Adney J. Lirette
Adney J. Lirette
DEATH GOT HIM--"Dare Devil"
Lirette, king of stunt flyers, well
known in New Orleans, who was
killed Sunday at Vernon, Texas
while trying a new thriller.
from Journal of New Orleans,
Courtesy of Mary Glass, 5-5-04

Daredevil Dead

ADNEY J. LIRETTE, daredevil aviator, who appeared a number of times in New Orleans, was killed Sunday in Vernon, Texas, when a parachute failed to open. Several
of his relatives live here.
Adney J. Lirette
Lirette, Stunt Flier,
Killed in Parachute Drop

from Journal of New Orleans,
Courtesy of Mary Glass, 5-5-04
     Adney J. Lirette, "Daredevil Lirette," 30, native of Houma, Lousiana, is dead. According to a telegram received by his Brother, Edgar J. Lirette, Jr., of 1313 Milan Street, from Vernon, Texas.
     Lirette was what is known as a "stunt flyer," not an ordinary stunt man who takes a few chances and lets it go at that, but a real one who not only did everything that others did but even devised new ones for himself alone. It was in the trial of one of these new stunts that the daredevil met his death, Sunday afternoon at Vernon, Tex., Lirette was scheduled to fly. During the flight he was to make a parachute leap from the plane at an altitude of approximately 4,000 feet. The jump was made but the parachute failed to open and Lirette was picked up lifeless.
     From a well-known Lirette family of Houma, Adney has been taking chances on airplanes since they first made their appearance some years ago. Throughout the south and in New Orleans he has made thousands gasp with the apparent carelessness with which he took chances with his life. Some years ago here, in New Orleans, he made his first appearance as a stunt flyer in a Curtiss biplane.
     In recent years Lirette has been gradually building up his reputation as one of the best aviators in the country. "Fox News," moving picture magazine, a short while ago, gave him an international reputation by comparing him to the famous Locklear, (Ormer Locklear), who also lost his life in stunt flying. It ws even said that in a very short time he would have superseded Locklear as the greatest stunt flyer the world has yet seen.
     Lirette made his home in Houma where he left a wife and three children. Prior to her marriage, Mrs. Lirette was Miss Marie Bergeron, also of Houma, daughter of a prominent Houma family.
     Edgar J. Lirette Jr., his brother, as well as several of his sisters residing in New Orleans at the present time, Mrs John Waguespack, 1313 Milan St., Miss Lena Lirette, 1313 Milan and Mrs. Lillian Matherne, a nurse at Hotel Dieu, will proceed to Houma, where the funeral of their brother will be held.

Reader Recalls Daredevil Flyer Buried 50 Years Ago
from an unidentified newsclipping, May 18, 1972
Courtesy of Mary Glass, 5-5-04
     Today, May 18, marks the anniversary of the burial of Adney J. Lirette, one of the early daredevil flyers in the United States, who died in 1922.
     O. J. Bourgeois of Central Avenue, a retired clerk, recalled memories of the Houma native. Lirette died when his parachute failed to open during a flight over Port Arthur, Texas.
     Bourgeois remembers his interest in aviation back in the early days of flying. He said he would fly with Lirette whenever the opportunity was presented. He remembers the fee for flying with Lirette was one dollar per minute.
     Lirette owned his plane and there were no airports in those days Bourgeois recalled. The local flyer used to land in open fields. In Houma, his landing spot was where Suthon Ave. is today. In Thibodaux, he would land where a shopping center is today.
     The Times Picayune recognized Lirette as a daredevil aviator from Houma who was the originator of many of the stunts used in exhibition flying.
     Bourgeois said that Lirette's sister, Mrs. Rose Theriot, still lives in Houma today.

Houma Courier
  This fragment of a 1922 Houma Courier announces the outcome of the Houma police chief election, and reports a stunt flying accident that killed a Houma native. It is among the Courier issues that are not found on microfilm

from The Courier, June, 1995
Courtesy of Mary Glass, April 30, 2004
Politician and daredevil found in old Houma paper
Courier columnist
LONGTIME Terrebonne residents remember the late Sheriff Peter Bourgeois, who died in office in 1951. Earlier, Bourgeois had been a plantation manager, and more than 70 years ago, briefly Houma's elected chief of police.
     His son, former Houma alderman Pete Bourgeois, has a fragment of the May 20, 1922, Houma Courier which announced on page one his father's victory over the incumbent police chief.
     "Peter Boirgeois was elected chief-of-police in Tuesday's municipal election, his majority being 67. His opponent was the present incumbent, C.A. Callahan." That, with a photograph of the new chief, was all the Courier had to say about the election, but according to his son, Bourgeois kept Callahan on as an assistant.
     By chance, the old clipping, given to Bourgeois recently by Rilluis Marcel, also preserves an account of the death of a Houma native in a parachuting accident.
     "Daredevil Ed Takes Last Leap," is retyped below. Missing words and prhases are indicated by "....." where bits of the story have crumbled away. The Courier issue is not available on microfilm.
     :Adney J. Lirette, known all over the Southwest as 'Daredevil Ed,' a stunt flyer whose reputation was becoming national, made his last and most spectacular leap last Sunday, at Vernon, Texas, before a large number of spectators - a leap that carried him through the eternal gates of death.
     "At four thousand feet, he dropped in a parachute from the tail of an airplane. When about two thousand feet from the earth, the strap holding his body broke and he plunged into a small pool of warer. The plane was piloted by his .....M.M. Morril.
     "Adney Lirette was a native of Houma and was born th.....years ago. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Lirette of th..... His wife was, before her marriage, Miss Marie Bergeron, who with three children, survive him.
     "The remains were brought to Houma and buried in the Catholic Cemetery, Wednesday morning. The funeral was conducted by Rev. A..... Vandebilt of the St. Francis diocese Catholic Church
     {"When a boy, Adney Lirette attended the Houma Grade School, and later was a pupil of the Terrebonne High where he was prominent in school athletics, especially....ball. At one time he was employed in the type setting department of The Houma Courier. About .....years ago he ...interested and rapidly acquired....pilot. the.....nal....."
     By another coincidence, Lirette's widow turns out to be great aunt of current Courier employee Harold Fanguy's mother, Mrs. Harold (Loretta Duplantis) Fanguy Sr., who remembers the fatal fall.
     "Lirette was married to my Aunt Mary. She was also She was als...godmother. They were living in Texas at the time of the accident, and she had been scared to death that something might happen. She had nightmares about it, but he didn't want to give it up.
     "After the funeral, Lirette's parents wanted Aunt Mary to live with them in Houma, so they could help with the children, Beryl, Peggy and Leland. But she was the independent sort, and took her children to California instead.
     According to Mrs. Fanguy, her aunt made it on her own, remarried twice and had three more children. Over.....before her death, she returned to Houma periodically ...relatives. Two of Adney's Lirette's children survive.
from The Courier, June, 1995
Courtesy of Mary Glass, April 30, 2004

BackBack Home