Feb 10, 2014 2:53 PM by Dave Fields

Independent Founder and Banking Icon Jerry Reaux dies at 53

Lafayette banker and founder of Independent Media, Jerry Reaux, 53, died Sunday evening after collapsing at his home.

Reaux recently had suffered a number of medical hardships during the last several years and was hurried to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, where he died shortly after arrival.

Primarily a banker, Reaux did not regularly participate in the day-to-day operations of The Independent, a weekly newspaper in Lafayette. He was, however, relied upon for his breadth of financial expertise during the ten years of the publication's existence.

Reaux, who served as vice chairman of the board and chief operating officer for MidSouth Bank, was highly regarded in financial circles in Acadiana and statewide. MidSouth President Rusty Cloutier echoed that sentiment.

"Jerry Reaux was not only a good friend, but a great banker and he will be sorely missed by the entire banking community," Cloutier said.

Reaux died in the hospital of which he served as chairman of the board, and his friends revealed that Reaux had been instrumental in moving Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital from St. Landry Dr. to its current location on Ambassador Caffery Pkwy.

Louisiana Bankers Associations President Bob Taylor described Reaux as "a fine gentleman and a banker," noting that Reaux was instrumental in making the Lafayette Builder's Association (LBA) what it is today.

"Jerry took the LBA and transformed it from a mutual company to a stock company," Taylor explained. "He was one of the first to do that in Louisiana."

Dr. Gerd Wuestemann, Executive Director, Acadiana Center for the Arts (ACA), said Reaux's efforts with that organization during the late 1990's were integral to ACA's current impact in Acadiana.

"ACA is certainly part of Jerry Reaux's legacy in our community," Wuestemann recalled. "Without his work, vision, and leadership, this center in the heart of Lafayette would not exist today."

Reaux is survived and beloved by his wife, Renee, and their three children, Kaitlyn, Parker, and Gracie.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, February 12, from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Downtown Lafayette location of Martin & Castille Funeral Home. Visitation will resume Thursday, February 13, from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Services will follow at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.


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