How fitting it is that my mother, Sophie Mongrue Braud, passed away this morning on this beautiful Mardi Gras Day at the age of 91. My dad, Allen Joseph Braud, passed away just 47 days ago on Christmas Day at the age of 90.
Since the day they got married in 1949, this is the longest they’ve ever been apart. I’ve always heard stories of couples that pass away just days or weeks apart. True to our expectations, Mom and Dad are one of those couples joined on earth and again in Heaven.
After Allen passed a few weeks ago, Sophie said she was ready to be with him. Both had been in failing health since Good Friday of 2013 – Yes, these Lovebirds even fell ill and began their earthly departure on the very same day nearly three years ago.
The Lovebirds grew up in the small town of Luling, Louisiana on the banks of the Mississippi River about 30 miles upriver from New Orleans. Back then the town was a dot amid the sugar cane fields, adjacent to the Ellington Plantation and sugar mill. Their childhood homes were just two blocks apart and they’ve known each other nearly all of their lives. (Dad recently recorded a historical interview about Luling)
They first dated in the 1930s while attending Hahnville High School and like many of the greatest generation, they had to pause while Allen served in the U.S. Air Force (Army Air Corps) during World War II.
After the war, Allen went to LSU to get his degree in Agriculture and they set their wedding date to be one day before Sophie turned 25 years old. Back then, a girl was considered an “Old Maid” if she wasn’t married before the age of 25.
One of the sweetest stories told of their wedding day is that Sophie, who lived across the street from the church, was driven from her back door, down the driveway, then around the block to the front of the church so she and her father, William J. Mongrue, could make an appropriate entrance by automobile.
The small town American Dream was their dream come true, raising five children and dedicating their lives to our betterment.
We were a station wagon family. Today, being Mardi Gras day, brings back such fond memories of Mom and Dad waking us early and loading us into the station wagon so we could go watch the parades on St. Charles Avenue.
It is difficult to know whether Christmas Day or Mardi Gras Day drew the greatest anticipation in the Braud household. How fitting that God selected Christmas for Allen’s passing and Mardi Gras for Sophie’s passing.
On Mardi Gras morning, Mom made the most amazing chicken salad sandwiches. When I got the call at 6 a.m. that Sophie had passed, I knew Allen had likely asked her to make chicken salad sandwiches for the parades today in Heaven… after all, that’s what Lovebirds do.
Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 12, 2016 at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Luling. Visitation will be at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, we encourage gifts to the Thomas W. Braud Medical Fund, 608 Willowridge Dr., Luling, LA 70070.