Louis Dalton Porter
PFC in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : HQ & Service Co
Born 1919 in LA, Died 2006
County of residence at enlistment: Acadia Parish, LA
Other residence(s): Crowley, LA; Openlousas, LA; Oxon Hill, MD in 2002
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: decorators and window dressers
Louis Porter (aka Dalton Porter) was born on May 7, 1919 in Kaplan, LA, the youngest of nine children born to Louisiana-born French speakers in the heart of Cajun country. His father had been a farmer prior to Louis' birth, but by 1920 he had taken a job as a policeman in Kaplan. Sometime before 1930 the whole family moved to Biloxi, MS—a group that included Louis' parents, six of his siblings, his sister-in-law, and his nephew. Six of the adults, including both of his parents, worked in a seafood factory—some as fishermen and some as laborers.*
In 1932, Louis and his parents moved to Crowley, LA where Louis' father took a job as a watchman, and Louis attended Crowley High School, where he was an honor roll student, graduating in 1939. He registered for the draft on October 16, 1940, at which time he was living in Opelousas (about 45 miles north of Crowley) and working at Maurice Heymann's department store. He was probably a decorator and window dresser, since that's the occupation he reported when he enlisted, on October 1, 1942.
He was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, trained at Fort Meade, MD and Fort Belvoir, VA, and served overseas with the unit. After returning home with the rank of T/4, he married Catherine "Kitty" Reed on July 12, 1945, while on a 30-day furlough. Kitty was from Maryland, and during the war she built radios and worked in retail in DC. The young couple had likely met while Louis was stationed in the DC area and, after his discharge, they settled in Prince George's County, MD. Louis worked as a sign maker for Hanlein Signs and Porter & Brady Signs. Later he opened Porter Signs where he hand-lettered signs and painted architectural renderings. He also applied gold leaf to the domes of several government buildings and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
He retired in 1986 to devote his time to oil painting and often exhibited his work at local art shows. He painted portraits, nature scenes, and views of Fort Washington. In 2003, Prince George's purchased his five-foot painted bluebird sculpture, "The Prince," as a coronation gift for its sister city, the Royal Bafokeng Nation in South Africa. His obituary reports that he also wrote poetry, adopted stray cats, and enjoyed golf, fishing, and VFW reunions.
His wife, Kitty, was also a painter; they were the parents of a daughter, Carole.
Louis died from a heart attack on June 28, 2006 at his home in Oxon Hill, MD. He is buried at Maryland Veterans' Cemetery in Cheltenham, MD.
*Biloxi was a huge player in the seafood processing industry at the time. In 1930, they reported the production of 20,000,000 cans of oysters and shrimp.
1938 article in the Crowley Post-Signal (LA); he is honor roll student
1940 draft card
1942 enlistment record
1945 article in the Crowley Post-Signal (LA) about his marriage and military service
1958 father's obituary in the Crowley Post-Signal (LA)
1992 U.S. Public Records index
2006 Social Security death record
2006 Social Security applications and claims index
2006 Find a Grave record
2006 obituary in the Washington Post with significant reference to his work in the Ghost Army
2017 wife's obituary