August Perez III, an architect whose projects helped transform the downtown New Orleans skyline, died Friday at his home. He was 81.
Perez also was a founding member and past captain of the Krewe of Bacchus, whose giant floats and celebrity kings changed the face of the Carnival season in New Orleans.
Among his major local projects were the 1984 World’s Fair, One Canal Place and Harrah’s Casino, as well as the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the Rouse Riverwalk Marketplace, both of which incorporated major parts of the 1984 exposition.
Perez graduated from Fortier High School and earned his architecture degree from Tulane University in 1956.
Other Perez designs include the Piazza d’Italia on Poydras Street, the Pontchartrain Civic Center in Kenner, Zephyr Stadium in Jefferson and Denver International Airport.
Perez led Bacchus as captain from 1982 until 1989.
With restaurateur Owen “Pip” Brennan Jr., Perez helped Bacchus become one of the city’s dominant Carnival krewes after its founding in 1968. Its Sunday-night parades featuring spectacular outsized floats draw huge crowds and are among the highlights of the season.
Perez’s other business ventures included the Beverly Dinner Theater, the Sugar House Hotel and Mississippi Aerial River Transit, which operated the popular gondola across the Mississippi River during the world’s fair.
He bought the architectural firm August Perez & Associates Inc. from his father in 1976. It still operates today as Perez APC, though under different ownership.
Perez also served on the boards of the Louisiana Association of Architects and the Bank of New Orleans.
He was an avid hunter and fisherman and a member of the New Orleans Big Game Fishing Club. At Tulane, he was a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity.
Survivors include his wife, Cheryl Littleton Perez; a son, August Perez IV; five daughters, Jean Loeb, Suzanne Schuber, Sandra Wellmeyer, Julie Barnhill and Corinne Perez; a sister, Marcelle Perez Pfister; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at Munholland United Methodist Church, 1201 Metairie Road, Metairie. Visitation will follow the service.