Brother’s death inspires local man’s mission

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – When Steven Louque’s younger brother, James “Lil’ Jim” Louque, was killed in a motorcycle accident on March 19, 2009, Louque knew one thing for certain — he wanted to keep the memory of his sibling alive. Almost two years to the day later, his vision became a reality when Devin Duhon became the first recipient of the James “Lil’ Jim” Louque Scholarship.

The Louque boys grew up in Grande Pointe, so community was important to them. So important, in fact, that before his untimely death, James Louque wrote in a will that he would like his estate to go toward helping the community.

Although the will was not a legally binding document, Steven wanted to fulfill his brother’s wish.

“That was a big deal to me,” said Louque. “If he wrote it, he meant it.”

After much consideration, Louque decided the best way to honor the memory of his brother while simultaneously helping the community was to help students achieve what his brother never could — earn a college degree.

James Louque enrolled at Nicholls State University but barely had time to get settled in when his father succumbed to cancer. This unfortunate circumstance necessitated his return home.

For Steven Louque, the location to target with his generosity came almost as easily as the decision to carry out his brother’s wishes. Louque knew he wanted to keep the award local, and he wanted it to go somewhere where it would truly make an impact. He also remembered the heartfelt appreciation the staff and faculty at South Central Louisiana Technical College had shown when his family donated his brother’s tools and equipment to the school.

Given he and his brother’s interest in industrial maintenance, Louque decided a scholarship for students enrolled in that program would fit the bill.

He contacted the school’s administrator, Cindy Poskey, and started to set his plan in motion.

Louque formed a committee consisting of Dr. Andrew St. Martin, Jeanne Ory, Rep. Nickie Monica and alternate Michael Robicheaux.

”I wanted people in the community that were well-known,” said Louque.

Louque also created a stringent set of requirements for the twice-yearly $1,000 scholarship. Ultimately, however, this semester’s decision came down to one main factor.

“Devin was the hardest working guy of the four applicants,” Louque said.

He explained Duhon holds down two jobs and still maintains a high grade point average.

Although the awarding of the initial scholarship may seem like the culmination of months of hard work, for Louque the experience is just beginning. He has enough money to continue the award for at least 10 years and hopes that through wise investing he may be able to extend it beyond that.

The time frame, however, is not nearly as important to Louque as the memory and message behind the scholarship.

Said Louque, “I want to inspire others to have the desire to do the same thing.”