Bayou Gauche man killed in boat crash remembered as loving father

Left behind wife, three children

Remembered as a man who “loved his wife and kids more than life,” Bayou Gauche resident Bart Dufrene Jr.’s death from a boat crash stunned the close-knit community Monday.

“I knew we loved him but to see his picture all over Facebook … shows how loved he was,” according to  Brittany Dempster, a close friend. “And you can’t forget racing … that boy loved his racing. He gave nicknames to everybody or phrases … and had a way of making them stick.”Dempster said Dufrene was a simple guy with so much to love about him.

“I don’t know what to say except his smile and laugh were super contagious … such a great guy all around.”Dufrene, 35, was killed Monday around 3 p.m. when the mud boat he was operating collided with an airboat from Des Allemands-based Airboat Tours by Arthur in Lafourche Parish.Dufrene was a production operator at Monsanto and a graduate of Hahnville High School. He had a wife and three children (two sons and a daughter).

The collision occurred near Mud Lake along Bayou Des Allemands, according to Capt. Chuck Comeaux with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) District 6 office.

Survivors on the airboat told LDWF that the mud boat and airboat were traveling in opposite directions on the same side of the bayou and collided while navigating a bend in the bayou.

The two collided in “a head-on manner in a blind curve,” Comeaux said.

“Dufrene Jr. was ejected into the water and recovered by the airboat operator,” according to the LDWF. “The airboat operator was then able to transport Dufrene Jr. to the shore where an ambulance was waiting to transport him to the St. Charles Parish Hospital.”

Dufrene was pronounced dead at St. Charles Parish Hospital.According to the LDWF, the St. Charles Parish Coroner’s Office will perform an autopsy to determine a cause of death.”

Arthur Matherne, owner of Airboat Tours by Arthur, and his wife, Kathy, declined to comment about the accident. But Kathy did say the family was devastated over losing a friend and someone they consider a family member.

Comeaux also declined to name the airboat operator in the accident with the incident still under investigation.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman James Grimaldi said they responded to the accident, but the LDWF has jurisdiction over recreational boating accidents.

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office also confirmed assisting at the scene.

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