Jesuit Father Joseph Niel Jarreau passed away on Dec. 10, 2013, in Opelousas, La. He was 87 years of age; he had been a Jesuit for 70 years and a priest for 57 years.
Fr. Jarreau was born in New Orleans on Sept.10, 1926. He attended St. Rita Grade School and graduated from Jesuit High School in 1943. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La., on July 30, 1943. After juniorate studies, he earned a B.A. in Latin from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. He taught at Jesuit High School in Shreveport, La., from 1950 to 1953, then continued his education at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kan., where he earned an S.T.B in theology in 1957. Fr. Jarreau was ordained a priest on June 13, 1956, at Spring Hill College. He pronounced final vows on Aug. 15, 1976, at St. Charles College.
In 1958 Fr. Jarreau was assigned again to Jesuit High School in Shreveport, after which he was missioned to the staff of the Jesuit House of Studies at Spring Hill College in 1961. Having continued his academic formation in the area of counseling, he returned to high school work in 1966, first as counselor at Jesuit College Prep in Dallas until 1976 and then at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla., until 1982.
In 1983 he transitioned to pastoral assignments, enjoying a long tenure as assistant director at Ignatius Retreat Center in Atlanta from 1983 to 1990. He was then assigned as associate pastor of St. Rita Church in Dallas for seven years. He resumed retreat ministry in 1997 at Montserrat Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas. In 2000 he returned to Ignatius Retreat Center in Atlanta, where he continued to work as retreat director until earlier this year when he was assigned to St. Charles College.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Lucien and Alice (Voorhies) Jarreau; two brothers, Charles and Jesuit Father Martin Jarreau, and his sister, Mrs. Dugue Bendernagel (Marcelle). He is survived by his sister-in-law, Audrey Jarreau, and his nieces, nephews and cousins: Marguerite LeBlanc, Martin Bendernagel, Marie Elise Lester, Yvonne Roe, Lucien Jarreau, Marcel Jarreau, Andre Jarreau, Michael P. Jarreau, and Mimi Buettner.