Joseph Matthew Rault, Jr., a successful attorney, oilman, real estate developer, and community servant, passed away at home on February 2, surrounded by his family. Born February 24, 1926, he was a lifelong resident of New Orleans. He was predeceased by his father, Joseph M. Rault, and mother Calista M. Rault, and is survived by his devoted wife of 40 years, Bonnie, his sister Calista Schneidau, the five daughters of his pre-deceased sister, Beatrice Baldwin, and his children, Joseph M. Rault, III (Celeste), Katherine Rault, Evelyn Wolford (David), Miles Clements (Mary), Bonnie Ruane, Lewis Clements, Marilyn Garren (Kit) and Robert Clements (Poppy), and twenty grandchildren. Mr. Rault graduated from Jesuit High School in 1943 and immediately enrolled in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Tulane University. He served as a Lieutenant (JG) until 1945, was promoted to Commander USS LCI 549 in 1946 and participated in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, Pacific Ocean. Following his service, he studied naval architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from which he graduated in 1948, and received the Compton Award. He attended Georgetown Law School and then transferred to Tulane Law School and graduated with an L.L.B. in 1950 as a member of the Tulane Law Review and the Order of the Coif. Mr. Rault practiced law in New Orleans for ten years at the Terriberry, Rault law firm, litigating admiralty and oil and gas matters. He went into business with Donald G. Bollinger and built and operated towing and supply boats for the infant offshore oil and gas industry. He co-founded Lockport Shipyards (now part of Bollinger Shipyards) and Offshore Transportation Company, which merged its fleet into what is now Tidewater Inc. The merger was seen as a significant step in Tidewater's growth. Mr. Rault formed his own drilling production company and operated rigs and leases in South Louisiana, both on land and in inland waters. He conducted drilling operations for PEMEX in Mexico and later production activities in Venezuela. He was a delegate to the World Petroleum Congress and subsequently a regular attendee at annual OPEC meetings. Beginning in the late 1960s he went into commercial real estate and development. He developed, owned and/or operated 2,000 apartment units, 3,000 home sites, commercial shopping centers, Lake Hillsdale Estates in Mississippi, and the Rault Center Hotel Building. He later founded Rault Resources, Inc., which operates several office buildings in Metairie and Lafayette. While a student at Georgetown, Mr. Rault attended a small social event organized by Senator Russell B. Long, which was intended to bring a taste of Mardi Gras to Washington, D.C. The event marked the birth of the Washington Mardi Gras Ball which annually celebrates carnival and Louisiana culture. Mr. Rault was a primary organizer and Senior Lieutenant in the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians. The annual events combine a number of Mr. Rault's passions, including Mardi Gras, politics, business and Louisiana hospitality. He enjoyed a lifelong friendship with Senator Long and his wife, Carolyn. He was a co-author of the organization's 50th Anniversary History – "Golden Memories." After Hurricane Katrina destroyed his Metairie home, he became active in the Hoey's Basin Drainage Alliance and then a director of the Pump to the River Task Force, a community non-profit organization representing 26 neighborhoods and over 100,000 citizens of Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. He pressed the Corp of Engineers and Congress to implement a drainage solution endorsed, but not yet funded, by the Corp. He made many trips to Washington and in 2009 testified in support of the project to the U.S. Senate Public Works Committee. Mr. Rault served as a Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Director since 2001, a member of the Jefferson Business Council, and was recently honored with the Board Member Emeritus Award. For the last several years, he served on the Ochsner Health Foundation Board. He served proudly on the Sugar Bowl Committee for 46 years. He was a past member of the Board of Regents of Loyola University, Louisiana State Society, Board of Directors New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman of the New Orleans Railroad Terminal Board. He was a member of the Pickwick Club, the Bienville Club, the Rex Organization, the New Orleans Country Club, the Metairie Country Club, and various carnival organizations. Visitation is scheduled at Lake Lawn Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Boulevard, New Orleans, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 6, 2014, and from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Friday, February 7. A funeral service will follow at Lake Lawn at noon with interment at Metairie Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Ochsner Clinic Foundation, 1514 Jefferson Hwy., New Orleans, LA 70121. To sign and view the Family Guestbook, please visit www.lakelawnmetairie.com.
Lake Lawn Met Funeral Home
5100 PONTCHARTRAIN BLVD
New Orleans, LA 70124
Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Feb. 4 to Feb. 7, 2014