Desi Deschaine, 29, a fixture in local politicking over the last decade and recently a staff member for Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, has died after drowning in Baltimore.
Jeff Coudriet, a top Evans deputy, says that Deschaine had gone on a Chesapeake Bay boat trip Sunday with a man he’d been dating. The boat had returned to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Sunday night when Deschaine left the boat at about 10:30 p.m. He was not seen or heard from again. “In the morning Monday is when we found he was missing. He obviously didn’t turn up at work,” Coudriet says.
Baltimore police recovered a body from the harbor this morning, a department spokesperson says, and Coudriet says a positive identification has been made. Deschaine’s parents arrived in Baltimore late last night.
In a Facebook message posted Sunday, Deschaine wrote that he was “getting ready for an amazing day boating in Baltimore Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay…and hope our friends join for what will be an awesome and amazing afternoon on the water!!”
“We’re just obviously stunned,” Coudriet says. “We’re grief-stricken.”
Evans, about to head into today’s council legislative meeting, was not able to comment, but did say he’d been in touch with Baltimore Mayor
Sharon Sheila Dixon about the incident.
On a personal note, LL’s known him since 2004, when Deschaine was a neighborhood services staffer for Mayor Anthony A. Williams and LL was a City Paper intern covering community meetings. For all the years LL has known him, he’s never once seen him without a smile on his face—-one of the genuinely friendliest and kindest people in the small world of District politics.
A graduate of Catholic University, Deschaine was active in the Democratic State Committee, the Gertrude Stein Democrats, the Logan Circle Community Association, and numerous other groups. After leaving the Williams administration, Deschaine worked for the Washington National Opera before returning to the Wilson Building last year to handle press and outreach for Evans.
Please put your memories of Desi in the comments.
UPDATE, 12:05 P.M.: Evans has released a statement: “Desi Deschaine was a bright, bubbly, enthusiastic, and wonderful person who you just could not help but love. I had the great pleasure of knowing and working with him not just on my staff, but on my campaigns, and over the years with Mayor Williams’ staff, the Opera and numerous other capacities and roles. He brought his passion, energy and good spirits to everything and everyone he touched over the years. My staff and I share the grief of and extend our condolences to Desi’s family and friends, and deeply mourn his untimely loss.”
UPDATE, 1:55 P.M.: A statement from Stein Club president Jeff Richardson: “Desi Deschaine was a bright and shining star in the DC Democratic Party and in the DC activist community. Desi involved himself in every sector of DC society and loved to build bridges and facilitate connections across communities. Desi will be missed, but through the joy he shared with us and his deep commitment to the District his spirit will live on.”
UPDATE, 5:20 P.M.: Friend Phil Attey has organized an impromptu vigil for Desi this evening at 7:30 in Logan Circle.
Photo from Facebook