Natchitoches attorney-at-law Jack O. “Britt” Brittain Jr., one of the most remarkable and beloved ambassadors ever in his community, passed away Tuesday morning at age 67 after a brief illness.
A celebration of life service was held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church in Natchitoches, with Father R. B. Williams, O.P., under the direction of Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home.
He was born June 20, 1956, and died July 11, 2023. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack Oliver Brittain and Ann Williams Brittain, paternal grandparents, Clarence Lafitte Brittain and Irene Humphries Brittain, and maternal grandparents, Judge R. B. Williams and Ora Garland Williams.
He is survived by six treasured siblings: Dr. Marguerite “Cissy” Picou and her husband, Dr. Bryan A. Picou of Natchitoches; Rebecca Brittain Morris and her husband, Wallace “Wally” E. Morris of Alexandria; Judge Lala Brittain Sylvester, and her husband, Russell “Rusty” L. Sylvester of Natchitoches; Eliza Brittain Behrendsen, and her husband, Gunnar F. Behrendsen of Natchitoches; John A. Brittain, and his fiancé, Janice Wheat of Youngsville; and Mary Jane “Cookie” Brittain Richardson, and her husband, Kirk J. Richardson of Nashville, Tenn.
Britt has 16 beloved nieces and nephews: Marguerite “Megan” Picou Bishop, and her husband, Ashley, Sara Picou McCann, and her husband, Gabe, Catherine “Catie” Picou Oryl, and her husband, Ben, Dr. Bryan A. Picou, Jr, and his wife, Kassie, Winfield Hancock Morris, and his wife, Lidiane, Wade Hampton Morris, and his wife, Kathryn “Kat,” Lala “Brittany” Sylvester Gaspard, and her husband, Brett, Courtney Elisabeth Sylvester, Ashley Kathleen Sylvester, Kathleen Marie Sylvester; Behrend Brittain Behrendsen, Ashton Lafitte Behrendsen, Sydney Brittain Dickson, and her husband, Clayton, Ann Marie Brittain; Stanley John Richardson, Richard Blanchard Richardson.
He loved his 15 grandnieces and grandnephews: Emma Virginia Bishop; Ella, Liam and Andrew McCann; Mack, Molly, Fiona and Claire Oryl; Amelia, Oliver and Eleanor Picou; Cooper Morris; Maeve Bailey Gaspard; and Rigby and William Dickson.
In lieu of flowers, the family hopes friends will consider contributions to the Jack Brittain, Jr., Memorial Scholarship Fund at Northwestern State University to benefit a female student-athlete.
Contributions can be made online by visiting: fundraise.givesmart.com/vf/nsujack. Contributions can also be mailed to: Demons Unlimited Foundation, Attention: Jack Brittain, Jr., Memorial Scholarship, 468 Caspari Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457. For more information, please contact NSU Associate Athletic Director Darian Westerfield at 318-357-4560.
He was a faithful parishioner of The Minor Basilica Immaculate Conception Church. Among his social memberships, he was a longtime member of the Krewe of Dionysos, and had been a member of Holiday In Dixie Cotillion, Holiday In Dixie Planter’s Ball, and an escort for the St. Denis Art Guild.
“Britt” was a 1974 graduate of St. Mary’s High in Natchitoches and was one of the first people inducted in the St. Mary’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He lettered four years in track, football and basketball, and played in the Louisiana High School Coaches’ All-Star Football Game in 1974. Britt was selected to attend Boys State, and also served as a page in the Louisiana Legislature and at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. He also worked for U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, helping staff his north Louisiana office. In his senior year of high school, his fellow students voted him Mr. SMH. As an adult, he was an active member of the Tiger Athletic Association.
He chose to stay home and attended Northwestern State University, earning a football scholarship. He lettered in all four seasons (1974, 1975, 1977, 1978) first as a running back, then a receiver, and was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Britt graduated with a business administration degree in 1979, and set his sights on law school to become an attorney like his father.
He was admitted to the Paul Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University and earned his Juris Doctorate in 1982.
He served as a clerk for Louisiana Head Supreme Court Justice Jack Watson.
Britt entered public service after law school, and joined Senator Johnston’s staff in a full-time capacity, working both in Washington, D.C., and around Louisiana.
“Britt worked for us even in high school. We trusted him to represent the requests of North Louisiana for his entire tenure with our offices,” said Senator Johnston. “My wife and I have known Britt since he was born. He will be missed.”
Britt worked with Senator Johnston until the senator’s retirement. He was immediately offered, and accepted, a position with new U.S. Senator John Breaux as his North Louisiana Chief Political Aide and served until Senator Breaux closed his Shreveport office.
After coming back to Louisiana, Britt settled in Shreveport, where he was well-known and beloved in Shreveport-Bossier society. He was even named by the Shreveport Times as one of the city’s “Most Eligible Bachelors,” a distinction he informally retained for years to come.
He became a member of the Indoor Tennis Association in Shreveport and later was part of a United States Tennis Association national finalist and state champion team. He was a state-ranked singles player.
After leaving government service, Britt worked as a Merrill Lynch Financial Planner in Shreveport. He ultimately returned to his hometown and joined the Brittain Family Law Firm as an attorney-at-law, remaining in practice for the rest of his life, with specialties including estate planning, timber management and oil & gas leasing. His invaluable service to a far-reaching and diverse group of clients and friends was universally admired.
He was among the best of the best and always provided the life and joy of any event. Britt made his priorities in life serving others, supporting countless noble causes and especially his beloved hometown and alma maters of St. Mary’s, NSU and LSU. For decades, he was an avid friend to NSU’s Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority co-founded by his grandmother Ora G. Williams in 1929. Early this century, the sisters showed their love and appreciation by creating the “Jack ‘Britt’ Brittain Service Award” given to a person who is remarkably supportive of the Tri Sigmas at NSU.
“Jack defined the virtue of generosity. He was generous of time, generous of treasure, and most importantly generous of spirit,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System and former president of NSU. “His support for our alma mater knew no bounds and was exceeded only by his love and support of his family and friends. When our fathers met as football teammates at Louisiana Tech in the 1940s, they had no idea their sons would bond as Demon alums some 70 years later. Jack was a treasure to us all and I will cherish his friendship for life.”
He spent 18 football seasons as the often unconventional, always passionate sideline reporter for the Demon Sports Network, and did everything he could in support of NSU Athletics in all sports. Britt’s loyalty and service was recognized by the N-Club, the university’s association of former athletic letterwinners, in 2013 when he was surprised by being inducted into the N-Club Hall of Fame as a winner of the Distinguished Service Award. He was a founding member of Demon Brothers, a football alumni group, a member of the Demons Unlimited Foundation and the NSU Alumni Association, and was universally beloved by student-athletes, coaches and staff from all sports and all ages.
Through his involvement with NSU Athletics, he developed deep friendships with sports media, coaches and athletic personnel from around the state and Southland Conference. He volunteered to do legal work for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, some which was vital to the location of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches. He also enthusiastically attended annual inductions and assisted in LSHOF operations, notably taking a major role in hosting golf tournaments. He was awarded a Life Membership in the LSWA and later, in 2017, became a recipient of the organization’s most prized honor, the Mac Russo Award, given to an individual who “contributes to the progress and ideals of the LSWA.”
He made it his mission to spread joy and happiness at every opportunity, throughout his life, and was lovingly loyal to his family and friends. He was a trusted confidant and advisor to people in all walks of life, a gracious and festive host, and a servant/leader in his community, state and nation.
He will be missed. Britt left an indelible, lasting impact with no boundaries. To know him was to love and admire him, and also, to feel his unabashed love that he shared with everyone.