Marc Andrew La Tourette died Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at the Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Marc was the son of Dr. John E. and Lillie M. (Drum) La Tourette. He grew up and attended elementary school in Hillcrest, Binghamton, NY; continued his secondary education in Bowling Green, Ohio; and graduated from DeKalb High School in 1982. He attended the University of Iowa as an undergraduate, majoring in Philosophy and Religion with a minor in French. He returned to DeKalb to pursue a master’s degree in Education at Northern Illinois University, focusing on Instructional Design, where his father was president of the university (1986-2000).
Marc’s instructional design skills provided him with professional opportunities in the Chicago area, in Denver, and in Portland, Oregon; and in each of those locations he capitalized as well on his ability to teach conversational French, developed his love for the classroom, and impressed numerous students with his capacity to create effective and stimulating student learning experiences. He never missed a chance to improve his French and his knowledge of the country to which his family owed their ancestry. Marc spent the academic year 1987-88 in Aix-en-Provence at the Institute for American Universities (IAU), “learning French the alternate way,” meaning that he didn’t just go to class. He shopped at the open markets, ate in restaurants where only French was spoken, and frequented working men’s bars to learn slang and phrases more suitable to conversations in the villages than in the lecture halls. Wherever he went, Marc was able to mix freely with people at all levels of education and in all walks of life. He joined a friend in Switzerland, got a job in a railroad station in Zurich based on his French language skills, and managed to learn conversational German on the side. He toured France several times with his father, acting as a translator for him when they visited the Huguenot village in which his family originated and where they traced their family history back to 1563. But it was when he got to New Orleans that Marc found himself totally at home.
Perhaps not the most obvious place to pursue a career in instructional design, New Orleans offered instead a city of multiple cultures, multiple cuisines, endless music, great bands, interesting art, Mardi Gras parades, and its own enthusiasm for all things French. The occasional hurricane (and the many near hits from hurricanes) made for some rapid deployments to Baton Rouge or Houston, but they also brought people together and underscored the need to focus on the pleasures the city afforded. Because he loved New Orleans and the people he met there so much, Marc made that city the place he chose to stay, and he celebrated his love of the city with a series of art impressions found at MarcArt.
Survivors include parents John and Lili; sister Yanique Thorman and nephew Jeremy Thorman; companion Nancy Copeland of New Orleans; Uncle Roy and Aunt Elaine Drum; cousins Julie Shoesmith and Leslie Bacon; Aunt Margie and cousins Kathy, Bryan, Phil, Scott and Shan Drum and families; and numerous friends from Marc’s days in Binghamton, Bowling Green, DeKalb, Iowa City, and especially New Orleans. Among Marc’s closest friends were Ian Chesler of New Orleans, and Robert Valette; both attended DeKalb High School and the University of Iowa with him and comforted him through the final days of his life. Marc was preceded in death by his grandparents, John C. and Charlotte La Tourette and Si and Lillie Drum, and by Uncle Bud and Aunt Nancy Drum, Uncle Robert Drum and Cousin Steve Drum.
Cremation will occur, and remains will be buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery #3 in New Orleans and in a cemetery in rural New Jersey where they will join those of five generations of the La Tourette family, back to the American Revolution. A Celebration of Life will be held in New Orleans and, later, graveside ceremonies will be held in New Orleans and In New Jersey. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Marc A. La Tourette scholarship at the Northern Illinois University Foundation or, in Marc’s name, Roots of Music, New Orleans, LA.
To plant a tree in memory of Marc Andrew LaTourette, please click here.