Family, friends, coworkers, community partners honor Hillhouse
Published 11:39 am Thursday, April 20, 2023
Family, friends, coworkers and community partners gathered at the Department of Children and Family Services Office in Bogalusa on Tuesday where a tree was planted in honor of Felicia Hillhouse.
Hillhouse worked for the Department of Children and Family Services for 14 years. In 2021, Hillhouse passed away at the age of 41 of complications from cancer.
“On April 18, this was the day the Bogalusa City Court had its juvenile child in need of care proceedings. After Felecia died in 2021, we declared this sort of day of which the court and her coworkers would memorialize a remembrance for her to coincide with National Child Abuse Prevention Month,” Judge David Merlin Duke said. “So we declared this Felicia Hillhouse Day, and today, the court met, we finished our docket and we’ve come over to the department’s facility to dedicate a tree in her memory.”
Duke said that Hillhouse was a champion for the marginalized children who have been abused or neglected by their parents.”
“She was an avid fighter for them and the court misses her and I know her coworkers do,” Duke said. “This is an attempt by us to keep her memory alive and the important work that she did and encourages us to do.”
Last year, they had a reception at the court in her memory.
“This year, we’re moving it to a little more long lasting event by planting this tree in her memory,” Duke said.
Duke said they are going to add something to it each year.
Leslie Lyons, who is the regional administrator for the Southeast portion of the state for the Department of Children and Family Services, said she started out working in this office in Washington Parish.
“Felecia and I were in contact and she was wanting a job here and I made the wonderful decision to hire her,” Lyons said. “She was an asset to the department everyday that she walked in the door and even when she didn’t walk in the door. She could be sick and she was there to answer phone calls and do what needed to be done. I noticed immediately after she had been working for us for a while that she was just extremely dedicated and committed to the job and that she had good decision making skills. She was smart, resourceful and that’s why all the people in the community love her and would talk to her, tell her things. She was the go to person for this office. It’s a real loss for us.”