90-Plus: Opelousas mother says “take care of yourself, eat properly and of course and be kind”

Renee Allen's 90 Plus

OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — For KLFY 90 Plus, An outspoken Opelousas mother says she’s known for turning over someone’s apple cart.

Hilda Decoux Gardere, 91, of Opelousas talks about evacuating for Hurricane Ida and her journey through life.

“I’ll stay in a shelter or a hotel.  I’m not going to do that again,” Gardere stated.

Gardere says the drive to Houston ahead of hurricane was a daunting experience.

“People were tired, they were taking to the parking lanes and going around real fast.  There were angry people and several accidents.  In fact, we were hit in the back ourselves,” Gardere added.

Gardere has 12 siblings.  

She was born and raised in Pointe Coupee parish.

“We had our own school because we couldn’t go to school in that parish.  The teacher lived with us.

Everybody behaved at school and at home,” Gardere smiled.

She says her father was a businessman and landowner.

“My father had a lot of tenants.  He had tenant farmers.  That was 75 acres.  He said he would never plant cotton that’s why we had a lot of sugar cane.  We had our own syrup mill and our own grocery store.”

Plus, Gardere remembers the family’s love for music.

“My brothers and sisters were taught music but when they got to me, I guess they were tired,” Gardere added.

The family moved to Opelousas after the Morganza Spillway was built.

Gardere says their home was in the floodway.

“When we came here my father started an economy casket business where we built vaults, tombs and headstones,” Gardere noted.

Eventually, Hilda headed to college to study art and nutrition.

Much of what she paints adorns the walls and shelves of her home.

She is the mother of one daughter.

Hilda worked offshore after proving she could handle the job.

“They said don’t unpack. They told the pilot to keep it turning.  They ate the first meal, and they were quiet,” Hilda said.

In addition, Hilda says she joined a police auxiliary where local citizens were sworn-in to help when extra manpower was needed.

“When they had parades or festivals we would be sworn-in within the town we were in.”

For Hilda, how you live your life will determine the quality of your life.

“Take care of yourself, eat properly and of course be kind.  There’s not enough kindness around,” Hilda explained.

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