Around Jefferson: ‘Miss Lou’ honored for 70 years of work for DA _lowres

Photo provided by JPDA -- Rosemary 'Lou' Urso shares a laugh with coworkers as she is honored with a cake on May 5 to mark her 70 years of working at the Jefferson Parish Courthouse in Gretna.

Rosemary “Lou” Urso was a senior at Gretna High School. The year was 1946, and her first job was working as a secretary for the district attorney’s office of the 24th Judicial District. She held the job for 30 years before she retired — only to return to the Jefferson Parish Courthouse to work for the clerk of court.

At a special ceremony on May 5, “Miss Lou,” as she is known by her colleagues, was honored for her 70 years of employment.

“Miss Lou accepted the accolades in stride, having a thin slice of cake while chatting with prosecutors, investigators and District Attorney’s Office employees while waiting for the grand jury to finish its work for the day,” said Paul Purpura, public information officer for the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office.

Today, Miss Lou continues to work at the Jefferson Parish courthouse, assisting the DA’s Office in working with the grand jury while also working with the clerk of court in its jury pool room.

“When Miss Lou started working for the office, the Jefferson Parish Courthouse was at what today is Gretna City Hall,” Purpura explained. “In those days, the 24th Judicial District encompassed Jefferson, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes, a jurisdiction that existed until 1954, when the district was confined to Jefferson Parish only, according to Frank Borne’s ‘Jefferson Parish Politicians of the Past and Present, 1825-2005.’

“During those early years, Miss Lou would accompany her boss — District Attorney Frank Langridge — to prosecute cases in those rural parishes she called ‘the country.’ She continued working for Langridge while he was in office from 1948 to 1972, and then under John Mamoulides before she retired in 1976.”

The retirement was short-lived. Purpura said Clerk of Court William Justice hired her in October 1976. She maintained her job with the clerk’s office under Raoul “Skip” Galan and with Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer, who was elected to his first term in 1988.

“Through them all, she continued assisting the District Attorney’s Office with grand jury matters through District Attorney Paul Connick Jr.,” Purpura added.

And by the way, Miss Lou said she has no plans to retire.

Rabbi to be honored

Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation will host its 2016 fundraiser, Shir Chadash in the Berkshires, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at the synagogue, 3737 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie.

The event will honor Rabbi Ethan Linden, his wife, Liba, and their children Adin, Yona and Liav. Linden will leave Shir Chadash this summer for a new job as the director of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, located in Wingdale, N.Y.

The event will include food, refreshments and live music by The Klezmephonics, followed by The Iguanas.

Tickets are $54 per person. Sponsorship single tickets are available from $125 to $500, and multiple ticket packages are from $1,000 to $5,000. All proceeds will benefit Shir Chadash.

For information and tickets, call the synagogue office at (504) 889-1144.

St. Jude novena planned

The St. Jude Society will sponsor its annual nine-day novena Monday through June 14 at St. Mary Magdalen Church, 6425 West Metairie Ave., Metairie.

Guest speaker will be Rev. James Wehner, president and rector of Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Wehner also is the new pastor of St. Rita Church in Harahan.

The schedule is weekdays at 12:15 p.m. for novena only, and 6:30 p.m. Mass and novena; Saturday novena only at 12:15 p.m., and Mass and novena at 4 p.m.; and Sunday, times are Mass and novena at both 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

AARP offers driving classes

The American Association of Retired Persons will offer two Smart Driver classes this month.

The first is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at East Jefferson General Hospital, 4200 Houma Blvd., Metairie.

The second is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 16 at the Elmwood Fitness Center, 1200 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan.

Both courses are open to the public. Cost is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonmembers.

Participants completing the course will receive a certificate and may qualify for a discount from their insurance company.

To register for the Saturday class, call Dr. Carl Drichta at (504) 302-1712. To register for the June 16 class, call (504) 828-3962.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at