Jupiter Incident Bibliography

 Updated September 1, 2010 by Stacy Austin and Pati Threatt

On January 15, 1976, a dispute between labor unions and independent contractors erupted into violence at the building site of the Jupiter Chemical Company in Lake Charles, La. One person, Joe Hooper, was killed and several others were injured. The violence spurred efforts in the Louisiana Legislature to pass the Right-To-Work bill later that year.

All locations refer to McNeese State University, Frazar Memorial Library. 
Materials in Archives and Special Collections Department do not circulate.

Books | Journal articles | Newspaper articles | Photographs and Digital Images  | Manuscript Collections | Lawsuit


Cook, Samuel A. Freedom in the Workplace: The Untold Story of Merit Construction’s Crusade Against Compulsory Trade Unionism. Regnery Publishing, 2005.

Keith, Bill. The Commissioner: A True Story of Deceit, Dishonor, and Death. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing, Inc, 2009.

Journal Articles

Austin, Diane E., Thomas R. McGuire, and Rylan Higgins. “Work and Change in the Gulf of Mexico Offshore Petroleum Industry.” Research in Economic Anthropology, 24 (2006): 89-122. Web. Emerald. 3 May 2010.

Canak, William and Berkeley Miller. “Gumbo Politics: Unions, Business, and Louisiana Right-to-work Legislation.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 43.2 (1990): 258-71. Web. J-STOR. 3 May 2010.


The Bill Gabbert Photographs, Collection No. 5, Archives and Special Collections Department, Frazar Memorial Library, McNeese State University. Contains several photographs of the aftermath of the violence. Finding aid available: http://ereserves.mcneese.edu/depts/archive/pdfs/gabbert005.pdf

Newspaper articles 

For newspaper articles, search The New Orleans Times-Picayune (The Daily Picayune)*, The (Lake Charles) American Press, and The New York Times. Some newspaper articles available in Pamphlet folder 1057, Archives and Special Collections Department, Frazar Memorial Library, McNeese State University.  

* Members of the McNeese community may search the Times-Picayune through America's Historical Newspapers, available from the Library's database page at http://libguides.mcneese.edu/databases .

The following is an annotated list of some key newspaper articles:

“Prosecutors Begin Building Cast Against Jupiter 11.” Lake Charles American Press 18 Oct. 1977. Print.

Prosecutor Michael Fawer assisted by State Atty. Gen. Patrick Quinlan made opening statements arguing that each defendant “took part directly and indirectly, knowing they were endangering human life,” and also said the attack was “coldly calculated.” The defense Attorney, Raleigh Newman, argued that the defendants were innocent and only intending to participate in a mass demonstration. Newman said, “We are going to show that local unions, in order to protect their people decided to have a mass demonstration.”

“Kerley Recounts Details of Jupiter Site Violence.” Lake Charles American Press 19 Oct. 1977. Print.

Robert D. “Bob” Kerley Jr. was chosen as the third witness in the Jupiter trials of the 11 men charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal damage to property to describe the attacks that took place on January 16, 1976. The charged men, Harlan Duhon, Kenneth A. McCain Jr., Royce Raymond Corner, Curly Robers, Frederick Shay, Terry Materne, Tracy Willard, Jackie W. Thacker, Wilbert J. LeLeux Jr, Anthony Ray Lacour, and Mark Hawes, are being tried for the murder of Joe Hooper and the injury of five others that resulted with the men allegedly drove a forklift through the gate of the plant firing weapons and terrorized the plant by overturning vehicles and shooting at workers. As previous witness, Shorty Landry, testified, the attacks were provoked by the hiring of Local 102 workers over union AFL-CIO craftsmen. Kerley testified that Harlan Duhon told him at a Christmas party that there would be “head-knocking and bloodshed” if Local 102 came into Lake Charles.

“Jupiter Trial: Jensen Tells Story of Plot.” Lake Charles American Press 20 Oct. 1977. Print. 

John H. Jensen Jr., a 38 year-old forklift driver who participated in the violent attacks at Jupiter and key witness in the case, testifies that the attacks were premeditated. Jensen said that he was told by Donald Lovett to drive his forklift into the side of an office trailer where office personnel were working in an attempt to kill them. The defense argued that Jensen was not a credible witness, as he pled guilty to several previous crimes (forgery and theft, negligent homicide, stealing company tools, and indecent behavior with a 16 year-old girl when Jensen was 24).

“Defense Bears Down on Witnesses in Jupiter Trial.” Lake Charles American Press 22 Oct. 1977.

Key witness and participant in the Jupiter attacks, Kenneth “Pee Wee” Hooper, 34, testified about his part in the attacks. He said that there was not a premeditated conspiracy and admits to his part in the attacks which included threatening the lives of a cameraman and a State Trooper on the scene. Though Hooper pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal damage charges, he has yet to be sentenced.  

“Jupiter Defendant Free.” Lake Charles American Press 23 Oct. 1977. Print.

A missing witness forces the state to free Kenneth McCain Jr., the man who was accused of cutting telephone wires to the Jupiter Plant site the morning of the January 15th attack. Though witness Allen Bourque claims to have seen McCain cut the wires, Bourque could not be served, and therefore, charges against McCain were dropped.

“Jupiter Defendants Cleared.” Lake Charles American Press 25 Oct. 1977. Print.

The remaining ten defendants are found innocent. 125 people were there to hear the verdicts and they cheered and applauded when the not guilty verdicts were announced.

Tomlinson, Kenneth Y. "Murder at Jupiter." The Readers Digest, 111 (July 1977): 115-119. [Copy available in Pamphlet folder 1057, Archives and Special Collections Department, Frazar Memorial Library, McNeese State University.]

Manuscript Collections 

The Inez Guidry Benevage Scrapbooks, Collection No. 120, Archives and Special Collections Department, Frazar Memorial Library, McNeese State University. Box 2 contains scrapbooks  with newspaper clippings about the labor violence. Finding aid available: http://ereserves.mcneese.edu/depts/archive/pdfs/BENEVAGE120.pdf


State of Louisiana v. Donald Lovett. No. 61277. Supreme Court of Louisiana. 22 May 1978.

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