Kenner City Attorney Louis Gruntz Jr., who worked for more than 30 years in the Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office, died Friday.
He was 67.
Gruntz was born in New Orleans and graduated from Jesuit High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tulane University and a law degree from Loyola University.
He began working in Jefferson Parish in 1981 under the administration of Parish President Joseph S. Yenni.
Gruntz served under seven parish presidents. He was a part-time assistant parish attorney, a full-time assistant parish attorney supervisor and an interim parish attorney.
He was Jefferson’s deputy parish attorney when he retired in 2011.
In 1999, he won the Joseph S. Yenni Award for Outstanding Service.
In 2009, then-Parish President Aaron Broussard put Gruntz in charge of an internal investigation of Broussard, top aide Tim Whitmer and then-Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson regarding work done by Lagniappe Industries, an insurance agency that Whitmer co-owned. The federal government launched its own investigation, and all three men eventually resigned.
Gruntz became Kenner’s city attorney in February, replacing Keith Conley.
Gruntz practiced law for more than 35 years and served as the president of the Louisiana Parish Attorneys Association from 1995 to 1997.
Kenner Mayor Michael Yenni said Gruntz’s engineering background helped him when his legal work involved public works projects.
“You could put 10 attorneys in a room and I don’t know that they knew what Louis Gruntz knew,” Yenni said.
He said Gruntz “was a great man with a great deal of generosity.”
“Louis was often the voice of reason, a wise leader who could convince even his fiercest critics that his arguments had merit,” the mayor said. “Louis enjoyed mentoring others and would willingly share his knowledge with those who were rising in the legal ranks. He understood the value of building bridges of understanding. He could disagree without ever provoking a battle.”
In a recent article introducing himself to Kenner citizens as their new city attorney, Gruntz wrote that “lawyers have an obligation to always strive to serve the public good.”
Gruntz authored a book, “A Tank Gunner’s Story: Cpl. Gruntz of the 712th Tank Battalion,” about his father’s experiences in World War II. He was scheduled to address the World War II discussion group at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie this Thursday.
Yenni has ordered that all flags in Kenner be lowered to half-staff.
Survivors include three sons, Cory, David and Louis Gruntz III; two daughters, Rochelle Gruntz Heap and Rebecca Gruntz; seven grandchildren; and three stepgrandchildren.
A Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Greenwood Funeral Home, 5200 Canal Blvd.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday. Interment will be in Greenwood Cemetery.