James M. Robarts, Jr., age 81, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on September 8, 2023. He is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Mary Ann Alfortish Robarts, and three children: Mel Robarts (Judy), Veronica Dermody (Joe), and Randi Cancienne (Mike). He also leaves behind ten grandchildren: Rachel Lonergan (PJ), Leah Bourgeois (Thomas), Jake Robarts (Ana), Ethan Robarts (Sara), Christian McCann, Alex Dermody, Noah Dermody, Peyton Dermody, Victoria Smith (Cliff), Michael Cancienne, Jr., and eight great-grandchildren: Patrick Lonergan, Cecilia Robarts, James Robarts, Myles Robarts, George Bourgeois, Clark Bourgeois, August Robarts, and Audrey Smith. Jim is also survived by his sister, Jerrylynn Weller and beloved nieces and nephews. He graduated from Jesuit High School and Loyola University.
Coach enjoyed a career as a baseball and basketball. He coached at Jesuit High School of Shreveport, Archbishop Rummel High School, East Jefferson High School, Loyola University, Haynes Academy, Archbishop Shaw High School, and St. Martin’s Episcopal. He has been named by the LABC as “Mr. Louisiana Basketball,” honored by LHSAA for Lifetime Accomplishment in Basketball, and inducted into the Louisiana State High School Hall of Fame, the Great Florida Shoot Out Hall of Fame, the Archbishop Rummel High School Hall of Fame, the Greater New Orleans High School Hall of Fame, the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2015, Archbishop Rummel High School’s basketball court was named the “Jim Robarts Court.” He coached 1102 games, with 708 wins, including 2 state championships, and numerous district championships and Final Four appearances. Coach always coached his players to be better men first, then better players. He loved coaching. He gave credit to his players for giving him such a successful career and loved them all.
Jim loved his family and friends deeply. Some of his happiest moments were with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and his friends. His family is most grateful for the kindnesses afforded Jim in recent years by these faithful friends. He could not have experienced as full a life in his final years without the help of his brothers-in-law and sister-in-law, Lester and Anthony Alfortish, and Robbye Alfortish. The generosity of his dear friends, who are many, gave him joy. He left a positive mark on this world. He will be missed.
The family will receive friends Monday, September 18 at St. Catherine of Siena Church. Visitation will begin at 10:00, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at noon. Private interment will follow at a later date.