Rene James Brunet
Rene James Brunet
  • August 25, 1921 - August 17, 2017
  • New Orleans, Louisiana

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A mass of Catholic burial for René James Brunet Jr. will be held at 12:00pm on Friday, August 25, 2017, at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, 2701 State Street, New Orleans, officiated by Father Edwin Gros & Monsignor Henry Engelbrecht. Visitation from 10am until the start of Mass at 12 noon.

René passed on August 17, 2017, after 96 years of a wonderful life. He was born in New Orleans on August 25,1921, attended Warren Easton High school and then studied music at Tulane University. From a young age, he loved playing the organ, especially theatre pipe organs. But Rene’s musical studies were cut short by destiny in 1946 as he took over his father’s movie theatre, the Imperial, where he had worked side-by-side with his father from a young age.

In the late 1950’s, René met a neighborhood girl who came to his theatre, whom he hired and later married, Muriel, the love of his life. During the 1960’s René went on to have a large family of 5 children. He owned and operated multiple theatres- including the Imperial, Famous, Circle, Clabon, Carver, Gallo, Joy, Loew’s State, Beverly Drive-In, and finally the Prytania Theatre. Outside of the movie theatre business, René developed a real estate business, served as School Board Chairman of St. Paul’s Episcopal School, served as President of the Louisiana Association of Theatre Owners, was a 2009 People’s Health Champion, was decorated as a Chevalier in the French Order of Arts and Letters, and co-authored a book about New Orleans’ neighborhood theatres, “There’s One In Your Neighborhood”.

René was preceded in death by his parents René James Brunet Sr. and Lillian Villere Brunet, his brother Malcolm Brunet and his sister Lucille Schwab. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Muriel Sander Brunet, and their five children, René James Brunet III (William), Michelle Brunet Brown (Rudy), Robert James Brunet (Wendy), Yvette Brunet Squires (Richard), and Brian James Brunet (Kimberly.) His six grandchildren are Jennifer Squires Carapina (Joshua), Paige Olivia Brunet (Katie), Kelsey Renée Brown, Peyton Olivia Brunet, Elizabeth Ann Squires, Perrin Olivia Brunet, and many nieces, nephews and friends.

The family would also like to thank Esperanza De Leon for all the love and support she extended to René. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148 or or 1-800-822-6344.) and/or Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation (