On Thanksgiving Day 2005, a day before she was to turn 83, the exuberant, adventurous Lulu had done all she ever set out to do. She was born on Thanksgiving and celebrated her birthday on the holiday each year, marking one last milestone before she passed away last week.
Some years ago, Lulu's devoted husband Paul ran across a poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore, written to Moore's wife.Â It struck him as appropriate for Lulu, and he memorized it and recited it to her at Thanksgiving dinners.
Of all my happiest hours of joy,
And even I have had my measure,
When hearts were full, and ev'ry eye
Hath kindled with the light of pleasure,
An hour like this I ne'er was given,
So full of friendship's purest blisses;
Young Love himself looks down from heaven,
To smile on such a day as this is.
Then come, my friends, this hour improve,
Let's feel as if we ne'er could sever;Â Â
And may the birth of her we love
Be thus with joy remember'd ever!
Lulu sang and danced her way through life, and her smile could brighten a room in seconds. It's been said she knew the words to a thousand songs and scriptures, and she also had a passion for the opera.
Lulu loved art ' especially sculpture. In 1976 she was responsible for one of Acadiana's first privately commissioned public sculptures at 1001 Pinhook Road. She recently helped pave the way for the creation of the new Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, donating $3 million toward construction of the building. She never intended for it to bear her and Paul's name; she was much too humble for that.
Lulu loved tennis. She won the Texas Ladies Championship at age 16 and later did volunteer work by setting up tennis clinics in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Houston. She was instrumental in founding the Houston Ladies Tennis Association, which today has several thousand members.Â As tennis coordinator for the Houston Parks and Recreation department, she would rustle up racquets from pros to auction off to raise money for the program. In recognition of her contributions and leadership, the HLTA holds an annual tennis tournament called the "Lulu Belle." When she moved to Lafayette, Lulu continued the charitable work, founding the Tennis Association of Lafayette Ladies.
Lulu loved to travel. And she was always excited to return home with her great pictures and even better stories, like the one about her riding an ostrich in South Africa and dancing with women in the Zulu tribe.
Lafayette banker Rusty Cloutier recalls a bank meeting shortly after the Hilliards returned from a trip to China. She leaned over and put her little red head on the ground and quickly went into a headstand to show everyone what she'd done against the Great Wall of China. "She had us in stitches," Cloutier says.
And that's just what she hoped to do. "It was her way of breaking the ice," Paul says, "especially if the people around her were too somber or serious to suit her happy nature." She did her headstands all over the world, in Moscow across from the Kremlin, in the Beijing airport "because we had flown from Moscow to Beijing with the Chinese girls volleyball team but on a miserable Russian airline, and everyone was dead tired," Paul remembers.
Lulu loved her husband and family. She had two sons and a daughter and was stepmother to Paul's four daughters. The extended family now numbers 51, including 21 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
She loved life, and she celebrated it for 83 years. Lulu Hilliard taught us to live life to its fullest and do a few headstands along the way.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.