Elsie Patricia "Pat" Olinde Laurent: March 15, 1927 – June 28, 2020- Our beautiful Mama died in the home that she so loved, built for her more than 50 years ago by our Daddy, O. B. Laurent. Jr. She was an extraordinary southern lady with a deep faith, a strong love of her family, and an appreciation of music that she shared with many throughout her long life. Mama was known for her determination and resilience. She was the third of seven children born to Humphrey Theodore and Elsie Heck Olinde. She had an idyllic childhood and often spoke of happy times with her brothers, sister, many cousins, and neighbors. Mama graduated from St. Joseph Academy where she played basketball, was in the band, and was active in many community and school organizations. She graduated from LSU Baton Rouge with a degree in music. She was featured as a "Big Shot" in the 1948 Gumbo. Mama was a member of Delta Omicron and President of Beta Sigma Omicrom, music clubs on campus. She was also a member of the Mortar Board, the Panhellenic Council, Delta Gama Delta Sorority, and the Newman Club, a Catholic organization. After marrying Daddy, she joined him in Austin at the University of Texas where he was studying architecture and she began graduate school. Their plans were cut short when Daddy was needed at the family lumber company to run the construction side of the business. They returned to their beloved New Roads and began their family. Mama and Daddy were quite the couple. They were members of the Tropical Gardens Dance Club and were active in many community organizations. They were founding members of False River Academy. Mama was active in the Mother's Culture Club and was a longtime and current member of the Reading Circle. She was active in historic preservation and a proud member of the Pointe Coupee Historical Society and Friends of French at LSU. Mama's greatest passion was her family. During the 1950s, she gave birth to seven children. She and Daddy saw to it that each of us developed to our fullest potential. They took us on many family adventures and vacations and made many sacrifices to make sure that each of us had more than what we needed – from guitar lessons to trips abroad. Sadly, Daddy, left this world when he was only 54, but Mama was determined that her family would continue as she and daddy had always envisioned. With four children in college at the time of his death, she taught piano lessons at home, worked briefly at the Department of Public Welfare, and even returned to college herself so that she could teach elementary school. Although Daddy died before the birth of his first grandchild, Mama saw to it that each grew up learning about him. She cherished her time with each of her eighteen grandchildren and shared many life lessons (and piano lessons!) with them. She planned beach vacations for the entire family and had many exciting adventures with this next generation. Each grandchild could tell stories of times spent on her back porch drinking lemonade and working puzzles or just discussing life, music, and politics. Without a doubt, music was also one of Mama's greatest passions. Mama loved playing the piano and spent many hours at the piano with her mother. Eventually, she had two baby grand pianos in her living room, and she had no trouble finding three talented friends to join her for practice and concerts. It would be impossible to guess how many children and adults she touched with this passion. She introduced countless area children to the love of music through the piano. This love of music was manifested in many ways by her students, even carving out careers for some. She further shared this love by accompanying the choir at St. Francis Chapel on the Pointe Coupee River Road. She later formed an all men's choir there where she looked forward to singing with Lily and "her men" at 7 am Mass each Sunday. Mama is survived by her seven children and their spouses: Benoit and Kay Galloway Laurent (Grayton Beach, FL), Anne Laurent (Santa Cruz, CA), Julie and Keith Bergeron (Ventress), Danielle and Richard Burlette (Lakeland), Noelie and Glenn Grezaffi (New Roads), Humphrey "Hank" and Tanya Pelekai Laurent (Seal Beach, CA), and Renee and Karl Glaser (New Roads). She also leaves behind 18 grandchildren: Angelique Bergeron (Skylar White), Sarah Grantham (Michael). Renee Bergeron (Chris Lohman), Lane Ewing (Anna McGee), Joannie Sloane (Cyrus), Warren Laurent (Kristen), Caryl Ewing (Ken Sherman), Craig Dardenne (Christen), Beau Laurent, Karla Logan (Tom), Zack Glaser, Olex Laurent (Jessica), Arthur Ewing, Adrienne Meyers (Garrett), Lance Glaser (Molly), Eugenie Laurent, Theo Laurent, Becky Miller (Michael). Mama was also blessed with 22 great grandchildren: Knox and Emmaline Grantham; Hendrix and Lennon Laurent; Zora White; Olivia Lohman; Sadie, Elsie, and Cy Sloane; Landon and Ella Dardenne; Rowan Meyers: Trey and Shannon Burlette; Rhea Sherman; Elie and Merritt Miller; Olex Benoit "Cinq" Laurent, V; Theo Laurent; Jack and Andrew Logan; Riley Glaser. Mama is survived by a sister, Elizabeth "Betty" Wilson of Lafayette, and two brothers: Alfred "Al" Olinde (Verline) of Mandeville and Christopher "Chris" Olinde of Dowington, PA, and a sister-in-law, Diane Olinde. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, and Godchildren Joy Bonvillain, Dr. Andrew Olinde, and Lynette Broussard. Mama was preceded in death by our father, O.B., her parents, a great-grandson, Elliot Laurent, three brothers: J.B., Humphrey "Bubber", and Henry "Heck" Olinde; and brothers-in-law, John Laurent, Joseph "Joe" Laurent, and Ned Wilson. She was also preceded in death by sisters-in-law, Laura Laurent and Tyke Olinde, and Godchild Pat Jewell. A funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, July 1, at 10 AM at St. Mary of False River Catholic Church in New Roads with Fr. Pat Broussard as the celebrant. Burial will follow at St. Mary Cemetery. Pallbearers will be grandsons. We ask that no one enter the church without a mask. Due to the pandemic, these should be kept on during the service. The family wishes to extend its gratitude to Fr. Pat Broussard and Sr. Mary Ann Hebert for the love, devotion, and spiritual support offered to all of us. We also thank the wonderful doctors who cared for her: Dr. Paul Rachal of New Roads, her Ochsner team- Dr. Abi-Samara, Dr. Naseer Khan, Dr. Khuri, Dr. Zheng, and Nurse Gilda; Dr. Antoine Keller, and Dr. Andrew Olinde, who was always called in for a consult. A special thanks to Pointe Coupee Hospice, especially Jeanine Thibodeaux (who she considered a Godchild), Nurse Cassie Schaffield, and Carolyn Montgomery, and to her sitters for the past 6 months who cared lovingly for her – especially Brenda Aguillard, Betty Franklin, and Lakeisha Louis. We will be forever grateful to all of you. Charities near and dear to Mama's heart include the Pointe Coupee Historical Society, P. O. Box 462, New Roads, LA 70760 and St. Francis Chapel c/o St. Mary of False River Catholic Church, 348 West Main Street, New Roads, LA 70760.
Published in The Advocate from Jun. 29 to Jul. 2, 2020.