We lost a good one, and he will be sorely missed.
Leroy, from next door (Cinnamon’s Bakery), delivered the news our good friend and compadré Darrell Derouen had passed away.
Darrell was a regular, first at Leroy’s for morning coffee, and then over to my shop for a good session of b.s. to start the day. Topics of conversation covered a wide range, and you never had to guess where Darrell was coming from on each one. It was refreshing to hear a person’s viewpoint come straight from the heart, with plenty of verbs in his sentences.
Most of our political conversations were x-rated and laced with hardcore profanity. Starting with the federal government, we regularly burned politicians severely before moving on to the state level. In today’s very politically correct world, our conversations were completely and unabashedly out-of-bounds. It was always a cathartic process, allowing us to vent our gripes and concerns in no uncertain terms. Often, unsuspecting customers would waltz in and join right into the fray. If you ever had any doubt about where Darrell was coming from, you would have to have been blind, deaf and dumb.
His passion was hunting, and he’d light up at the mere mention of it. When he got really excited, he’d hustle out to his truck to retrieve his laptop, and we’d pore over beaucoup pictures of different bucks he’d set his sights on. It was inspiring to watch as Darrell’s intensity level increased with each buck.
The only breaks came when he’d lose his 16 ounce cup of coffee and head back to Leroy’s for a fresh cup.
Darrell was a pioneer in archery: very successful in scoring whitetail deer with a wooden, recurve bow — long before such archery became the popular sport it is today. His mission carried him from the piney woods of Ragley, La., to the King Ranch in south Texas to the Canadian wilderness, and later to midwestern Kansas. His success rate at all locations was exceptional. His unwavering goal was to score the best buck in the area, and more often than not, he succeeded.
His second favorite spot was the tight confines of a pit blind, where he outsmarted ducks and geese right here in sweet home Louisiana. The trick was in keeping up with him as his long strides picked up speed as we approached the blind. He was never happier than when he could turn a friend onto a good hunt.
Darrell’s reputation as a cook and connoisseur of fine food was second to none. He never met a piece of meat he couldn’t turn into a delicacy, and the more people that showed up the merrier. His cookouts were legendary and a staple of the good life in Louisiana.
He was in his element and contented as a pig in slop serving up a good meal. He was what the old Cajun cooks called a “natural.” He personally saw to the fact you were never allowed to leave until you were overly stuffed.
To say Darrell was a family man would be an understatement. His kids and grandkids were his absolute favorite subject. They were his pride and joy; it was easy to discern. Their endeavors and accomplishments in life were his focus, and a source of great pride and happiness. Ask about them, and you could see the light come on and glow brightly.
Darrell left an indelible mark on so many of his long list of friends and family. He was a unique person who led a full and successful life with gusto. The brotherhood of outdoorsmen who were acquainted with him shared a special bond that will always remain. May he rest in peace.