League City resident and Deer Park teacher Susana Valdes never knew Pimp C. She did, however, know Chad Butler. In fact, she taught the Dirty South hip-hop legend sixth grade social studies back at Woodrow Wilson Junior High in Port Arthur.
Here’s the Chad Butler she remembered:
“I taught in Port Arthur schools from 1985 to 1995… I was watching the news last night, and I heard ‘Butler’ and I heard ‘Port Arthur.’ I didn’t know he was Pimp C and I didn’t know he was a rapper. I’ve just been out of touch I guess. Well, you know, woman, almost 50 years old, I don’t keep up with all that… But it caught my ear. So I came to the computer and I looked it up and saw that it was Chad Butler and I thought, ‘That can’t be the same guy.’ But the more I looked – remember, he was 11 years old when I taught him – I thought, well, that’s him. That’s his face. He changed but not enough to where I wouldn’t recognize him, and then once I saw his mother on the news I knew it was him.”
“To be honest, I was very shocked. Woodrow Wilson – it’s closed now -- was on the west side of Port Arthur. The school I would say was 95 percent black at that time. We had a special program for advanced kids where we would bring white kids to Woodrow Wilson so it would be mixed.”
“Chad lived on the West Side. His step-father at the time – Mr Monroe – was the band director at the time. I had Chad when he was 11. He was very quiet, very well-mannered. He wasn’t a troublemaker, came to school, did was he was supposed to. He was very polite, and nice to other kids.”
“He stood out because you could tell he was very well taken care of. A lot of the students that I had were from the projects, and you could tell the difference between them and Chad and some of the other kids that I had.”
“He was just a delight. He always did what he was told, just ‘Yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, no sir.’ So he was always stuck in my mind. Chad was just a wonderful kid.”
“It was kinda hard to tell how musical he was because I taught social studies. I know that he was in the band and he was very good at it and liked music. For me, teaching him social studies, it was kinda hard for me to put it all together, but I do know that he liked music a lot, just from the way that he behaved in school.”
“Everything was important to him, because he always tried to do the right thing. You never had to raise your voice at him, you never had to question him about homework. It’s kinda hard for me to say, but I know that he did come from a musical family.”
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
“Mister Monroe was a trumpet player, and there never was any other father that I ever heard of. But we know that Mr. Monroe was his step-father because Chad went by Butler and his mother ever since I knew her has always been a Monroe. It could have been that Mr Monroe raised him and instilled in him the love of music.”
“Sometimes you teach kids in junior high and they grow up and you don’t really hear about them anymore. Like I said I’ve been out of Port Arthur a long time and I had no idea he became what he is, or was.”
“I was surprised at his death, but not surprised at his success, because Chad always worked hard.”