Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Louise Darrah Chauvin, 1885-1959

By Janelle Zetty, Head of Cataloging, Edith Garland Dupre Library, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Louise "Lulu" Darrah Chauvin was born in New Orleans, February 1885 to John and Sarah Darrah. Her father, John Graham Darrah, was of Scottish background and born in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Mr. Darrah was a Confederate Civil War veteran and a member of Companies H and K of the Twelfth Mississippi Regiment. He fought in many battles including Seven Pines, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Second Manasses, and Harpers Ferry. Mr. Darrah was an employee of the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, and the 1900 federal census recorded his occupation as a machinist. Mr. Darrah died in a tragic accident at the hotel, where he was performing maintenance on an elevator shaft, and a descending elevator crushed him. Louise Darrah Chauvin's mother was Sarah Russell Darrah, a native of Louisiana whose family immigrated from England and Germany. The 1900 federal census lists that she gave birth to four children, but only two were living at the time. Mrs. Darrah's other living child was Margarite, nicknamed "Daisy." The family resided on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans, and Louise Darrah Chauvin attended McDonogh High School No. 3. In 1906, she worked as a school teacher at Shaw's Select School located on Cleveland Avenue in New Orleans.

Sometime around 1910, Louise Darrah Chauvin married Reuben Adam Chauvin and moved to Houma, Louisiana. Reuben Chauvin was a manager at Daigle Barge Line and a planter who served as mayor of Houma during World War I. In 1918, he co-founded the Terrebonne Association of Commerce. In 1920, Mr. Chauvin served in the Louisiana House of Representatives as a Representative from Terrebonne Parish. He contributed to the suffrage cause by supporting the ratification of the suffrage amendment in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Mr. and Mrs. Chauvin were some of the best known and wealthiest residents of Houma. Their daughter, Darrah Chauvin, was born on December 11, 1920, and the family moved to New Orleans in 1930. Sometime after this, Ms. Chauvin taught at the Isidore Newman School, an independent school in Uptown New Orleans.

Louise Chauvin dedicated herself to improving the lives of women and children. On September 21, 1909, the Grand Isle hurricane struck southern Louisiana, heavily damaging the Terrebonne Parish area. Mrs. Chauvin contributed to relief work by sewing garments for women and children refugees. In 1918, she volunteered to be a foster parent for French orphans, and in 1921 she traveled to Baton Rouge to support the mother's pension bill, which provided that the state match appropriations with parishes and municipalities for the care of mothers who were unable to support their small children. Furthermore, while serving as president of the Houma Equal Rights Society, Mrs. Chauvin campaigned for the repeal of the Widow's Dowry Law, which stated that a woman's signature on a property sale involving her spouse or family was not required.

Mrs. Chauvin contributed to the war effort by traveling around the state to educate the public on organizing war savings societies, and in Terrebonne Parish, she taught a complete course in surgical dressings. Her suffrage work, extending between 1909 and 1919, involved serving as the state organizer of the Woman's Suffrage Party of Louisiana and representing the Louisiana League of Women Voters at the national League of Women Voters ball in Baltimore.

Mrs. Chauvin was involved in social clubs such as the Afternoon Euchre Club, Ladies' Five Hundred Club, and the Houma Community Chorus. She hosted the first gathering of the Terrebonne Literary Club at her home on February 28, 1919. For the Louisiana Federation of Women's Clubs, she served as president, was the chair of the Committee on Courtesy and the Committee on Thrift, and finally was a member of the Reception Committee. As well as serving as president of the Woman's Chamber of Commerce for Terrebonne Parish, the National Women's Chamber of Commerce in the East named Mrs. Chauvin as the organizer of the chamber of commerce for Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The chamber performed productive work for the betterment and uplift of the community.

Louise Darrah Chauvin died January 11, 1959, after a long illness in her native New Orleans.

A photograph of Ms. Chauvin can be found in I Dug Up Houma, Terrebonne, Vol. 6, by Helen Emmeline Wurzlow, 1986, p. 96.


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City Directories, 1822-1995. website.

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“Don't Be a Tight-Wad--Be a Fight-Wad--War Saving Stamps Will Make the Kaiser See Stars and Put Him in Stripes.” The Daily Signal (Crowley, Louisiana), May 3, 1918, p. 1. Newspapers (website)

Ellzey, Bill. “Good Dirt: Musical Meals Could Be a Future Trend.” Daily Comet (Thibodaux, Louisiana), Jan. 7, 2019.

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"Louisiana, Orleans Parish Vital Records, 1900-1964," database with images, FamilySearch( : 19 October 2018), Louise Darrah Darrah Chauvin, 10 Jan 1959; citing Death 10 Jan 1959, New Orleans, Orleans, Louisiana, United States, certificate ; Louisiana State Archives, Baton Rouge.

"Louisiana, Parish Marriages, 1837-1957," database with images, FamilySearch( : 13 March 2018), John G Darrah and Sarah Russell, 15 Feb 1872; citing Orleans, Louisiana, United States, various parish courthouses, Louisiana; FHL microfilm 2,394,620.

“Louisiana Women to Attend Meeting of the Women Voters' League.” The Times (Shreveport), Apr. 9, 1922, p. 18. (website)

“Mrs. W. P. Edwards Named President Third Dist. Federation of Woman's Clubs.” Abbeville Meridional (Abbeville, Louisiana), Feb. 13, 1932, p. 1. (website)

“Personals.” The Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, Louisiana), Apr. 14, 1931, p. 9. (website)

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"Suffrage Victory in State Assembly Is Week's Event of Greatest Importance to Women." Times-Picayune (New Orleans), June 23, 1918, p. 45. Readex: America's Historical Newspapers (website)

"Suffs Pick Men To Direct Fight For Ratification Senator Williamson and Representative Chauvin to Be." Times-Picayune (New Orleans), Apr. 4, 1920, p. 1. Readex: America's Historical Newspapers (website)

"Two Men Meet With Violent Deaths. John G. Darrah, One of Jefferson Davis' Escort, Killed." Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 13 Apr. 1905, p. 12. Readex: America's Historical Newspapers (website)

"United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch( : 13 March 2018), Reuben Adam Chauvin, 1917-1918; citing Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,685,023.

"United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," database with images, FamilySearch( : 6 November 2017), Reuben Adam Chauvin, 1942; citing NARA microfilm publication M1936, M1937, M1939, M1951, M1962, M1964, M1986, M2090, and M2097 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

“United States Census, 1900, Louise N. Darrah, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.” MyHeritage,

Vetter, Mrs. S. P. “La. Federation Club Notes.” The Morgan City Daily Review, May 2, 1919, p. 2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (website)

“Voices from the Past.” Crowley Daily Signal (Crowley, Louisiana), May 4, 1928, p. 2. (website)

“Woman's Club WIll Have Honor Guest at Saturday Meet.” The Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, Louisiana), May 7, 1930, p. 9. (website)

"Woman's Commerce Board Honors Mrs. R. Chauvin." Times-Picayune (New Orleans), June 16, 1919, p. 8. Readex: America's Historical Newspapers (website)

“Woman's E. R. Club Wants Dowery Law Repealed.” The Morgan City Daily Review, July 16, 1917, p. 1. Newspapers (website)

"Women To Attend Pension Hearings Delegation to Baton Rouge Will Work for Mothers' Benefit Bill." Times-Picayune (New Orleans), Oct. 3, 1921, p. 6. Readex: America's Historical Newspapers (website)

"Women in Third District Rally in Houma April 28." Times-Picayune (New Orleans), Apr. 20, 1921, p. 20. Readex: America's Historical Newspapers (website)

“The Women's Equity.” The Herald (New Orleans), June 21, 1917, p. 6. (website)

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