This month, the City of New Orleans said farewell to one of her native sons. Born to Estelle Holland and William Charbonnet, Sr. in 1928 in the Tremé neighborhood, Bernard Louis Charbonnet, Sr. passed into Paradise in the city of his birth on March 14, 2020. A true child of the Crescent City, the branches of his family tree extend as far as the late 1700's. He is a direct descendent of the legendary pirate Pierre Lafitte, brother to Jean and facilitator of the United States' success in the War of 1812 as well as Louis Charbonnet, Sr. who served the city as architect and builder of historical New Orleans structures such as Corpus Christi Elementary and St. John the Berchman Orphanage, to name a few. Following in his grandfather's footsteps, Bernard chose the same vocation, working as an artisan carpenter and mentor in the passed-down Creole tradition of millwrights and contractors. Most honorably, he was also a veteran of the United States Army, serving in the Korean Conflict. Bernard is survived by his wife Gloria Ferrand Charbonnet, with whom he was married for 71 years. Of that union, he is also remembered by his 5 children whom he nurtured to be learned and moreover, public servants in the time of segregation, where he saw education as the great neutralizer. They include: retired educator and principal, Cynthia Charbonnet; attorney and infrastructure consultant Bernard Louis Charbonnet, Jr.; educator Geralyn Charbonnet (Clifton); Pierre Gerard Charbonnet who followed the family tradition of building; and Honorable Judge (ret.) Desirée M. Charbonnet. He is also survived by his living siblings, Geraldine Charbonnet (August) and Enola Charbonnet (Carter); Bertha Charbonnet (Pichon) and Paulette Charbonnet (Ortique). The deceased is also mourned by a host of grand and great-grandchildren, along with a seemingly endless list of relatives and friends. Ever a servant, he donated his body to the study of Parkinson's Disease and Geriatric Science. He is now rejoined with the brothers and sisters of whom he is predeceased. They include William Charbonnet, Jr., Wardell Charbonnet, Estelle Charbonnet (Davis), Emelda Charbonnet (Wright), Norman Charbonnet, Warren Charbonnet, and Glenda Charbonnet. Due to the uncertainty of the times, and as the deceased would have wished, the family will forego any formal celebration of his life. Loved by so many, he will be forever remembered. As stated by his youngest son Pierre, "If you never met him, you'd have wished you had."
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