Life has been a journey for Walter Latiolais Sr.
He’s learned a lot about following his own path.
He was born in a community out in the Atchafalaya Basin, trailing in the footsteps of his father who would break tree limbs to mark his trail.
“He’d grab a limb and break it and then let it go and wham! It would hit me,” Latiolais says.
Another fond childhood memory for Walter is his mother and how she would go to The Ice House.
“She would crush the ice and make little snow cones. I remember those things,” he recalls
Latiolais left home at 16; he said it was time for time to earn his keep —– and go to work.
“Worked as a deckhand until I turned 18. That’s when I went into the military,” he says
On a weekend pass from boot camp, Latiolais married the woman of his dreams in Arkansas.
“I said give me a little time. I went outside and there was a drunk man walking in the road. I had him come in and he was the witness. I’ll never forget that,” he remembers.
He says she passed away two and a half weeks before their 61st wedding anniversary.
“You always saw us holding hands, even in the car. She had beautiful hands. I just loved holding her hand,” he says.
As far as his career, that was well guided by the military.
“We were about midway in the Pacific when they announced the war had ended and we would be landing somewhere in Yokohama, Japan,” Latiolais says.
He was ward master, trained to be a lab technician, then moved back to Loreauville where a hospital had just opened.
“They needed a technician. They hired me to be the lab surgical and x-ray technician,” he says.
Now hes’ doing a little of this and alot of that — all involving his iPad, laptop and Facebook.
Latolais even makes jewelry and curves walking canes.
His advice for young men is to join the military there’s a lot that can be learned.
“Its going to be hard taking the boot training. It’s rough, but once you accomplish that its up to you. you can go as high as you want to, says Latolais.
Latolais retired after 24 years of working for an oil company.
He has four children, born four years apart.
He also says he has lots of friends and who he truly enjoys spending time with.