Long lives, but no tall tales

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2012

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – For more than a decade now Twin Oaks nursing home in LaPlace has been honoring residents age 90 and older with a special program called “This Is Your Life.”

Wednesday saw six new honorees’ lives celebrated with stories and other remembrances from family members and roses courtesy of Blooming Vines.  This year’s honorees included Mayola Brown, 95, Helen Davis, 90, Hazel Feliciana, 91, Doris Roane, 91, Mae Roussel, 90, and Ruth King, 90.

The program opened with a prayer and a song from the Rev. Perry Suggs before each honoree was brought to the front of the activity room, surrounded by family, and their long lives celebrated.

The family of the first honoree, Brown, set the tone for the afternoon with warm tales of struggle and love.

“Mama, how ironic, I was your worst child and now it’s just me and you,” said her daughter, Tracey Breaux.

Brown was also honored by Steven and Rita Perrilloux of Riverlands Christian Center.

“God always used Mother Brown to give me that motherly wisdom,” said Rita Perrilloux. “Mother Brown’s been with us since day one.”

“You’re looking at the epitome of a virtuous woman,” added Steven Perrilloux.

Marguerite Fleming, the daughter of Davis, the afternoon’s second honoree, told of her mother’s great talents, from sewing to cooking to painting.

“She still paints,” said Fleming. “Nothing interferes with her art classes.”

As the honors continued, it was clear to see that each nonagenarian had a unique life before coming to Twin Oaks. Feliciana met her granddaughter, Sharon Garrett, who was given up for adoption, for the first time Wednesday. Roane was new to the home, and her son, John Roane, fought back tears as he proclaimed his love and admiration for his mother. Roussel was born in Reserve in 1922 and made St. John the Baptist Parish her home ever since. King, on the other hand, was born elsewhere and struggled through the Great Depression, her family at one point sleeping in a tent in a cherry orchard.

Though their stories were each unique, there was one thing each of these ladies shared. They each fostered a family filled with love and devotion.