Bayouside: Just another inmate

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Just another inmate

It might be difficult for some, perhaps those too young to recall what occurred in 1996, to appreciate how much the actions of one deranged man could affect this entire community.

But they did.

And now, with his death sentence vacated, Chad Roy Louviere can melt into obscurity.

There is no reason for the former deputy turned kidnapper, rapist and killer to foul the ground of the Good Earth with his footfalls, shuffling like the chained and shackled beast that he is to hearing after hearing, from the vehicle that would bring him here from Angola and back again.

Louviere himself has not commented on the actions he took in a lonely Bull Run Road cane field, where he raped one woman after kidnapping her, nor at the former ArgentBank on Grand Caillou Road where he held female employees hostage for 25 hours, where he did rape and where he murdered Pamela Ann Duplantis, whose family still grieves.

I dare him to write and explain himself but am sure he won’t because he has already proven himself a coward.

The standoff at the bank, a venue seemingly chosen because Louviere’s estranged wife was an employee, was a seminal moment in local history. It came at a time when our community was just starting to recognize the impact of domestic violence, particularly on women. It came at a time when women in Terrebonne, in general, felt nonetheless protected and secure.

The bank standoff made clear that they were not.

During the 25 hours of the standoff and in years that followed, Louviere stole away our local society’s innocence. He damaged the way people interacted with law enforcement by disgracing his badge and his uniform.

It is possible, as doctors have claimed, in information that never was used in a trial because Louviere didn’t have one, that on the day of the siege he was suffering from a long-overdue breakdown, that at the time his acts were committed he was indeed insane. I’d personally rather believe that than think such evil can consciously be done by a human being. But I am not a doctor. And the weight of medical testimony was never considered by a trial jury in a court of law, because Louviere entered guilty pleas at the time, choosing to throw himself on the mercy of a jury whose sole job would be to determine if he lived or died.

The jury chose the latter, which is why many years later Louviere’s occasional presence at the Terrebonne Parish courthouse had to be endured by the judge, the victims, and so many other people who would rather never hear his name again.

Throughout Louisiana and the nation prosecutors are increasingly avoiding use of the death penalty specifically because its legal strings are so tangled, because it costs so much – much more than feeding and clothing a prisoner for natural life – and because it does the opposite of what many people presume it is capable of, which is providing closure to survivors after a heinous crime has been committed.

Rather, it re-opens wounds again and again.

Some say that summary execution is therefore a good idea, that if the penalty is carried out swiftly without avenues for appeal or potential civil relief, then justice more quickly prevails.

There is strength to those arguments. But they are countered by another approach, which is that death, being irreversible and permanent, must be as a penalty handled with greater care and greater scrutiny.

But these arguments need no longer apply to Louviere, who entered, this month, a new plea of guilty to first-degree murder and one to aggravated rape. In return his death sentence was vacated, and he agreed to not fight this outcome in any court again.

His name will have little reason to further appear in these pages until such time as he dies a prisoner. His next appearance in Terrebonne Parish will be in a box, and then only if his beleaguered family wishes to claim him. There are ample burial grounds at Angola.

The gods shall decide how many years Louviere will serve, not mere mortals.

And he shall now never have the opportunity to be a martyr, if to nothing else the cause of abolishing the punishment of death.

When he left Terrebonne Parish last Tuesday Louviere was just one more lifer, one more sorry mother’s son destined for life behind Angola’s bars.

No longer a cause celebre, he shall continue to rot.