Celebrating turning Eighty

My husband, Julian, our five children and spouses, eight of our nine grandchildren and three great-grand children gave me a marvelous birthday weekend. They rented a large suite at the beautiful Montgomery Bell State Park near us and decorated it with a New Orleans and Mardi Gras Theme complete with Dixie Land Music, Mardi Gras Masks, beads, balloons, flowers, and all kinds of tinsel spirals and confetti. There was an awesome feast of New Orleans foods. I was born in New Orleans, baptized in the St. Louis Cathedral and lived in the Pontalba Apartments on Jackson Square in the French quarter.  We moved when I was six,and I have lived since 1961 in Tennessee, but somehow New Orleans and the French Quarter are still my hearts home.  My grown children also put some poster size and other smaller collages of pictures of me from the various stages of my life all over the walls along with signs and pictures of New Orleans.  I thought that was cool, until they started snapping photos of eighty year old me next to twenty and thirty year old me.  No fair!

St. Louis Cathedral where I was baptized. Right across from Jackson Square and catty-corner to our apartments.  Mom told me we went to the French Market for coffee and pastries every morning.  


I’m not very good at posting photos.  I couldn’t get them to stay in a reasonable line.  They started stringing out.

Various ages…..none 80!!!

My only daughter Julie, and her husband Scot and son Jake came from Memphis. Julie found all the decorations for the New Orleans theme and they all spent a whole lot of time decorating.  The rooms  looked out over the lake and woods.   And my daughter-in-law, Molly fixed chicken and linguini and pineapple upside down cake and peach cobbler.  Julie baked both chocolate covered and coconut topped cupcakes…..and of course there was lots of ice cream. Yum!


Parasol Princess, great-granddaughter Eisley here from Seattle. Her dad, Josh, just back  to Seattle from Hawaii surprised me by coming also.

Parasol Queen Eileen from New Orleans.  With  twelve year old granddaughter Emma sitting next to me.   Julie gave me the spangled shawl and the wonderful parasol.                                                

Jambalaya, Shrimp and Grits, Red beans and Rice, Shrimp and pasta with garlic sauce. and more. Here our third son, Steve, from Atlanta is helping Julie. (Or getting himself some wine!)

Presents! Yay!  But the best presents were son Mike and son -in-law Patrick in for the first time in a year from Cambodia where they teach at an Orphanage for children.  And our Julie’s son Jordan who was in from Bolivia where he teaches fifth grade.


Here I’m with my mom in New Orleans. Of course I fell and skinned my nose and got my dress dirty right before the Newspaper photographer came. Klutz is my middle name.  I hadn’t looked at this photo or the one with my dad in a long time.  My husband found them and gave them to the kids to put up.  Very poignant for me to look at these at my age.  My parents have been gone a very long time.  


Here I’m a Senior in High School in Houston

Not quite 80 in this one. I confess it’s one of my better little old lady pictures.

Last year at my husband Julian’s eightieth birthday with our five children.

With my dad, then  a newspaper reporter in New Orleans,                                                                                                                   later City Editor of the Houston Post. He grew up in New Orleans.  Any way, having such a loving family, good memories,  and such a fun celebration came a long way toward making being eighty seem pretty good.



About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of five. 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator, Was married for 60 years to an Architect in Middle Tennessee.

Posted on July 19, 2017, in 80th Birthday New Orleans Celebration, blessings, Gifts of Age, grandchildren, Love, Nostalgia and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. What a wonderful 80th celebration of YOU! You are truly blessed to have such loving family members create such an amazing event and putting in so much loving effort! HappyBirthday to you.



    • It was great fun, but it turns out that at 80 even fun takes a toll! 🙂 Mike and Patrick just left for California before returning to Cambodia and I am going back to bed!


  2. Fab Eileen. Nothing quite like getting the family together is there and the food. Sounds wonderful. What was life like in the French Quarter back then.


    • I was too young to know, but according to my mother I teethed on Pat O’Brien’s bar. Also, they decided to move to another area
      when I was about three, because someone left the gate to the inner court yard open during Mardi Gras and the apartment
      quickly filled up with partying tourists, including two drunken sailors that decided to play catch, using me as the ball.
      However, I have been back to visit as an adult. And I simply love it. I love the wonderful hoge-poge of humanity on Bourbon Street.
      The jazz music drifting out of the bars, the drag queens dancing on the balcony of the “Me Oh My Club”, the street evangelist pouring his heart out trying to save everyone, the well nourished tourists in bermuda shorts from corn pone country, a group of nervous Sunday School Teachers walking so close together they looked like one animated leggo creation. I stood in the middle of the intersection laughing and delighting in the wonderful diversity of humanity. Though the courthouse with the slave auction block in front next to the Cathedral illustrates the paradoxical nature of humanity rather graphically.
      I also love elegant Royal St. with it’s wonderful old buildings,(old as in an American old, not an England old!) courtyards and antique shops. And, of course, all the famous old restaurants, the street artists, the voodoo recruiters, and musicians. And the pirate, Jean Lafitte’s blacksmith shop, now a bar. The sounds of gulls and ships just out of sight, and at any moment a Dixie Land Band may come marching down the street playing ragtime.


  3. Sending you lots of good wishes for your birthday. Looks like a great celebration.


  4. And here you are, still gorgeous after all these years❤️ Beautiful pictures of you and your family. Happy Birthday!


  5. Your 80th birthday party is fabulous! I love all your pictures. You and I have much geography in common. I am familiar and have been to all the places you named. I was born in Houston. My mother and I both graduated from Newcomb (Tulane) in New Orleans. Wasn’t the Me Oh My Club out on Lake Ponchatrain in the fifties? My son lived in New Orleans near the French Quarter. My first husband and I lived in Nashville while he was in law school. We used to take walks in Montgomery Bell State Park. My mother and two sisters went to Ward Belmont School. Thanks for bringing back so many memories for me. l know you have made many new ones from your wonderful celebration. ❤


    • Our connections are amazing. Dad went to Tulane. Cousins went to Newcomb, my grandfather, John Pearse O’Leary, built the large Catholic Church there on Canal(?) near Loyola(?) My sister in law, then Carolyn Norman, went to Ward Belmont for high school, then to Vanderbilt. My husband’s father and two brothers and his brother-in-law were all lawyers in Nashville and the one still living is a judge there now. I don’t know about the Me Oh My Club for sure. I wasn’t ever in New Orleans in the fifties. I went to St. Agnes Academy for High School and lived near Hermann Park in Houston. Then after Rice, my husband and I had a house on Albans, not too far from Rice. Julian grew up in Nashville. He lived on Ensworth, until his family built an apartment downtown over their law offices. It stretched from 3rd Ave. to Printer’s Alley (Nashville’s version of Bourbon St!) Maybe being in law-school in Nashville, you know Printer’s Alley. 🙂


  6. What a wonderful celebration! Happy 80th birthday…wishing you all the best. 🙂 Aleya


  7. my very best: health, joy and a long life, Eileen!
    * * *
    @”New Orleans and the French Quarter are still my heart’s home.” – been 3 times during our 5 years in Houston, TX… btw, there’s a Toulouse street in the French Quarter! 🙂


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