Remembering Cary Chavis (1985-2022)

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 8:59 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Many in Lake Charles remain stunned at the sudden death of Cary Chavis this past weekend. So far, no cause of death has been released by the coroner. Chavis was a man who was involved in the community at many levels.

Chavis, 36, was found dead Saturday afternoon.

Chavis was truly many things to many different people. That’s whether he was fighting for social change or trying to help young people be their best.

Those who knew him best say Cary Chavis wanted to make the world a better place for everyone. A dedicated son, relative, friend. He touched many lives as seen by the tremendous outpouring of sadness about his passing.

Over the last couple of years Chavis was a social activist - one courageously fighting for change.

In 2020 he was involved in a campaign to get the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury to remove a statue of a Confederate soldier from the grounds of the old parish courthouse.

“While the police jury has decided in this moment that Black lives do not matter, Black dollars do matter. And that is important right now that the green money that we spend at different businesses and organizations matter to people, and that we should not spend them as well as our white allies shouldn’t spend that money,” said Chavis.

Yet, those close to him say Chavis was much more. He seemed to be drawn to those aiming to do good, such as his best friend, Shikiyla Simon, who left Louisiana to teach school in Nigeria. She inspired him.

“Everything I’ve known about her comes down to servitude. And she’s like the perfect servant from God. She’s taught me, how to love people better. So, to extend that heart to people in Africa - it’s going to be incredible,” Chavis said in a 2018 interview.

And he enjoyed lifting up others especially those he considered good role models for youth.

“It’s really important for people to have a visual image of what brilliance is and for young people, especially African American girls. And in the ‘90s, Cynthia Arceneaux was that image,” he said in a story about Cynthia Arceneaux of KPLC-TV.

Judge Ron Richard is a close friend and former mentor. Richard describes Chavis as a “force of nature whose legacy of inspiring young people to greatness through debate programs, critical thinking and self respect is of historic significance to Lake Charles.”

And Richard said, “He was my dear friend. Myself and Lake Charles are a little bit ‘less’ today, due to his tragic passing.”

Chavis himself said, in 2015, “Speech and debate helps students to think critically, to learn how to basically present themselves in a persuasive way and also it helps them in real life settings. So, learning these skills today will help them tomorrow.”

Judge Cynthia Guillory described Chavis as a man committed to see change in our community and world.

“He was an awesome man, dedicated to his craft.,” she said. “He would not release a video or audio until the scene, lighting, sound and content was perfect and to his satisfaction.”

“When he said that he supported you, he went all in. I am so proud to consider Cary a friend,” she said.

Retired Judge Ron Ware said he was shocked and heartbroken to hear of Chavis’ death.

“We’ve lost a good, honest, and special man. His community activism speaks for itself. Cary was very affable and easy to be around and work with. This community has suffered a great loss,” said Ware.

At last word, arrangements had not been finalized.

This afternoon the family released the following information:

Cary Allen Chavis, a brand Architect. His motto is “I tear it down and rebuild it.”

Born on July 18, 1985 to Donald and Marjorie Robinson Chavis. He is the youngest of two siblings.

Cary assumed a leadership role as a young child. He always believed in God knowing that through God, All things are possible.” He never accepted “no to any situation.” He always prayed and found a better solution to any problem.

He, following his parent’s educational and community advocacy for a better tomorrow, especially for North Lake Charles.

He worked diligently with the youth. He made them see something greater in each of them. He was a Great Debater of Wiley College and brought that knowledge with him to produce a winning statewide debate team at Washington Marion High School. He organized the Great Debaters of the IMPACT AGENCY. He also used his skills during the summer at the Upward Bound Program.

Cary believed; Cary worked; and Cary gave of himself 24-7 because of his love for humanity. Yes, he had formal education from Washington Marion, Wiley College, and McNeese State University.

Cary had great mentors such as Judge Ron Ware, Judge Gene Thibodeaux, Former D. A. John Derosier, and so many others. Because of their impact on him, he reached out to save many. His legacy lives on with his family, friends, former students, and mentees.

He said and lived the life, that if you tear it down, with God I’ll build it back up!

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