No quiet time at Thanksgiving dinner with the seniors

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 28, 2008

Wasn’t much room to get in the door at the annual Senior Citizen’s Thanksgiving Dinner, held this past Tuesday at East St. John Elementary.

The St. John sheriff has sponsored the event from over 20 years ago, but it’s getting so large that there is now a host of sponsors for the big day of fun and games for our seniors.

This year Sheriff Wayne Jones was assisted by Parish President Bill Hubbard, District Attorney Tom Daley, the LaPlace Rotary Club, Crimefighters and the River Birch Sanitary Landfill company, as over 450 people packed the ESJE gymnasium for the fun.

I think I’ve figured out something else about this aging thing. Besides a multitude of things that happen with age, I believe there is a universal disease we all will catch known as “Bingotitis.” Of course that is the disease where senior citizens are fanatically out-of-control anytime someone stands at the front of the room and begins calling out things like “B-7,” or “G-13.” You get the point.

Once again I walked in during the bingo games so aptly being run by Capt. Michael Hoover and his assistants. And trust me on this one, you do not want to try and interrupt a senior member of our community while they are awaiting the next letter and number to be called.

If you do, I’m just letting you know—and note that I am warning you quite seriously—that you don’t want to mess with a senior during the bingo games. Got it?

Had a really nice chat with Gwendolyn Darensburg, who is president of the LaPlace chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She and two of her sorority sisters, Belinda Rodgers and Janice Brown were helping out at the luncheon, assisting the seniors with anything they needed, and then serving lunch.

Gwendolyn told me that the sorority was formed in 1920 at Howard University and now has thousands of members across the country, including the LaPlace chapter that was chartered in October, 2005.

You have probably noticed some of the sorority members over the last few years, working a number of different events that all involve service to the community. She said they have done voter registrations, health fairs, school assistance programs, and of course, senior citizen events.

They also sponsored a candidate forum during the last parish president’s race and will probably do more of those in the future.

Just wanted to say that it’s clear the group is doing a lot to help our community, and for that, thanks!

Also enjoyed talking with Charles Ursa and Marie Cambre Ursa from Garyville, my little neck of the woods. They were having fun with the bingo games, of course, so I made sure to only talk between calls.

Turns out Charles is the king coupon clipper of the neighborhood, and Marie said that he is the guy who knows every grocery store in the area, and who has the best prices.

Of course we’ve got a bunch of grocery stores around here, and of course I hope they will all run advertising with our paper, so I better be real careful saying one is better than the other.

But Charles did say that he loves coupon clipping, and naturally likes stores that make it worth his while.

Fortunately we do get most of the local grocery store ads, so you can just check them all out and decide for yourself which one has the best deals for you. But one thing Marie made pretty clear—when it comes to knowing store prices and who gives you the most for the coupons, just check with Charles.

And who was one of the happiest people at the luncheon on Tuesday?

It had to be Theresa Haydel, who happens to be the council president at Twin Oaks Nursing Home.

Theresa was the lucky winner of a big flat-screen TV in the big, final door prize drawing held by Sheriff Jones.

Not only did the sheriff get the TV to give away, but he also said his department will come to her room to install it on the wall if she wants.

That’s what I call service!

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at