Grew Up… born into the upper crust. Louis attended Phillip Exeter Academy and Harvard University, where he was a member of the Zeta Chi fraternity.
Living… in a handsome Philadelphia brownstone. Every morning Louis’ butler Coleman serves him breakfast in bed, shaves him with a straight razor, and picks out his outfit for the day. He then drives Louis to work in a Mercedes-Benz limousine. After work Louis often heads to the Heritage Club, founded in 1776, where he and his chums sit around eating hors d’oeuvres and reading the Wall Street Journal. But that is all about to change drastically.
Profession… commodities broker for Duke & Duke. The firm was founded by wealthy brothers Mortimer and Randolph Duke, who believe Louis to be “a very steady young man” with a preternatural ability to predict trends in various commodities markets. But that doesn’t stop the Duke brothers from making Louis a pawn in a nature vs. nurture social experiment. They decide to ruin Louis’ life and hire a destitute panhandler, Billy Ray Valentine, to replace him at Duke & Duke and in his brownstone. The scheme is both elegant and thorough – they frame Louis for theft, fire him from his job, evict him, freeze his bank accounts, and plant PCP on him. Ouch!
Interests… going to the opera; La Boheme is one of his favorites. His favored comedic medium is the pun. But after his life is ruined, his main interest is clearing his name and taking revenge on the man he believes has wronged him – Billy Ray Valentine.
Relationship Status… engaged to Ms. Penelope Witherspoon, grand-niece of the Dukes. But the odds don’t seem good that the blue-blooded Penelope will stick around long when it appears that Louis is a destitute criminal. Maybe he has a chance with the level-headed prostitute, Ophelia, who takes him in at his lowest point.
Challenge… figuring out who actually destroyed his life, and what to do about it. Billy Ray was ultimately a plaything of the Duke brothers just like Louis, not Louis’ enemy. If Billy Ray can convince him of that, perhaps they can team up to take the Duke brothers down.
Personality… arrogant, persnickety, and fairly racist. At least, at first. When Louis inadvertently bumps into Billy Ray Valentine on the street, he pleads for him not to kill him and offers his suitcase as an offering. Once Billy Ray is wrongfully arrested, Louis announces that he would like to press full charges and later refers to him as a “terrible, awful Negro.” But when Louis gets a hard lesson about life on the streets, he eventually softens some of his more judgmental edges. It’s likely not an experience he wants to repeat, but getting his life destroyed may end up doing him a lot of good.
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