Loulan Joseph Pitre

1921 Cut Off, Louisiana – 2010 Cut Off, Louisiana



Continuation of tree (6th child of David Chabert Pitre/2nd Wife Evelide Bernadette Bruce); all known surname descendants:

                9           Loulan Joseph Pitre  b: 2 March 1921  Cut Off, Lafourche, LA; d: 17 October 2010  Cut Off, Lafourche, LA

                                      +Emelia Marie Chabert  b: 19 October 1925  Cut Off, Lafourche, LA; m: 1945 [Charles/Ellia Terrebonne]; d: 25 September 2021  Cut Off, Lafourche, LA

                               10        Holland Joseph Pitre  b: Abt. 1946 

                                               +Melanie Jean Newman  b: Abt. 1946; m: 20 January 1967  Baton Rouge, E. Baton Rouge, LA [James Lee/---] 

                               10        Kathleen Mary Ann Pitre  b: 8 June 1949  Raceland, Lafourche, LA; d: 11 June 1949  Raceland, Lafourche, LA

                               10        Glen Pitre 

                                              +Michelle Benoit 

                               10        Wayne Michael Pitre 

                                               +Amy Louise Peninger    m: 18 August 1973  Shreveport, Shreveport, LA [Floyd Lucius/Margaret Rosenblath]

                               10        Loulan 'J.D.' Pitre 

                                                +Tiffany Ellen Peperone    m: 17 March 2007  New Orleans, LA [Vincent William/Faith Wilson]   



Notes for Loulan Joseph Pitre:


- 1940 Cut Off, Lafourche, LA:  David Pitre 60 fisherman/own shrimp boat [$500 house value], wife Evelia 47, Wilson 23 fisherman/shrimps, Louland 19 fisherman/shrimps, Lester 18, Vesta 16, son-in-law Joseph L. Green 36 farmer/dredging lands, wife Euna 20.

- 1950 Lafourche, LA:  Loulan J. Pitre 29 proprietor service station, wife Emelia M. 24, Holland J. 3.

WWII Records:  Loulan Joseph Pitre, res. Cut Off, LA; b. 2 Mar 1921 Cut Off, LA; contact Mrs. David C. Pitre (Cut Off, LA); 6', 174 lbs., brown eyes & black hair, light complexion; 16 Feb 1942 Thibodaux, LA.


Obituary:  Wednesday, 20 October  2010:  Loulan Joseph Pitre Sr., 89, a lifelong resident of Cut Off, on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010, finally stopped debating every subject imaginable with anyone lucky enough to encounter him.  Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 15300 West Main St. (La. 1) in Cut Off. Mass will be held at noon Thursday at the church, with interment immediately following.  He is survived by his wife of nearly 65 years, Emelia Chabert Pitre; four sons, Dr. Holland Pitre and wife, Melanie, Dr. Wayne Pitre and wife, Marie, Glen Pitre and wife, Michelle Benoit, and former state representative Loulan Pitre Jr., J.D., and wife, Tiffany Peperone; five grandchildren, Gannon, Laura, Jason, Emilie and Mathieu; two great-grandchildren, Nicholas and Audrey; and one sister, Vesta Pitre Suer.  Pitre was born March 2, 1921, the son of David C. Pitre of Cheniere Caminada and Evilide “Bee” Bruce of Cut Off.  He left school in the ninth grade because his family could not afford to buy him shoes, and began working on the family oyster lugger, the Baltimore.  As a youth his nickname was “Scrap,” reflecting two lifelong affinities: collecting junk and lively contrariness.  Pitre enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942 and rose to the rank of staff sergeant.  Serving aboard the battleship Idaho, Pitre fought in the Aleutians, the Marshalls, the Marianas, Guam, Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Ulithi and Okinawa, where he survived a kamikaze attack.  On Sept. 2, 1945, he witnessed the Japanese surrender ceremonies from the deck of his ship in Tokyo Bay.  After the war, Pitre returned to his hometown, married his sweetheart and built them a house with his own hands.  In between his career as rig-builder, commercial fisherman and captain of virtually every boat type in the Louisiana oilfields, Pitre was an avid hunter, gardener, beekeeper and reader.  He would serve as commander of the Gros-Guidry VFW Post and leader of Boy Scout Troop 390.  He ran for several offices, each time explaining his loss as “obviously the public is saving me for something higher.”  Indeed.  Renowned as a storyteller, Pitre’s tales were featured in various books, films and stage performances, including at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and attracted the attention of world-famous documentary filmmaker Richard Leacock and legendary anthropologist Allan Lomax.  Pitre also occasionally worked as a movie actor, including give and take scenes with Oscar winners Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, and was best known internationally for his role as the Sheriff in Belizaire the Cajun, directed by his son.  He had been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines, including, just weeks before his death, being quoted on the front page of the New York Times.  Pitre died peacefully at his son’s home surrounded by family.  Maintaining his well-known sense of humor till the end, his near-to-last words were, “I see the Reaper circling; I keep trying to wave him off, but he just won’t listen.”  In lieu of flowers, you may send a donation to the Regional Military Museum, P.O. Box 10247, Houma, LA 70363.  Falgout Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

