Local architect Champeaux dies at 74

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Local architect Joe Champeaux — who worked on projects ranging from improvements to Goosport, the downtown pedestrian mall

and the lakefront’s original boardwalk — died Sunday at the age of 74.

Champeaux’s career spanned nearly 40 years and included working as a city planner for Lake Charles Mayor Jim Sudduth. He founded

his own firm in the early 1980s and retired in 2010.

The American Press interviewed Champeaux in September for its Forerunner series. Born in New Iberia, he said attended 11 different schools before

graduating high school.

Champeaux studied architecture at Tulane University and enlisted in the Air Force in 1963. He later earned a master’s degree

in urban design and city planning from Rice University.

After graduating, Champeaux worked briefly in Lafayette before moving to Lake Charles with his wife, the former Rosalie “Poddy”

Leveque. The two married in 1961.

Sudduth hired Champeaux as city planner

in 1968, a position he held for four years. During that time, he worked

on “Operation

GRIP,” a project to improve Goosport, which the city had recently

annexed. The GRIP stood for Goosport Responds in Planning.

Champeaux also worked on the downtown pedestrian mall in the late 1960s in an attempt to revitalize Lake Charles’ downtown

district. Landowners in the area approved the project, and it was completed in late 1971.

The development along the lakefront resulted in businesses moving from Ryan Street to Lakeshore Drive. Part of the mall was

torn down and repaved in 1989, and the rest was removed in 1996.