Memories of a life cut short

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

LAPLACE – The family and friends of Destiny Champagne gathered at Highway 51 Park in LaPlace on Sunday to honor her memory and reminisce on all of the lives she touched during her short time on earth. Destiny died as the result of a tragic accident in 2008, a little less than two weeks from her sixth birthday. Destiny would have been 10 years old last week.
The large family released balloons in all shades of pink because it had been the child’s favorite color. The family also took pains to ship hibernating butterflies so that they could be released during the ceremony. Destiny was a girly-girl who loved her family and was known to be intuitive of the feelings of others. Her favorite things were karate, butterflies, dancing, Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and “Finding Nemo.”
“She knew right from wrong. She knew when something wasn’t right and when somebody wasn’t feeling good,” said her grandfather, Terry “Boobie” Champagne. “I used to call her the crystal pink princess angel because she always loved princesses too.”
The child’s aunt, Verna Cambre, said “She was a big girl in a little body.”
Little Destiny had been at her grandparents’ house in LaPlace the evening of her death. Her grandfather,  said she had been sitting in the middle of the bed watching television and that he had just given her a snack of ham and Valentine’s Day cookies. He was gone for no more than a few minutes to check on the family dog when he came back and found her hanging from the bedpost, caught by a ribbon around her neck.
The family said that she and the other children had often climbed the headboard of the bed to reach the canopy though they were told not to. While climbing to the canopy of the bed, the ribbon had gotten caught on the bedpost. When she slipped from the top of the canopy, she accidentally hung herself.
Champagne noted that she had taken the ribbon from a present that they had been hiding for her upcoming birthday. It looked as if she’d tried to make a necklace with it.
“When she went up the post with the ham grease all over her hand…with her hands greasy she must’ve slipped and fallen off. She was right on the edge of the mattress,” said Champagne.
Destiny’s mother, Melissa Triche, said she is still not at peace with Destiny’s tragic accident. She said Destiny’s death is still hard to deal with but credits group counseling and the support of her husband, Jason Triche, for her improvement. Melissa said that Triche has been supportive even throughout his own brush with death in August, during the shooting that took the lives of St. John Parish Deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche. The family also believes that young Destiny had a hand in Jason’s miraculous drive to the hospital on the night he was shot.
“Jason would’ve never lived. The doctor doesn’t know how he made it there. He drove on the wrong side of Airline Highway in a cop car to the hospital and was almost out of blood. They don’t know how he got there. If he’d have waited for the ambulance, he’d have been dead,” said Cambre.
“That little girl got him to the hospital without any doubt in my mind. She was really, really an angel. It wasn’t just the look. There’s something people felt that would draw them to her,” said Champagne. “After this, there’s life after death. Without a doubt.”