Walter Joseph Baudier Jr.

Walter Joseph Baudier Jr., founder of an engineering firm responsible for important local flood protection projects, died Thursday at his home in New Orleans. He was 74.

Baudier founded Design Engineering Inc. in 1984 after working for other firms and deciding he wanted to do things “different and better” and that he could do so more easily if he struck out on his own, said his lifelong friend Wayne Ducote.

Baudier, who had degrees in economics and civil engineering from the University of New Orleans, would go on to build the firm into a major company working on flood protection and lakefront projects including the ongoing rehabilitation of the Lake Pontchartrain seawall, South Shore Harbor, Lakeshore Drive and other projects.

He was particularly proud of his work on the Orleans Avenue Canal and its levees, floodwalls and bridges, noting that it was the only of the three outfall canals in New Orleans that did not breach during Hurricane Katrina.

“That’s the way he designed it — made sure it was proper and correct,” Ducote said.

Baudier served on the board of directors at Jesuit High School for two decades and was particularly involved in the school’s capital improvement program and its post-Hurricane Katrina renovations and master plan.

Baudier served as the king of the Krewe of Hermes in 1996 and was a member of the Southern Yacht Club and an avid golfer. He bought and rode a motorcycle the month before he died, Ducote said.

Survivors include his wife, Alice Lee Carter Baudier; a son, Walter “Beau” Joseph Baudier III; a daughter, Christine Baudier Wood; and two grandchildren.

A memorial Mass was celebrated Monday in the chapel of Jesuit High School. Burial was in Metairie Cemetery.

Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.​