Community leader, attorney Leon Rittenberg, Jr. held Wednesday
LEON HIRSCH RITTENBERG, JR., a major community leader and leading attorney-at-law, died peacefully with his family by his side on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.
He was larger than life, classic New Orleans, and dedicated to his family, friends, community and profession. A native New Orleanian, he spent almost his whole life here save for a few years of school and a few weeks for Hurricane Katrina.
Rittenberg’s maternal roots traced back to 1836. Like his father and his son and grandson, he chose to learn the law and practice a commitment to the Jewish community and the greater community-at-large.
Rittenberg was noted for having an encyclopedic knowledge of his extended family, developing valued relationships with relatives from London to California and everywhere in between. He attended Metairie Park Country Day School for 10 years and graduated high school from The Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut.
In 1956, he graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before returning to enroll at the Tulane University School of Law in 1959. At Tulane, he was on the Board of Editors of the Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. He practiced law in New Orleans for 59 years. He credited his professional longevity to his love of the law. He considered the practice of law a hobby and not a job. It was an impactful hobby – he supported hundreds of local businesses and individuals through a myriad of mundane and momentous challenges.
Rittenberg was a certified public accountant and a Board Certified Tax Attorney and an Estate Planning and Administration Specialist
Rittenberg loved to go fishing with his family and friends. He once famously required his son to sign an affidavit, swearing (despite all evidence to the contrary) that his father was the “best fisherman in the world,” in return for a ticket to attend the Super Bowl. He was a founding member of the Krewe of Bacchus, an honorary director from 1976 to 2005 and a member for 50 years.
Continuing a family tradition, Rittenberg was also a philanthropist. He supported the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, the United Way of New Orleans, Metairie Park Country Day School, Ochsner Foundation, the Red Cross, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the International Myeloma Foundation, together with many other not-for-profits.
He received the Jewish Federation’s Endowment Achievement Award in 1990, and in 1996 the Young Family Award for Professional Excellence by the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana.
He was president of the Board of Trustees of Touro Synagogue in New Orleans from 1974-76, a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Friends of Touro Synagogue National Historic Shrine 1977-1991, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Vieux Carré Property Owners and Association 1966.
He was also chairman of the Central Area Council of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce 1975-1976. He served as president of the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Club of Louisiana 1965-2004, president of the Jewish Endowment Foundation 1991-1995 and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Metairie Park Country Day School 1991-1992.
Rittenberg is survived by his wife of 56 years and the love of his life, Cynthia Neuwirth Rittenberg; his sister Katerine Rittenberg Samuels of St. Louis and Naples, FL; his sons Leon Hirsch Rittenberg, III (Heather) and Andrew P. Rittenberg (Amy); his daughter Babette Rittenberg: and five grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Jewish Endowment Fund of Louisiana, Ochsner Foundation Hospital, Touro Synagogue, or the Rittenberg Scholarship Fund for Underprivileged Children at Metairie Park Country Day School.
Graveside funeral services were held on Wednesday, January 12 at 11:00am at Hebrew Rest Cemetery #2 located on Frenchman Street at Pelopidas Street. Rabbi Katie Bauman officiated with assistance from Cantor Kevin Margolis.
Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery and Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.