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.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.