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Bill Aimed at Protecting Domestic Abuse Victims Signed into Law; Honors Lafourche Parish Woman

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A bill aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence is now the law of the land in Louisiana. Perhaps it would have prevented a shooting spree last December that targeting a Lafourche Parish Councilman, his family, and others. WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano has tonight’s emotional update.

“Life is still good” says Lafourche Parish Councilman Phillip Gouaux. He has six daughters and 13 energetic grandkids keeping him young. His only wish is that his wife was still here.

“She was my wife for 43 years and just living life without her is terrible; such a tragic way to go is the hardest part,” says Councilman Gouaux.

On December 26, Susan Gouaux, known by most as “Pixie”, was shot to death in her home. Her ex son-in-law Ben Freeman had gone on a violent rampage first drowning his wife, and then driving to Councilman Gouaux’s home in Lockport, killing Pixie, wounding Councilman Gouaux, and leaving one of their daughters paralyzed from the waist down.

“He shot my wife three times. He chased her around the house. He shot her in the hand, in the shoulder, and then in the back. Then he proceeded to go down and corner my daughter in the sunroom and shot her in the back,” remembers Gouaux.

Freeman then drove to Raceland, shot and killed his former boss, Milton Bourgeois, the CEO of Ochsner St. Anne, and wounded his wife. Eventually, he turned the gun on himself.

Gouaux says, “We had a restraining order, and restraining orders are pieces of paper.”

Pieces of paper Gouaux says did not do enough to prevent violence, yet now that’s changed. Thursday Governor Bobby Jindal signed multiple bills into law aimed at stopping domestic violence. Among them, House Bill 753 now called the Susan “Pixie” Gouaux Act, making it illegal for someone with a domestic abuse conviction to carry a gun for 10 years following the conviction, or for someone with a protective order to carry a gun during the duration of the order.

“Having her name up there means such a lot to me and my family,” says Gouaux.

Louisiana has led the nation in domestic homicides since 1997