By Steven Ward
Advocate staff writer
July 28, 2012
Baton Rouge writer Clare D’Artois Leeper, author of the Louisiana Places column that ran in The Advocate for more than two decades, died July 21, her son said.
She was 80.
Leeper’s column, “Louisiana Places: Those Strange Sounding Names,” ran in The Advocate from 1960 to 1979, and again from 2004 to 2006.
Leeper was also the founder and president of the Legacy Publishing Co., which published local authors, greeting cards and regional cookbooks in the 1960s and 1970s.
“My mom was a very open and friendly woman,” her son, Robert Leeper, said Thursday.
“She was never judgmental and had a genuine interest in people and their histories,” Leeper said.
In her Advocate column, which ran on Sundays, Leeper explained how places in Louisiana were given their names.
“Clare Leeper was a bright and intelligent person, full of curiosity and wit. Her work reflected that, and all who read her columns reaped the benefits of Clare’s talents,” said Greg Langley, The Advocate’s news features editor.
“It was a privilege to have known her and to have worked with her. Her passing is a great loss for all of us in Baton Rouge,” Langley said.
A book, “Louisiana Place Names: Popular, Unusual and Forgotten Stories of Towns, Cities, Plantations, Bayous and Even Some Cemeteries,” will be published posthumously by LSU Press in October, Langley said.
“My mom was a writer and artist at heart,” Leeper said.
“She loved Louisiana and always wanted to send a message about the state out to the world,” he said.
Leeper was born in Shreveport but spent the majority of her life in Baton Rouge, obtaining a fine arts degree from LSU, her son said.
A lifelong tennis player, Leeper was very active in the Baton Rouge Tennis League, he said.
A memorial service is slated for Aug. 11 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church at 11 a.m. with a wake preceding the service at 9 a.m.