreaux was one of those guys who looked like he came with the building.
He exhibited patience and aplomb and the type of formality that you don’t see much these days, that you didn’t see much of in those days either.
An air force veteran, Mr. Bobby began working in the courthouse when just out of high school. He worked himself up the ranks in the clerk’s office, earning the post of clerk in a 1963 election, serving until his retirement in 2012.
Mr. Bobby was well known to every lawyer practicing in Terrebonne, and they all have stories to tell about him, most notably his seemingly inexhaustable supply of Boudreaux jokes. They tended to feature “Boudreaux “ growing up in “Bayou Self” with his cousin “Flounder”.
His passing last week was marked by memorial in many ways, but none was perhaps so touching as what occurred n the courtroom of Judge Randy Bethancourt, one of the many people in the legal profession profoundly touched by Mr. Bobby.
“Mr. Boudreaux remained a friend, and visited me and my staff after he retired,” Judge Bethancourt said. “I will miss him. A public official like Mr. Boudreaux comes once in a lifetime.”
Last Tuesday Judge Bethancourt’s courtroom was packed as it was a felony week for the judge, and so there had to be about 50 people crammed inside, most of them attorneys.
Now part of the official transcipts of the 32nd Judicial District are the following words from Judge Bethancourt:
Members of the Bar, before we begin court this morning, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of Mr. I. Robert Boudreaux, Terrebonne Parish’s iconic Clerk of Court who served continuously for 48 years. He died yesterday. He was 86 years old.
In the times we live in, in this country, it is refreshing, and yes, rare to have had a publicly elected official serving for so long without scandal, ridicule, or even an innuendo of dishonor. Indeed,
Mr. Boudreaux served us at all times with honor, dignity, competency, and reliability. He was a public official who all citizens of Terrebonne Parish could boast they were proud of. Our community is a better place because of his service.
Mr. Boudreaux served the judiciary well at all times providing excellent service to the courts delivered with dependability, reliability, and with a healthy dose of humor.
I considered Mr. Boudreaux a friend. When Mr. Boudreaux was struggling with his decision to retire, which he reluctantly did in 2012, he confided in me that he loved his job. He loved the people of Terrebonne Parish and his employees in particular. He struggled with retiring because of that; but ultimately, he told me that he retired so that he could spend time with his wife because for 48 years he was, in fact, married to the citizens of Terrebonne Parish and the Clerk of Court’s office. You could find him in the office at 6:00 o’clock in the morning. You could find him in the office on Saturdays.
Those of you who knew him, who worked with him, and the attorneys that dealt with him on legal matters, you know we lost an individual who was one of a kind. He is and was and will forever remain our iconic Clerk of Court.
He will be missed by the Court, and he will be missed by the people of Terrebonne Parish. We pause now in silence for each of us to remember Mr. Boudreaux. May he rest in peace.”