Cover photo for Debra "Debi" Lynn Bennett-Vicknair's Obituary
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Debra "Debi" Lynn Bennett-Vicknair

Debra "Debi" Lynn Bennett-Vicknair

Debra “Debi” Lynn Bennett-Vicknair passed away on Sunday, January 9th, 2022. She was 67-years-old. A lifelong resident and vibrant community member of both Hammond and Baton Rouge, Debi was born in Hammond, Louisiana, to Theresa Costanza Bennett and Archie F. Bennett on September 11th, 1954. She was married to the love of her life and best friend, Mike Vicknair of Baton Rouge, for the last 34 years. Lucky were the dogs, cats and birds she lovingly mothered; most notably her treasured Cold Stone creamery loving basset hound, Wishbone, for whom her VW van was named and plated for. Visits with Debi were often punctuated by her exclaiming that she “needed to get home to care for her critters!”

Debi, a talented artist and loved figure among the close-knit Louisiana artist’s community, received her Master of Fine Arts degree with a minor in Anthropology from Louisiana State University in 1989. She held numerous positions during her career, which included time spent as a licensed Dental Hygienist in Hammond, but her most notable and rewarding professional achievements were as the Regional Coordinator of the 1990 Louisiana Open House Storytelling Program. In this role she worked across eight parishes in Louisiana to identify and document the history and traditions of local community members. In the Spring of 1992, she was deeply honored to serve as the Folklore Artist-in-Residence in Avoyelles Parish thanks to the support of the Arts & Humanities Council of Avoyelles and the Avoyelles Parish School Board. In addition to this, she participated in the Oklahoma Folklife Festival and worked across communities to elevate select artists & bestow grants to South West Mississippi folk artists.

All who knew and cherished Debi saw and were often inspired by her passion for life, empathetic spirit, and boundless generosity. She especially loved her friendships with the “Girls of 72” and many friends, especially Cyndi, Ginger, Marilyn and Sharon.

Debi was a devoted daughter to her mother, Theresa, who she also considered her best friend and closest confidante. While Theresa was living at Williamsburg Independent Living Center in Baton Rouge, Debi would visit her daily to buoy her spirits with lively accounts of all the local happenings in Baton Rouge and Theresa’s hometown of Hammond. She was a much cherished menace of a baby sister to her brother Dorian Bennett, who recalls that in their relationship they remained forever young, two closely knit Irish twin siblings, prone to getting on one another’s nerves but there for each other no matter what.

Debi is survived by her husband, Mike Vicknair, of Baton rouge; older brother, Dorian Bennett, of New Orleans; niece, Delia Caroline Kelly Bennett, of Brooklyn, NY; a cousin, Michelle Faust-Davis, who she was especially close with.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Archie F. Bennett and Theresa Costanza Bennett; and sister-in-law Micaela Kelly Bennett.

Debi will be entombed next to her mother at Rose Memorial Park Cemetery in Hammond, Louisiana. Services will be held at Saint Albert Catholic Church in Hammond, LA on February 11th, 2022 at 2:00pm. Visitation begins at 1:00pm.


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