Doris LeBlanc, a native to Ascension, is turning 97 this July

Darian Graivshark
Original ration stamps from World War II.

Born on July 23, 1923, Doris LeBlanc has been a resident of Ascension Parish her whole life.

Doris is the first and oldest of nine children, with three brothers and three sisters. Two of those siblings have passed away.

In 1940, LeBlanc graduated from Gonzales High School at the age of 16. During that time, they only went to school for eleven years. Afterward, she made her way to New Orleans to attend beauty school. She owned her own hair salon for 29 years, but she was in the beauty business for 39 years. In 1980, LeBlanc retired.

As a child, before television or phones were a thing, she and her sisters would sit on their front porch and sing to big band music while the wind sung through their porch swing. Today, LeBlanc still sings some of those songs from back then, especially during Karaoke at Francois Bend, where she currently resides. Her favorite song is still "In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town" by Ted Lewis.

"We really enjoyed going to watch movies, too. Back then, we could buy our tickets, a cold drink, and a bag of popcorn for just twenty-five cents. My favorite movies were Casablanca and Gone with the Wind," LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc also wrote a book called "The Early Years," which is about her memories of Gonzales, as well as some research and history on it. The book sold over 1,500 copies, but is no longer available for sale. There are four books in the Gonzales public library, though.

In 1940, LeBlanc recalls a fire in Gonzales. She remembers men trying to put the fire out and couldn't, which prompted them to open a fire station. Members of the Lions Club during that time decided to form a womanless wedding event, which would help raise funds towards the purchase of a fire truck for the City of Gonzales. Her father was one of those who participated in the event, and he was the flower girl. The womanless wedding was held at the Gonzales High School Gym, and that was the same year LeBlanc graduated from high school.

"Back then, we graduated in evening dresses, as you can see from my photo. It wasn't util 1951 that they graduated in caps and gowns. I remember this because my sisters was a part of that graduating class," LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc has been very involved with the city all her life. "I've seen Gonzales grow from a village, to a city, to the thriving town that it is today," she said.

Civic minded, and helping to make Gonzales a better place to live, LeBlanc is a past President of the Gonzales High School PTA, member and past President of the American Legion Gautreau-Williams Post 81 Auxiliary, the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors for the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce, past Chairman of the Gonzales Christmas parade, member/past President of Cajun Country Quilters in 1950, a Charter Member and one of the organizers for St. Theresa Court #1955 Catholic Daughters of America, as well as a past member of the Gonzales Festival Association.

Being so involved and interested in the city, LeBlanc was encouraged by friends and family members to write her book.

LeBlanc also had three children, two sons and one daughter, who still reside in Ascension today. She married her husband, Samuel LeBlanc, in October of 1941. Samuel passed away 16 years ago and worked for the Federal Government. Her mother passed away in 1946, just three days before her 94th birthday.

"My husband and I did a lot of traveling, too. When I decided to retire, he retired too. He said he wanted to travel, and I told him he wasn't going without me. So, that's what we did. We RV'd for 25 years, had three travel trailers, and a motor home. We went to all of the states besides six," LeBlanc said.

After her husband died, LeBlanc realized she was forgetting how to speak the French language, which is what she spoke mostly until the age of six. Now, every Saturday, LeBlanc meets with a group of French speakers and is relearning how to write and speak it again.

Then of course, like almost any native to Louisiana, LeBlanc prefers seafood over almost any other meat. She especially enjoys crab.

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