On his second date with Dee La Vergne and Peter Piazza, he answered a phone call about a chemical spill near Plaque Mins. Lafayette’s videographer at the time (late 1970s) had to get down there to shoot, but instead of changing her schedule, she asked her to tag her.
They took a long drive and in the summer heat with other media, “Don’t tell me where I went” when Piazza sneaked away to get closer to the action in an ambulance. I waited until I whispered.
He didn’t go for five and a half hours and Lavergne was stuck in his car without a key. She sat inside until she couldn’t stand the heat, and she stood outside and repeated until she couldn’t catch the mosquitoes.
When he finally came back, he was thrilled with the pictures he was able to take.
“He loved adventures. He lived adventures,” she said more than 40 years later, now at Piazza Dee La Vergne.
She was angry with him, but perhaps it was his passion for his work, or his adventurous spirit that made her look past it.
Perhaps she admits that it was his dish. To get her to agree on the third date, she said, Piazza said her magical words, “I can make you shrimp shrimp.”
“I tell people that I got married to him because he was able to cook,” she said with a laugh.
When Piazza died on January 20, at the age of 71, the two married for nearly 44 years. His wife and his family cherish memories of his food, photographs, love, etc., but they are not the only ones.
For 37 years from the 1970s to 2012, he met many people as a photojournalist and editor of The Daily Advertiser. He continued to shoot after his retirement, working with local as well as national and international publications to talk about shooting.
He coached many ambitious photographers both inside and outside of work and spoke with classes at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and local high school students.
“Whenever a young person wants to learn that he is very excited,” his wife said. “He felt that his picture was a gift from God and he was calling to share it.”
Photo: Love at first sight
Piazza found love and gifts and began taking pictures after a student at Abbeyville High School handed him a brownie camera. He continued to hone his photography and darkroom skills at Northwestern State University in Nakitosh, and during his decades of career at Acadiana.
When he was young, he began his journalism career in the local newspaper Abbeville Meridional and joined the advertising staff at the age of 21.
Piazza spent most of his photography career as an advertiser in two stints, during which he worked as a videographer for KLFY Channel 10.
“The picture was his professional call, but Peter’s love, both inside and outside of work, met the people of Acadiana, listened to them, and always saw something unique and unusual in everyday life.” And read his obituary. “It was not uncommon for him to make a sudden U-turn to take a picture of what caught his eye as he went in and out of work assignments and personal trips.”
This career also offered him awards and unique opportunities. Some of his most important photographs were with Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, and several political celebrities at five presidential meetings. According to his obituary, he considered his most difficult mission to be many natural disasters he covered.
Adventure leads to lifelong friendship
As his wife discovered on the second day, Piazza’s colleagues will see his adventurous spirit appear in his homework. Mike Hasten, the state editor of The Advertiser from 1980 to 2014 and later the director of the capital, met Piazza in the late 1970s.
With various dissertation assignments, they shared a National Guard helicopter to see the floods in the Morgan City area. The lights began to flash and the sirens rang, signaling the need for an emergency landing.
“When the helicopter started rocking from side to side, I was with other reporters, but Pete was in the gunner’s foam towards the back of the plane and didn’t know what was going on,” Heisten said. I recalled. “The crew jumped out, armed with a fire extinguisher aimed at us. The pilot found a loose wire, twisted the frayed end, and put it back in the hole in the instrument panel.
“It was my first adventure with Pete,” Heisten said.
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But that won’t be the last. When Hasten joined the advertiser in 1980, they formed a bond, camped with his wife in the sandbars of the Achafaraya Basin, and remembered at the Crowfish Boyle, Independence Day, and New Year’s Eve party at Lafayette’s Piazza House. I made.
“He and Dee always cooked big pots and fed the people who appeared,” Heisten said. “Their doors were always open.”
Even after Haysten’s work moved to Baton Rouge, they stayed close and spent many weekends in Lafayette with Piazza.
Hasten said that in 1985 Hasten and the square had a son who was born two days apart, and the boy was like a brother.
“They even got chickenpox at the same time,” Heisten said. “Dee said it didn’t make sense for them to suffer alone, so he convinced us that it would be happier if his sons Tre and Scott were together. Pete shrugged. “Why?” It’s Pete. “
Haysten also had a professional respect for his friends.
“Pete was a master with a camera and a magician in a dark room,” Heisten said. “He collected a number of my photos.”
When Haysten asked Piazza to film his son’s wedding in 2005, his friend refused to accept the payment and claimed it would be a gift for his wedding. He went even further, taking pictures of engagement parties, rehearsals and dinners, and weddings.
“His candidates and formal shots are treasures,” Hasten said. “We miss him.”
“He raised it with love.”
Piazza was also known in the community as a volunteer for various Acadiana organizations and activities, including the Anything Pastable, telethons, and Miles Perret and Arts of Acadiana events.
“He would tell you that he was shy or something, but that wasn’t very true,” his wife said. “He was able to talk to the wall. He liked to meet people, listen to them, and find connections.”
She estimates that the community is littered with thousands of business cards, as he gave them to everyone who took the picture, or to those in need or need.
“He left behind his personal and home phone numbers, not just his card, and said,’Call me if you need something,'” she said. “But he meant that. He didn’t just say it. [He was] I think he is just a good person in every way, and that is what taught him to serve our children. “
Piazza also enjoyed gardening, growing fruits, vegetables and flowers. He has been a member of the Louisiana Horticultural Society for over 30 years.
“He raised things, and he raised them with love,” his wife said. “He grew his picture that way, everything you see was planted in this garden, his children, his collection.”
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He is survived by his 43-year-old wife Dolores “Dee” La Vergne Piazza. Many “chosen families” among three adult children and their spouses, grandchildren, brothers, cousins, Godchilds, and friends who have stood by Piazza and his family for many years are obituaries. I’m reading.
“He tells all of us what we like, loves what you do, maximizes your abilities, always works hard, and when you leave something. He always taught me to stay better than you found, “Dee said.
The Christian Burial Mass will be held on Saturday at 11:00 am on the Church of St. Elizabeth Seton, celebrated by Monsignor Russell Harrington.
Visits will be from 3 pm to 8 pm on Friday and will resume from 8 am to 10:30 am on Saturday. The Rosary reading is Friday at 6 pm. According to the obituary, families are asking them to wear masks for all services.
An alternative commemorative donation of flowers is welcomed in his name to the Carmelite Monastery, 1250 Carmelite Drive, Lafayette, Louisiana, 70501.