I had the privilege  of meeting  Miss Antoinette on my very first trip to New Orleans. At that time, the Mother in Law lounge was gutted, awaiting work after Hurricane Katrina. Antoinette graciously invited us in and showed us around. I was instantly impressed with her strength and kindness.

Since then, I have visited her on each trip to New Orleans. In September 2005 we distributed some machines out of the Lounge and Antoinette held people at bay and helped calm the crowd when there weren’t enough machines to go around. As my then-husband, Walt, explained that he’d just come up with a raffle system to distribute the machines, Antoinette held him back, suggesting that she talk to the crowd of anxious ladies first. “You just stay here”, she told him, “I’m going out there to save your little white butt!”

On every visit, we’d laugh and reminisce about that day.

I always felt like she was a second mom to me…”are you hungry, baby?”, “what can I get you, baby?” she’d say.

Antoinette passed away on Mardi Gras day this year. Fitting that she’d go on her favorite day of the year. I will miss her so much but I can’t help thinking that somewhere, she’s finally sitting beside Ernie again, catching up and smiling.

To view the New York Times article about Miss Antoinette, please click here.

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