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Dorignac Dies at Age 60



 

From the Times-Picayune:

 

Joseph P. Dorignac III, owner and president of Dorignac's Food Center in Metairie, who continued the grocery store's tradition as a New Orleans area institution and family enterprise, died Monday of complications from diabetes. He was 60.


Mr. Dorignac took control of the store in the mid-1990s after the deaths of his father, Joseph P. Dorignac Jr., and his mother, Doris LeBlanc Dorignac. He launched a renovation in 2003. After Hurricane Katrina, employees praised his efforts to maintain payroll and to repair and reopen the wind- and rain-damaged store weeks after the storm.


"I think Katrina was really one of the defining moments for him," said Scott Miller, director of business operations at Dorignac's. "His entire focus was on his employees. His first priority was getting his people paid."


Eileen Genovese, secretary-treasurer of Dorignac's and a 39-year employee, said Mr. Dorignac, known to family, friends and customers as Joey, was fair and giving both to employees and customers. He often would sit at a table near the front of the store to conduct business and greet shoppers, a practice his father began.


"He always had time to sit down and talk with you," Genovese said. "He always made sure to keep his customers happy, to do what it takes."


His father opened his first grocery store Uptown in 1947 and moved to the
Metairie location in 1963.


Miller said the store will continue as a family operation. "We see the store going forward," he said. "The store's going strong, and it's going to continue."


An only child, Mr. Dorignac shared with his parents an enthusiasm for horses, and was a top-ranked professional thoroughbred trainer, active from the late 1960s through the 1980s, at the New Orleans Fair Grounds, where his father for a time was the largest stockholder.


Mr. Dorignac was inducted into the Louisiana Racing Hall of Fame in 2001. He was a member of the American Saddlebred Association, the Pass Christian Yacht Club, the Metairie Park Country Day School Dad's Club board of directors and the krewes of Endymion and Caesar.


He is survived by his wife, Karen Patenotte Dorignac; four sons, Joseph Peter Dorignac IV, Jason Patrick Dorignac, Jon Paul Dorignac and Joel Peter Dorignac; a stepdaughter, Katherine Paige McComiskey; and a granddaughter, Margaret Nicole Dorignac.


A Mass will be said Friday at
11 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 444 Metairie Road. Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery.

Editor’s Note: In addition to his great success as a Thoroughbred race horse trainer, Dorignac also spent several decades showing top Saddlebred horses and Hackney ponies. Later his sons Jon Paul and Joel picked up the sport. An in-depth look at Dorignac’s life will be published in Saddle Horse Report at a later date.

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