LAFAYETTE, La. — It started off as a funeral home built over a Desoto car dealership. Now, 100 years later, Delhomme Funeral Home is still around. And why? Because of you and a matter of trust.
"Trust," says president Duane Delhomme. "In the funeral industry, trust and tradition is what keeps you going."
It's 19-21. Lafayette. And on the corner of Jefferson and East Cypress, Rene' Delhomme is juggling businesses: one earthly, and one with its eyes on heaven.
"Right at the underpass, where he had Delhomme Motors which was his Desoto automobile business; he had on the first floor where the cars were, and there was a mezzanine level where his office for the funeral home was," explains Duane, Rene's great-grandson.
By the mid-thirties, the car biz was no more, and Delhomme Funeral Home moved around the corner to Lee Avenue, eventually adding a second floor. That's where toddler Duane Delhomme lived with his parents, right above the funeral home.
"I used to have to take my cowboy boots off because my parents said I made too much noise running up and down the halls because I was disturbing everybody downstairs at the funeral home," laughs Duane.
A loan from Duane's great-grandmother Alice Boucher--- as in the namesake of the Lafayette school---helped solidify ownership. From there it was Rene's son Francis Felix, whose two sons Poochy and Duane's father Francis Boucher oversaw the transition from Lee Avenue to Lafayette locations on Moss Street and the current headquarters at Bertrand Drive.
"Everything around us was fields," recalls Duane. "USL at the time had pasture land right here."
There are now four members of the family working at Delhomme, although the next generation is just itching to get his hands onto things.
There are four locations: Lafayette, Broussard, Maurice and Scott; and Duane says the ultimate key to a century of success has been building relationships and being there when Acadiana residents have needed them.
"Until you sit down with a family, at probably the worst moment of their lives, and you're able to help them through that," begins Duane, "then you understand what being a funeral director is all about."
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