BR attorney’s hotel death under investigation

Police investigated on Friday the death of Baton Rouge environmental attorney and former state Assistant Attorney General Wilbert F. Jordan Jr. at a Denham Springs hotel Thursday night.

Jordan, 62, was pronounced dead after medical personnel attempted life-saving efforts at the Magnuson Hotel, 125 Rushing Road, according to a Denham Springs Police Department news release.

The case was not being investigated as a homicide as of Friday evening, police Cpl. Shawn Perkins said.

“There are no signs of foul play. We’re just not ruling anything out until we get the autopsy,” Perkins said.

The autopsy will be performed this weekend, he said.

Detectives were looking for a woman, no description, who was at the hotel at the time, and they were seeking to obtain video surveillance of her, according to the release.

“We believe she may have been the one who made the call for emergency medical assistance, but she was not there when officers arrived,” Perkins said. “So, we’re trying to find out who she is and tie up any loose ends.”

Jordan was a former assistant district attorney, assistant Baton Rouge city prosecutor and judge pro tempore, according to a biography at his law firm’s website.

He served as assistant secretary of environmental services for the state Department of Environmental Quality from May 2004 to January 2008.

DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch said Friday she was shocked by the news of Jordan’s death.

“Wilbert was an admired co-worker,” Hatch said. “It’s a terrible day for the DEQ family. I’m sad for his family and he will be sorely missed.”

Former DEQ Secretary Hal Leggett said Jordan had a welcomed sense of humor and brought a momentary escape during long days of recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

“Wilbert was a pleasure to work with as a teammate at LDEQ,” Leggett said. “He always had a smile and you could count on him for a good joke.”

“He was a good public servant. He will be missed,” Leggett said.

Jordan also had worked as an environmentalist for Olin Corp. and as a corporate industrial hygienist for Ethyl Corp.

He was a member of the Mississippi Louisiana State Bar associations, and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from the University of Southern Mississippi and his law degree from LSU.

Amy Wold and Steven Ward contributed to this report.