Robert Jeanfreau grew up in New Orleans, attending Jesuit High School and later Loyola University where he earned a degree in psychology and became proficient in German. He went on to attend LSU Medical School in New Orleans and specialized in internal medicine. He and his brother, Wallace, opened a practice near Mercy Hospital in 1989. After a tour of duty with the National Guard in Desert Storm, Jeanfreau returned to New Orleans and the brothers moved their practice near East Jefferson General Hospital. During Hurricane Katrina, he and fellow doctors remained in the hospital for over a month caring for patients.
After Katrina, Dr. Jeanfreau lived on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans. Every day he drove by the statue dedicated to Charles Gayarré. At that time he knew nothing about that statue, but and embarrassingly little about the city’s history in general. One day he stopped to look at it more closely and that evening did some online reading. His interest was piqued and he continued his research at the library. It was there he discovered a book, written in the 1950s, about New Orleans’s statues. It was limited in scope and history. Dr. Jeanfreau decided to photograph the statues of New Orleans himself and write his own book. It was an undertaking that took nearly five years to complete. As a result of his interest in the statues and his research, Dr. Jeanfreau joined the Louisiana Historical Society where he remains an active member.
Since his experiences during Katrina, Dr. Jeanfreau has also been certified as a principle investigator involved in clinical pharmaceutical research and has co-authored three articles on immunization in scientific journals. He lives with his wife, Andrea, in Metairie, Louisiana, and continues to practice medicine with his brother.
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