Lucas Henry Ehrensing P.E. passed away in the early morning hours on Sunday, July 5, 2020, just shy of his 75th birthday.
He was the beloved husband of Gayle Weidner Ehrensing for fifty years. He was the devoted father of their three children: Elizabeth Ehrensing Bush (Peyton IV), Lucas Henry Ehrensing, Jr. (Adrienne) and Peter William Ehrensing. He was most proud of his five grandchildren: Charlotte, Peyton V, William Bush and Olivia and Lucas III. Also survived by his brother Dr. Rudolph Henry Ehrensing (Gayle, deceased) and his sisters Mary Ehrensing (Vincent, deceased), Alhen Green (Leo), Gretchen Yandle (Elwood) and thirty-four nieces and nephews.
A native New Orleanian, Lucas was born on July 29, 1945 to Alma and Henry Ehrensing. He was the youngest of five children. He attended LaSalle Elementary on Webster and Perrier and graduated from Jesuit High School. He was a fourth generation graduate from Tulane University, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and stayed active as an alumni for many years.
Lucas and Gayle met in college and married two years later when he was leaving for Okinawa. A proud Marine, he served his country as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. He was commissioned in 1969 and deployed to the Western Pacific during the Vietnam War, serving in the Infantry and Intelligence. During the next twenty years, Lucas and Gayle travelled the world visiting five of the continents.
He spent his career in the construction industry as a contractor and engineer, specializing in highway and street design, hydrology and hydraulics, designing roadway drainage systems and airfield construction. He was an employee, co-owner, then owner and President of Thigpen Construction Company. For forty years, he built his business on hard work and tireless dedication. Retiring to Chairman of the Board, he was proud to pass the business on to his sons.
After Hurricane Katrina, he was asked to be a member of the Independent Levee Investigation Team, which received funding from the National Science Foundation. The team produced the influential report “Investigation of the Performance of the New Orleans Flood Protection Systems in Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005.” He served on the advisory committee for the Louisiana State Museum’s exhibition “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond.”
He was a member of the Associated General Contractors of America, several Carnival organizations, the School of Design, The New Orleans Country Club and a longtime member of Little Lake Hunting Club.
He was a character in every sense of the word. He gave everyone a special nickname. He had a passion for all things historic. An avid reader, he was a wonderful storyteller and could speak with remarkable depth on almost any subject. His many nieces and nephews treasured his wealth of knowledge and always said “He made you laugh but he also made you think.”
Many summers were spent with friends and family on his barge “The Red Lady” in his special heaven on earth, Breton Island, or hunting at Little Lake Club where he was an active member for 35 years.
He was a generous and giving man with a deep personal faith who helped many people throughout his life holding his family and friends dear.
Unfortunately, due to government regulations, only 25 relatives and friends are allowed to attend the memorial Mass at in the J. Garic Schoen Chapel on Monday, July 13th at 11 am at JACOB SCHOEN & SON FUNERAL HOME, 3827 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119. Visitation will begin at 10:00 am and continue until Mass time. However, it will be live-streamed and can be found under the “Tributes” section of www.schoenfh.com. Interment will be in the family tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #2. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Jesuit High School, 4133 Banks Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70119. Condolences may be expressed at www.schoenfh.com