THIBODAUX - When Loulan Pitre died at 89 on Sunday, he “finally stopped debating every subject imaginable with anyone lucky enough to encounter him.”  Those were the opening words of his obituary, penned by one of his four sons, and a fitting line for those who knew him best.  The only one who might have disagreed would have been Pitre himself.  “He would probe you to find out what you believe in and would immediately take the other side,” said Glen, one of Pitre’s sons. “Then he’d switch sides to convince you back.”  Rep. Jerry “Truck” Gisclair, D-Larose, said he considered Pitre a worthy debater. The two would regularly spar when Pitre called into Gisclair’s radio show on KLRZ, “The Rajun’ Cajun,” a radio station in Larose that Gisclair owns.  “His knowledge was just so deep on every subject that we’d cover, from fishing to engineering of levees,” he said. “We’d have a great conversation.”  Holland, another son, said his dad simply enjoyed debating.  “He would wear his Obama T-shirt just to start stuff,” he said. “He loved discourse and discussion.”  Pitre was a lifelong resident of Cut Off, born March 2, 1921.  “He grew up in a home where not only was English not the first language, it wasn’t spoken at all,” Holland said. “His parents never spoke English, only Cajun French.  He had to learn English, and his parents never learned it.”  Pitre worked on the family’s oyster lugger after dropping out of school in the ninth grade because his parents could not afford to buy him shoes.  He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942, achieving the rank of staff sergeant. He served on the battleship Idaho and fought in the Aleutians, the Marshalls, the Marianas, Guam, Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Ulithi and Okinawa.  On Sept. 2, 1945, he witnessed the Japanese surrender ceremonies from the deck of his ship in Tokyo Bay.  He returned to Cut Off after the war, married Emelia Chabert Pitre and worked as a rig-builder, commercial fisherman and boat captain.  “His life was one of the modified American dream,” Holland said. “He came back determined his kids would have a better life than he did.”  Holland and Wayne are doctors. Loulan Jr., now an attorney, served as a state representative in the seat Gisclair took over.  Glen is a screenwriter and film director.  “We all see bits of him in ourselves,” Glen said.  “We all decry how much we have become pack rats like he was.”  Glen said he remembers his father giving Robert Duvall acting tips on the set of “Belizaire the Cajun,” a 1986 film Glen wrote and directed.  “This is right after Duvall won an Oscar for best actor,” he said.  Pitre played the sheriff in the movie.  Loulan Jr., a Harvard-educated attorney, said his dad had no qualms giving him legal advice.  “He’d even give it to me and I’m an attorney,” he said.  “He was brilliant and completely self-educated.”  Pitre was also a fan of the outdoors, an avid hunter, gardener and beekeeper.  Holland said that Pitre got lost in the woods one night during a hunting trip near the family’s cabin in St. Francisville almost 10 years ago.  After hours of unsuccessful searching, Holland called the police, and a helicopter was eventually used to search for him.  “He’s 80 years old at the time,” Holland said. “My mother really thought he was dead.”  But after an entire night and most of the next day searching, “here he comes out of the woods, we were all speechless, and he says: ‘Worst night I’ve spent since Iwo Jima.’ ”  He was also a notorious do-it-yourselfer.  “The first repairman of any stripe that he ever hired was for his heart bypass surgery when he was 80,” Glen said.  “If something went down, he fixed it. Fortunately he was very good at fixing things.”  His sons rattle off dozens of stories about their father, adventures the family will never forget.  “I think if there’s anything I learned from him, it’s that nothing is impossible,” Glen said.  “If something was wrong, you should go after it.  If something needed doing, you should do it.”


