The Return of the (Garyville) Native

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Ripples – Anna Monica

When Lenny Gray took that 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 fifty 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 fifteen funerals in seven months.

Then, too, so much good can and does rise up to brighten and balance our world, helping us deal with the hard times My family added three: Matthew Accardo (Samuel’s brother, whose parents are Sammy, Jr. and Jennifer) and whose second birthday we just celebrated; 10-month old Riley Rae (Ty and Dennille Monica’s daughter); and six-month -old Easton, son of Sunny (Stein) and Macky Waguespack Ty coaches at St. Charles Catholic and Macky coaches at East St. John. So, there is proof that life indeed does go on as we cherish the memories of those who are gone before us and who have added such value to our own lives.

Leona Miano of Garyville and I feel we also added to our lives and prepared for Easter by attending the Charismatic Conference in New Orleans last weekend. It was a wonderful, prayerful time and we got to visit with LaPlace’s Larry Oney, one of the leaders on the steering committee and an outstanding speaker. His is a huge job with the conference but giving support were wife Andi and baby, Alex.

Thank you, friends, for your kind comments and warm reception in welcoming me back. It has been several years so bear with me in case I repeat something I already shared with you. But, chances are good that if I forgot what I already said, you did too.

Now I have to start meeting deadlines and writing shorter columns. It’s good to be “home” again. Happy Easter, everyone.