Mom dedicated to children, hers and others

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 11, 1998

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / May 11, 1998

Linda Duhe describes herself as a homebody. She loves to cook and garden and stick close to the house with the cat, Allison, and the poodle, Happy Jack. But life for her has not all been flowers. The tragic loss 22 years ago of her eldest son, Rickey, cast a cloud over her heart. But she glories in her other children – Michael, 31, Kitty, 27, and Danielle, 15.”I think of him every day, where he’d work, where he’d live,” she said.

Linda is about as home-oriented as possible. She was born in a house at Fourth and Clayton in Norco, lived in an apartment at Fourth and Barreca for a brief time after her wedding and now lives at Fourth and Oak.She is married to Richard “Dickie” Duhe, currently the three-term St. Charles Parish councilman who is preparing to retire from Shell Oil later this year and has no plans to run for re-election.”I’ve always been proud of him,” she said. “I never worried about him becoming corrupted because he would never do anything to shame his children.”The couple met in 10th grade and became high-school sweethearts. They wed two years after graduation and, in rapid succession, had Rickey, Michael and Kitty. Twelve years after Kitty came Danielle.”Having a child late in life was hard in many ways,” Linda noted. “I was isolated from most of my friends whose own kids were all grown.”As a mother, however, she relishes her role and is grateful her husband is equally dedicated as a parent.

Husband Dickie first entered politics when he, served as constable for eight years. When he was first elected to the Parish Council, Linda recalls he was attending many late-night meetings and was concerned about the loss of quality time with Danielle.So, she said, they would schedule “dates” to go skating or to the movies, just to spend time together.

“He thinks his sole purpose in life is to indulge his children,” Linda said, smiling. “Since the day Rickey was born, the center of our lives has been our children.”Rickey, at 11, had just joined the baseball team at school and was at practice that day, April 2, 1976. He ran to catch a line drive batted to him by an older boy. The ball struck his glove and then his chest, crushing the left ventricle of his heart. He “Dickie was a basket case,” she recalled.

Linda’s taken some of that maternal energy and steered it toward the Louisiana Council on Child Abuse, the local chapter of which she was a founding board member in 1988.

The LCCA is an advocacy group for abused or neglected children and is working with Sheriff Greg Champagne to develop a center on Paul Maillard Road, Luling, where such victims can be interviewed by investigators in a safe, comfortable environment. The samNowadays, Michael is the public affairs officer at a U.S. Air Force base in Charleston, S.C., where he lives with his wife, Kelly. Kitty, a fifth-grade teacher at Norco Elementary, is preparing to switch to kindergarten. She is married to Kurt Brignac, a The Duhes are making big plans once Dickie retires from Shell. There’s the cruise to Hawaii and Dickie’s plan to tour World War II battlefields in France. Meanwhile, they’re keeping the pressure on for grandchildren.”I love being home and piddling around the house,” Linda said, adding whenever Michael comes home for a visit she has to have a stock pot filled with her specialty gumbo. He gobbles down as much as he can hold, then freezes the rest to take home.”Michael once said the best thing about growing up was coming home from school and knowing I was going to be there.”

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