Benjamin M. Rougeou, Jr. was born September 2, 1984 to the proud parents of Ben and Diana Rougeou. He finished his race of life on January 21, 2017 surrounded by his parents, siblings Carrie Rougeou Sellers and Wesley Rougeou and his Portland, Oregon family. Ben was met in heaven by his grandparents Floyd and Isabelle Butler, Bennie and Ruby Rougeou and sister Hollie Leeann Rougeou. Ben was a graduate of Alexandria Senior High Class of 2003. He pursued a degree in Music at the University of New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina sent him down a new road.
Like so many other students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Ben found opportunity amidst the tragedy. He made his way to Marylhurst College on a scholarship where he enrolled in the Music Therapy Program. Thus, Portland, Oregon was introduced to bassist Ben Rougeou.
He quickly made friends in various musical circles. Always on the lookout for people to jam with, he drew people in with his brand of New Orleans funk, but he was more than willing to take on whatever style you were hammering out at the time. That was the beauty of playing with Ben. He was eager to stretch in any direction as long as the music was good. And was it ever! At any given time, if you asked him what he was working on, he’d list off at least a half a dozen projects with just as many different styles of music. The more he worked the scene, the more people noticed how versatile he was on his instrument and how much his musicality raised the level of the groups he performed with.
Yet, music was not the only thing that got him excited. Ben loved working with children, and would often tell stories of his adventures as a social worker with special needs kids. He had such a heart for the kids he worked with and always did his best to make them feel important. That was one of his best character traits. No matter who you were, even if you’d only met once, he made you feel like the most important person in his life. He was generous with his time and with his kind words.
Ben loved a challenge and took up sailing to test himself physically and mentally. He worked extremely hard to pass his proficiencies and become a solid sailor. He joined the crew of the Molika and started his foray into competitive sailboat racing. His crewmates trusted him to work hard with his trademark enthusiasm. Even when he was seasick for days at a time on the water, he manned his post without fail. And when the races were over, it was Ben who led the way, celebrating over the hard earned weekends. His captain and crew would all agree they never met a more positive, fun-loving shipmate.
Ben was just as much a student as he was a teacher. He was a mentor in some way to everyone with whom he came into contact, while at the same time finding ways to learn from his experiences with the friends with whom he surrounded himself. He had the wisdom and convictions of a man twice his age, yet he still saw the world with all its wonder and excitement through the eyes of a child. He was a precocious loving son, a devoted friend, an encouraging brother, a fun filled uncle to Drew, Parker, and Karli, a caring nephew, the keeper of the Funk, and an ambassador of the spirit of Louisiana.
There will be a memorial celebration on Sunday, January 29th 2:00 pm at Calvary Baptist Church in Woodworth, La. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in memory of Benjamin to a music therapy or art organization or any organization that helps at risk or special needs children.
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