LaPlante Jr., John Maurice John LaPlante died Saturday, April 14, 2007, in Galveston, Texas. He was 54. Visitation at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government St., was on Wednesday, April 18, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Visitation at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 2021 Stuart Ave., on Thursday from 9:30 a.m. until funeral Mass at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Gerald Burns presiding. Interment in Resthaven Gardens of Memory, 11817 Jefferson Highway. Friends will be received at St. Aloysius Church following interment. John was born in New Orleans on Jan. 31, 1953. He graduated from Mandeville High School before entering LSU, where he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and worked for The Daily Reveille, the student newspaper. He also covered politics for The Town Talk in Alexandria for several years. John was a veteran newspaper reporter and editor who spent more than 30 years covering state government, politics and other issues for The Advocate. Since 1998, he served as editor of the newspaper's Capitol news bureau, where he directed a six-person team that provided comprehensive coverage of legislative sessions, political campaigns and the daily workings of state government. John won respect from colleagues and politicians alike for his persistence, writing abilities and the fairness that he showed in his stories. His influential Sunday "Political Horizons" column won a huge following and often sparked comments from rank-and-file readers as well as top state officials. Even as an editor, John loved sifting through state government reports and covering press conferences and legislative hearings. He was a firm believer that reporters and editors alike owed it to their readers to get a first-hand look at issues that affected their daily lives. John was also a friend to the reporters whose work he oversaw. He performed countless acts of kindness for his colleagues that made working with him a pleasure. In December 2001, John was awarded a master's degree in journalism from LSU and taught both advanced and introductory journalism courses at the university in recent years. He was a member of several local and national professional organizations, including a longtime leadership role in the Press Club of Baton Rouge. John is survived by his wife, Merrill, daughter, Anne, age 16, and son, David, age 12. John was a devoted husband and father whose first priority was his family. As the second oldest of 10 children, he saw early on that every moment was an opportunity for learning or for teaching, and often both. He lived by this principle and never passed up an opportunity to stress the importance of education to his children. The legacy that he wanted to leave his children is that they be as curious as possible. Other survivors include his parents, John and Ann LaPlante of Mandeville; siblings, Barbara and husband Ron Chauvin, Jimmy and wife Tammy LaPlante, Joey LaPlante, Bill and wife Eileen LaPlante, Bobby and wife Patsy LaPlante, Larry and wife Linda LaPlante, Ann and husband Mark Doescher, Tim and wife Liz LaPlante and Betty and husband Mike Romero; 36 nieces and nephews; and six great-nieces and great-nephews. His contributions to the community are substantial. He believed that his own faith should be demonstrated by action to help those in need. John was a Boy Scout leader at St. Aloysius Church and directed the church's efforts to support Habitat for Humanity. He was a volunteer with the American Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina and could often be found in the weeks following the disaster distributing food in the affected neighborhoods of New Orleans. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the St. Aloysius Boy Scouts Summer Camp Scholarship Program, Habitat for Humanity or the Bishop Ott Shelter Program.
Published in TheAdvocate.com from Apr. 17 to Apr. 19, 2007