The Return of the (Garyville) Native

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 7, 2004

By Anna Monica – Correspondent

When Lenny Gray took this picture of me last week, he had my instructions to not use it unless I could look like Elizabeth Taylor did thirty years ago. Well, what can I say? Being a man of integrity, Lenny used what he had. Next time, it’s Glamour shots!

Yes, it’s me, and I cannot tell you the pleasure I have in being back to write for you, the readers. My leaving the paper was a different set of circumstances not in my control but that was then and now I feel like I have come “home” again. Speaking of home, my sister, Maria, says don’t be surprised, since I tend to write sometimes about family, that if everyone starts leaving the room when I come in.

You will agree, “home” is not the same as when I last communicated with you over two years ago. So much has changed since the 9/11 bombing. When that first happened, I remember Maria saying “things will never be the same again.” I didn’t necessarily commit to that, but we all have to agree, it is so very true. Perhaps you are one of those who have been searched before boarding a plane. I was over a year ago when Maria, sister-in-law, Linda Monica, Penny Ancale and I flew to Disney. They wanted one of us to be searched and I volunteered for the experience. “Piece of cake!” Of course, I had even left my fingernail file at home.

Life has changed dramatically for me and my family, too. There has been a heavy loss of friends and family in a year’s time. Goodbyes were said to wonderful, long-time friends of mine, including my best friend from high school, Dee Ann Tregre of Destrehan, who grew up in Reserve. We got into so many scrapes together in high school that it was a relief to finish! Goodbye was also said to the dads of two of my brothers-in-law, Norwood Stein of Reserve, Wayne’s dad, and Salvatore Accardo of Belmont, Sammy’s dad. Linda Monica’s brother, Oliver Bourgeois, Jr. of Paulina was laid to rest as was Gloria Weber of Reserve. Gloria’s sister, Pat Haydel, Earline Cicet and I commuted together to work in New Orleans for a long time and shared many naps in the car. Calvin Perilloux of LaPlace, a very fine gentleman I once interviewed for this paper and whose wife, RoseMarie, was once our 4-H leader, has departed and last October my own dear mother, Vita, originator of over 50 St. Joseph Altars, departed from this life followed by her sister, Clara Oubre, four months later.

“It was just one of those terribly tragic years that sometimes occurs in people’s lives” author Anthony DeStefano says in his book “Travel Guide to Heaven,” after attending 15 funerals in seven months.