Attorney Rene Calvin Metoyer (1858-1937)

In 1925, when a young A. P. Tureaud returned to his native city of New Orleans, as a young Howard-educated lawyer, he opened practice in the offices shared by Rene C. Metoyer and Joseph A. Thornton at 612 Iberville Street. The veteran barrister Metoyer, gave Tureaud not only a space in which to work, but a context or framework in which to work – one which was inspired by the past and by the spirit which is Creole New Orleans.

Rene Calvin Metoyer was born on 8 September 1858 in Natchitoches, Louisiana to cotton planter, Hyppolite Metoyer, and his wife, Julia Chevalier. Metoyer was descended from an old Louisiana family, which was dominant in the Cane River country. He was a descendant of Claude-Pierre Thomas Metoyer and Marie-Therese dite Coincoin.

His family moved to New Orleans during the Civil War in 1863, settling in the Fourth Ward. This section of the city was home to many of its political leaders, among them P.B.S. Pinchback. Metoyer was a lifelong friend of men such as James Madison Vance, Jr. and Walter L. Cohen. He attended the school attached to Saint Phillip’s Episcopal Church and later the Straight University. He graduated from the Law Department of that institution on 6 April 1886. On that same day, he was admitted to practice before the Louisiana Supreme Court. He clerked in the firm of Rouse and Grant before entering his own practice.

Metoyer practiced for over forty years in New Orleans. He was appointed a notary public on 27 June 1917, an honor only once before given to a man of color, Louis-Andre Martinet. Rene Metoyer was a thirty-third degree Mason and member of Fusion Lodge No. 23, Scottish Rite. He was also a past president of the Société des Jeunes Amis and a congregant of the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church. He married Francis Echols (the Widow J. A. Smith) on 16 October 1884. Attorney and Mrs. Metoyer left no children.

Rene Calvin Metoyer died on 27 October 1937 in his seventy-ninth year. He was interred in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 3, very near his lifelong friend, Walter L. Cohen.

Source: Times-Picayune, 30 December 1913, page 30; Times-Picayune, 28 October 1937, page 14.

J.C.L.H.

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