He studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.
His cousin William A. Freret, also an architect, and son of New Orleans mayor William Freret, designed the Old Louisiana State Capital, Baton Rouge, and headed the Office of the Supervising Architect in Washington, D.C.. James designed the Moresque Building together with William. James designed many residences in and near New Orleans.
- Moresque Building, New Orleans, LA (with William A. Freret) Destroyed by fire in 1897.
- Board of Trade building, New Orleans, LA
- Lemann Store, 314 Mississippi St. Donaldsonville, LA (Freret,James), NRHP-listed
- Administration Building of the Spring Hill College Quadrangle, 4307 Old Shell Rd. Mobile, AL (Freret,James), NRHP-listed
- One or more works in Upper Central Business District (Boundary Increase II), roughly bounded by O'Keefe, Poydras, Convention Center Blvd., St. Rt. 90 and Howard Ave. New Orleans, LA (Freret and Wolf), NRHP-listed
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Freret.|