Two arrested as West St. John mourns Juan Joseph’s passing

Published 7:45 am Wednesday, November 19, 2014

From staff reports

EDGARD — The greater West St. John High School family and extended River Parishes community lost one their brightest stars, friends say, when Juan Joseph was killed last weekend in Baton Rouge.

Joseph, 27, was fatally shot at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday outside Allure Nightclub, at 4715 Bennington Ave.

Police said he was shot from a passing vehicle.

As a coach, former teacher and player at West St. John High, news spread rapidly of Joseph’s death, creating a hole in the community.

Joseph taught with the school district from 2011 to May of 2014 and was also helping guide this year’s playoff football team as a CECP coach, St. John the Baptist Parish Schools Superintendent Kevin George said.

George said Joseph had a “presence” at school and with students, exhibiting a connection with the students he worked with.

George said Joseph was always encouraging to football players, adding moments of instruction or reprimand were “done in such a way that he endeared himself to all the kids.”

Additional counselors were on hand at school Monday, and school district officials are monitoring if continuing services would be needed.

George said counselors met with the football team as a whole Monday, adding when funeral services are arranged, the school district would work to make accommodations for students and WSJ staff who wished to attend.

George said Joseph recently earned his master of business administration, and in May decided to pursue other career opportunities to further utilize his degree. However, his commitment to the school’s football players never changed.

Role Model

Veteran WSJ head football coach Robert Valdez described Joseph best as a role model.

“Every time he walked into a room, he brightened it up,” Valdez said. “He found a way to make everyone feel comfortable, found a way to listen to everyone and communicate with everyone on all levels. He was a very, very good person, a really humble young man.”

Valdez believed in Joseph enough to have him coach three sports — football, baseball and basketball — citing the young man’s knowledge, work ethic and way with students.

“(Joseph) loved working with our kids, and he challenged them to be good, to be the best they could be,” Valdez said. “When he was a student at West St. John, he embodied everything you’d like in a student-athlete. He was a tremendous student.”

Valdez said it is hard to deal with Joseph’s death because the WSJ family is a close-knit community, referencing the fact there has been little turnover on his coaching staff.

“We’re all like brothers, and he was our brother,” Valdez said. “The kids are going through the grieving process. We’ll stick together and pick up the pieces. The kids are looking to our coaches for strength, and our coaches are looking to these kids for it. We’ll see better days ahead.”


Joseph played defense on West St. John’s 2003 state championship team as a junior and quarterbacked the Rams’ 2004 state championship team as a senior.

At Division III Millsaps, Joseph was a three-time Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, the first to earn the recognition three times.

During his senior season, he passed for 3,140 yards, 31 touchdowns and led Millsaps to an 11-1 record and a top-12 ranking nationally in the poll.

He won the Conerly Trophy as the best college football player in Mississippi, edging out future NFL stars Michael Oher and Peria Jerry.

He is the older brother of former Southern University quarterback and WSJ star Dray Joseph, who finished his career as Southern’s all-time leading passer.


Former West St. John football coach and athletic director Laury Dupont coached Joseph at WSJ, saying he remembers when the boy showed up as an eighth grader.

“He didn’t come out for football until his junior year,” Dupont said.

“He wanted to play quarterback … He had the skills and he worked at it hard. He sat behind (quarterback) Josh Lumar and played on defense that first year, then took over as a senior.

“He threw a lot of balls after practice (as a junior), because he knew his time was coming. He was a real student of the game, and when he took over, he was more than ready.”

Dupont remembers Joseph as a tremendous athlete and better person.

“I feel real, real somber for his family,” Dupont said. “His mom and dad, they brought up he and Dray the right way. He was always happy, always smiling. He made the right choices in life. He always did the right thing. He was a great asset to the community, a role model type of person.

“He’s going to be deeply missed.”


Baton Rouge Police said Joseph, who lived in Edgard, was shot in Allure Nightclub’s parking lot around 2 a.m. Sunday after a brief argument with another male. Joseph was taken to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries.

On Tuesday morning, police named Kendric Letrell Cloud, 25, of Baker a suspect in the shooting, noting at the time the suspect was at large,

Police announced late Tuesday two suspects in the case are in custody.

Kendric Cloud turned himself into Baton Rouge authorities Tuesday, and police also arrested LeMark Cloud Monday for illegal use of a weapon and felony possession of a firearm for suspected role in the shooting.

Police said detectives are following up on leads and continuing the investigation.

Anyone with information relative to the shooting is urged to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at 225-389-3948 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.

Joseph was married with one daughter. The birth of his second child is expected this year.

A Memorial Fund has been established for the family of West St. John High School coach Juan Joseph.

Those interested can donate to his family by contributing at any Capital One Bank to “The Juan Joseph Memorial Fund.” The Account Number is 5628613569

L’OBSERVATEUR staff members Ryan Arena, Monique Roth and Stephen Hemelt contributed to this report.