CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—Joseph Edward Berrigan

Joseph Edward Berrigan Jr., a lawyer who served with numerous New Orleans city agencies and committees, died May 12. He was 84.

Born in 1932, Berrigan graduated from Jesuit High School in 1950 and the Loyola University School of Law in 1954.

Loyola's 1954 yearbook lists him as a member of the Loyola Law Review staff led by editor-in-chief Pascal Calogero, who became chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1973, and comment editor Moon Landrieu, who became mayor of New Orleans in 1970.

During the Korean War, Berrigan served as a lieutenant in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps.

Back in New Orleans, he became a partner in the Frawley, Wogan, Miller, Berrigan and Co. Title Firm; a senior partner in O'Keefe, O'Keefe & Berrigan from 1970 to 1984; and a senior partner in the Berrigan, Litchfield Law Firm from 1984 to his retirement. He was also a founder of Liberty Bank & Trust.

Berrigan was a member of the New Orleans Public Library Board from 1968 to 1970.

His civic involvement increased substantially in the 1970s. From 1970 to 1984, he was a member of the Louisiana State Mineral Board, which administers oil and gas leases on state, municipal and other government properties. He was chairman of the Mineral Board from 1979 to 1981.

Also in the 1970s, he was an assistant city attorney working with the City Planning Commission from 1970 to 1978 and a proxy member of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District board from 1971 to 1975.

In 1978, he began providing legal representation for the Housing Authority of New Orleans, which he did until 1982, and the New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, which he did until 1988.  

He was a member of the New Orleans Aviation Board from 1991 to 2002 and was its chairman in 1993-94. He was also a leader of the Upper Pontalba Building Restoration Commission. 

He was a parishioner of St. Dominic's Catholic Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

An avid golfer, tennis player, yachtsman and cyclist, he was a member of the Southern Yacht Club and Metairie Country Club.

Berrigan's law partner, John Litchfield, described him as a very forgiving and religious man who attended Mass daily, "but didn't wear it on his sleeve. He didn't proselytize."

Berrigan had a common touch and was equally comfortable talking to the powerful and the powerless, Litchfield said.

"Joe really was a class act; he didn’t hold himself above anyone," Litchfield said. "He was extremely giving, and very, very street-smart. Very loyal to his friends — one of the classiest people I've ever been in contact with."

He is survived by his wife, U.S. District Judge Helen "Ginger" Berrigan, who took "senior status" from that court, a form of semi-retirement, in September.

He is also survived by five children, Joseph III, Kathleen, Laura, Michael and Melanie; and by a sister, Bernice. His first wife, Kathleen Mae Weiss Berrigan, predeceased him.

A funeral Mass will be said at 1 p.m. Saturday in the chapel of Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd., New Orleans. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Metairie Cemetery.

Staff writer Gordon Russell contributed to this story.