Tombstone Inscription, Sacred Heart Cemetery, Cut Off, LA:  Loulan Joseph Pitre Sr. / SGT US Marine Corps / World War II / Mar 2, 1921 - Oct 17, 2010 / Kathleen Mary Ann Pitre / June 8, 1949 - June 11, 1949


Notes for Emelia Marie Chabert:

Obituary:  The New Orleans Advocate (LA), Wednesday, 29 September 2021:  Emelia "Me-Min" Chabert Pitre left this life as quietly and nobly as she lived for 95 years.  COVID-19 claimed her on a beautiful sunny day, September 25, 2021, only a few weeks after Hurricane Ida dropped a large tree upon her beloved simple home in the Cajun French village of Cut Off, Louisiana.  Me-Min was a child of the Great Depression, born October 19, 1925, in Cut Off.  She was the third child and eldest daughter of Charles Chabert and Elia Terrebonne.  She spoke French as a first language, learned English at school, and came of age during World War II.  She graduated from Cut Off High School and rejected an offer of scholarship to Southwest Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette).  Instead, she attended Spencer Business College in New Orleans, where her typing was too slow for secretarial work, so she completed training as a bookkeeper.  Upon the end of the war in 1945, she married her inimitable sweetheart, Loulan Pitre.  She raised four sons, but she always regretted the loss of her only daughter, Kathleen, who lived three days.  Most of all she believed in simplicity and frugality.  She carried herself with an elegance more commonly accompanied by wealth or fame, neither of which interested her.  She refused ornamentation and would never throw away food, not even a small quantity of rice.  Her steady, quiet intelligence provided a worthy counterpoint to her more demonstrative husband.  She would pose philosophical queries as serious as "What is money but paper?" and as light-hearted as "What's a pun, son?"  In 1970, she stubbornly accepted demotion from employment by the United States Census for refusing to distort the count.  She then founded a small business selling stationery and wedding invitations.  Her method for cooking gumbo and her definition of "Cajun" were featured by the New York Times in 1976, and she frequently acted in her son's films, but only because he asked.  Later she became the Chief Financial Officer/bookkeeper of her son's internet business and film distribution company, where she learned to use a computer but amusingly referred to it as "they."  She told her boys-Holland, Wayne, Glen, and Loulan Jr.-that they could do whatever they wished despite humble resources.  She sought neither to push nor to dampen her four sons' ambitions and wanderings.  She was loyal to them as they each obtained bachelor's degrees and more: the first an M.D., the second another M.D., the third an honorary Ph.D. and a knighthood from France, and the youngest son a J.D.  She always welcomed them home with open arms and interrupted every departure with "But you just got here."  She was even more loyal (sometimes to her sons' confusion) to Loulan Sr., her provocative husband for 65 years.  She was kind and patient, traits memorable to all who knew her.  Her passing is a huge loss, but her life a greater inspiration.  Me-Min was preceded in death by her husband, Loulan, and is survived by four sons, Holland Pitre, MD and wife Melanie, Wayne Pitre, MD and wife Marie, Glen Pitre and wife Michelle Benoit, and former State Representative Loulan Pitre, Jr., JD and wife Tiffany; by seven grandchildren, Gannon, Laura, Jason, Emilie, Mathieu, Loulan III, and namesake Ellen Emelia; by three great-grandchildren, Nicholas, Audrey, and Marigny; and by two sisters, Nina Bourg and Dora Curole.  The family will mourn privately and defer a service until a later date.  In lieu of flowers, you may send a donation in the name of Emelia Chabert Pitre to your choice of the LSU Foundation or the Harvard College Fund.


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Items in RED verified from transcriptions in the following:

- South Louisiana Records: Church and Civil Records of Lafourche-Terrebonne Parishes  (Rev. Hebert)

- Some Louisiana deaths in RED taken from obituaries or the Louisiana Deaths collection (which includes spouses/parents).

- Some birthdates in RED taken from Social Security records based on obituary/tombstone inscription deathdate.


Last updated:  17 June 2022.