After the death of Lucette Michaux-Chevry, Guadeloupe mourns its “Iron Lady”

The earth trembled twice, Thursday, September 9, in Guadeloupe. At 8:43 p.m., an earthquake – without gravity – shook the islands of the Guadeloupe archipelago. But a few minutes earlier, another shock had shaken this French department of the West Indies: Lucette Michaux-Chevry, a major figure in Guadeloupe politics and friend of Jacques Chirac, had just died.

It was his daughter, former Secretary of State Marie-Luce Penchard, who announced this death via social networks. “Tonight, at 7:48 p.m., surrounded by her relatives, mom left us… I am in pain… and our grief is immense…”, wrote the current vice-president of the regional council of Guadeloupe on her Facebook page.

The “Iron Lady”, “Gran Madanm la” (the Great Lady), the “Queen Mother”, or quite simply, “LMC”, her initials: in Guadeloupe, nicknames were not lacking to designate this character with longevity remarkable. In fact, in her sixty-year career, Lucette Michaux-Chevry will have held all local mandates as well as several national positions.

Irresistible ascension

Born March 5, 1929 in Saint-Claude, on the heights of Basse-Terre – the capital of the department which, at the time, was still a French colony -, Lucette Chevry obtained her license in law, then took the oath to the Bar of Basse-Terre in 1954. The young lawyer with an impetuous character does not take long to stand out in court.

After the sudden death of her husband, the printer Henri Michaux, she had to raise her two children on her own and put an end to her nascent political career. At 30, the lawyer had just been elected to the municipal council of Saint-Claude. “I became a city councilor when my son was eight days old. I had to resign a few months later and stood for election when he was 17 ”, she told the newspaper The cross, in 1999.

In 1976, Lucette Michaux-Chevry returned to politics as general counsel. From then on, his rise was irresistible. A year after the 1981 presidential election, during which she formalized her commitment to the right and supported Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, she became president of the general council of Guadeloupe. With charisma and authority, she imposes herself in the local political landscape and carries on – even cumulates – the mandates: mayor of Gourbeyre then of Basse-Terre, deputy, president of the region, senator …

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