Interior designer and local television personality Chet Pourciau died Friday of lymphoma at his New Orleans home. He was 45.
Dr. Corey Hebert, a friend for close to a decade, called Pourciau “a larger-than-life character who brought so much joy to everybody that he touched.”
Pourciau was born in New Iberia and attended Catholic High School there and the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Last year, Pourciau told The Advocate that his interest in design started at an early age.
“I was always bored with the furniture in my bedroom at home when I was young, and I would always rearrange it,” he said. “It never stayed the same for very long.”
Hebert said he once met some of Pourciau’s high school classmates, who said he was “never run-of-the-mill.”
While in college, Pourciau worked at the Maison Blanche department store in Lafayette, where his outgoing personality led the store’s management to ask him to play MB’s trademark character, Mr. Bingle, at Christmastime.
Eventually, he earned an interior design degree from Delgado Community College. He worked as an assistant to interior decorator Leon Irwin III and credited Irwin with helping him develop his sense of color and pattern.
In October, Pourciau launched the Iberia Parish line of home furnishings, inspired by his birthplace.
He was involved in numerous charitable and fashion events, including the Children’s Hospital’s Prom of Champions, the NO/AIDS Task Force’s AIDS Walk and Fashion Week New Orleans.
He received the Men and Women of Fashion’s Prix d’Elegance award, presented to the best-dressed people in New Orleans.
Pourciau also was an avid competitive bodybuilder and loved sports. In 2012, he was named resident designer for the New Orleans Hornets basketball team, now the Pelicans.
Hebert said that even though Pourciau jokingly called him his big brother and looked to him as a mentor, the relationship was mutual. “We always bounced things off of each other,” Hebert said. “I always looked to him for inspiration.”
Hebert, who is WDSU-TV’s medical editor, said he helped Pourciau make the transition to television.
He said Pourciau “had so much to say.” He wanted people “to have great things in their homes and to be able to know they didn’t have to spend a ton of money to do it.” Going on television let him get the word out faster.
Pourciau was diagnosed with cancer last year. Hebert said his type of cancer, known as double-hit lymphoma, is very aggressive.
Hebert said Pourciau should serve as a role model for young people.
“When you walked away from Chet, you felt like, ‘Hey, I want to do what that guy’s doing,’ ” he said.
Survivors include his partner, Jack Sullivan; his mother, Earlie Mae Pourciau; a sister, Joy Greene; and four brothers, Roy, Keith, Nathaniel and William Greene.
Funeral plans are pending. Jacob Schoen and Son Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Burial in Metairie Cemetery will be private.