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Rene Joseph Arceneaux

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Rene Joseph Arceneaux Obituary
Rene Joseph "Jack" Arceneaux



LAFAYETTE - A memorial service celebrating the life of Jack Arceneaux, 82, will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church in Lafayette at 11:00am on April 25, 2015. The Very Reverend Monsignor Robie Robicheaux, JCL, VJ will officiate. Jack passed away peacefully at his home in his beloved, "New Orleans Room" on March 27, 2015 at 7:44am. Family was with him and then shortly after, his Heart of Hospice team, as well as friends, were there. His body was donated to LSU Bureau of Anatomical Services in New Orleans. Cremated remains will be laid to rest in the family tomb in St. John's Cemetery in Lafayette, LA.

Jack was born on November 1, 1933 in Lafayette, LA to his parents, the late Eva Breaux Arceneaux and the late Harry Arceneaux. Jack graduated from Cathedral High School and then from The University of Southwestern Louisiana, USL (now University of Louisiana) with a degree in Music. It was in a college music class that he met the love of his life, Earllean, "Bootie" Hebert. They were married, October 1, 1955 and spent 58 years enjoying their life with one another, their family and their friends. Jack and Bootie have 5 children Jack, Kim, Kelly, Shelley and Greg. They always felt so blessed with their "gang".

Music, in every aspect, and especially percussion was his passion. His Jazz, Big Band and Dixieland music has been enjoyed by many. Jack had the privilege of being a drummer on the world wide hit by Dale and Grace, "I'm Leaving It Up To You" in the early 60's and fondly recalled his "jam sessions" with Jazz Great, Louis Armstrong.

His Military experience includes active duty Army with Battery C, 58th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas and with the 424th Army Band, 4th Army, at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. (He was a percussion soloist with the Concert Band, a drummer with the Dance Band and Jazz Septet, as well as, percussion player with the Television Show Band. He also became an instructor with the Concert Band.) After 8 years of service he received an honorable discharge. His decorations and awards included , the National Defense Service Medal and the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal.

His teaching experience includes music classes and band director at the following schools; Cathedral High School, Lafayette, LA; Hanson High School, Franklin, LA, Henry High School, Erath, LA, Meaux High School, Abbeville, LA, Mount Carmel High School (now Vermillion Catholic) Abbeville, LA, Carencro Catholic School, Carencro, LA and The University of Southwestern Louisiana USL (now ULL). He was a percussion clinician, as well as, an adjudicator for many south Louisiana music districts.

One of the highlights of Jack's band directing career came in the form of an invitation for his Mt. Carmel Eaglettes to represent Louisiana in Washington D.C. for the Inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.

They were also the chosen Color Guard at the Laying of the Wreath and Changing of the Guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Eaglettes were Louisiana's 1st all girl Drum and Bugle Corp. established in 1957. Jack was with the Eaglettes from 1957 to 1966.

From 1966 to 1971, at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, USL, Jack served as Marching Band Director, Assistant Concert Band Director, Percussion and Wind Ensemble Director and Co-Director of the Marimba Ensemble. He composed original works for the Wind and Percussion Ensemble to perform in concert. His most treasured piece was entitled, "Sketches of a Child's Dream", which was specifically written for his five children...each movement reflecting their unique personalities.

During his time as Band Director for "The Pride of Acadiana" Marching Band at USL, Jack designed all the half-time shows which included writing and arranging the music and choreographed the precision marching that was performed during all of the football half time shows. He also arranged music for the "Sweethearts", (USL's dance team). His "attention getting" arrangement of Aretha Franklin's song "Respect" was 1st performed in the late 60's at McNaspy Stadium. Thanks to the USL Sweetheart's request the song was played, the routine was performed, and the legacy lives on. The student body, fans and athletic department embraced it and it has become a part of UL tradition. On November 1, 2013 special recognition was given to him at the USL Sweetheart's Reunion and again, on November 2, 2013 recognition was given to him during the halftime show. "Respect" for the Ragin Cajuns will always be his gift.

Jack was involved in many music organizations which included: Louisiana Music Educators Association, Southwest Louisiana Band Directors Association, Louisiana Band Masters Association, Music Educators National Conference, USL Alumni Association, USL Association Board of Governors 1973 - 1977 and USL Alumni Band President 1973 - 1983.

Beyond music, if there was such a life, it would have included a few more aspects…His involvement with the Catholic Diocese, his joy of tennis at Red Lerilles and his love for the beach in Destin, Fl.

Jack served on the Bishops Board of Directors/ Family Life 1983 - 1991. He also served as director, along with Bootie, of pre-marital groups 1983 - 1991.

He also felt a true connection to, Our Lady of the Oaks in Grand Coteau, LA. Whether going on retreats or simply walking the grounds, it was a special place. His work with the Diocese brought dear friendships, too. He felt very blessed to have worked closely with Bishop Harry Flynn, as well as, Monsignor Robie Robicheaux. Father Robie became a cherished friend. Whether having lunch in one of their favorite restaurants, simply listening to good music or engaged in conversation, Jack enjoyed his friendship tremendously. Jack was also a Board member for St. Jules Credit Union. It was his last, special place to be a member of and felt honored to be part of the St. Jules family.

Jack enjoyed tennis at Red's with a true "Joie de Vie"! He made many friends, captained many teams and was grateful for it all, including Red Lerille and his family. Another "family" he will miss is that of his Cathedral High School Classmates. For the past several years, lunch on the 1st Thursday of the month was spent enjoying their company. Good food, good fellowship and friendships renewed and treasured.

The sunrise…the sunset, the serenity of the beach he loved so

dearly. Destin held some of his fondest memories. The memories

of family, friends and peace filled escapes…Jetty East, Sunshine Cottage,

Destin Pointe and The Castle will never be the same…

Jack is survived by his son Jack and his wife, Doreen, a daughter Kim and her husband Bill, a son Kelly and his wife Pam, a son Greg and his wife Tiffany. He has 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grand children.

He was proceeded in death by his daughter Shelley Loraine, his grandson, Jeremy James Trahan, his parents Eva and Harry Arceneaux and the love of his life, his wife Earllean "Bootie" Hebert Arceneaux.

For those friends who have gone before him…be it a trumpet player, a clarinet or trombone player, a bass or keyboard player, just know that your drummer is on the way…

Messages of condolences to be shared, may be sent to his daughter Kim at her e-mail address: [email protected]



Published in the The Advertiser on Apr. 19, 2015
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