Age Really Is Just A Number

Brad Goins Friday, October 8, 2021 Comments Off on Age Really Is Just A Number
Age Really Is Just A Number

There is, in Louisiana, a 105-year-old runner, who, says the Baton Rouge Advocate, has “achieved huge success in the 100-plus age group” of track and field athletes.

Would you ever have imagined that there is a “100-plus age group” in the running world? Apparently, it’s a thing.

Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins

The 105-year-old Louisiana runner, Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, has long excelled at the 100-meter dash. On Aug. 15, Diane “Flash” Friedman, a 100-year-old from Ohio, broke Hawkins’ world record for the 100-meter dash for the 100-plus age group at the Michigan Senior Olympics. 

Friedman claimed not to be surprised by her achievement, nonchalantly stating, “I’ve won a lot. I’m just so accustomed to it.”

Friedman mentioned that it was her goal to meet and speak with Hawkins. Reportedly, Friedman thought a race between the two was a good idea, saying, “We’re going to be competitive. I’m going to beat the devil out of you!”

Friedman’s trainer Bruce Sherman said she was “a coach’s dream,” explaining that “when the gun goes off, she has this thing where she is the ultimate competitor.”

Even though Friedman broke Hawkins’ world record, Hawkins said she was “happy for her.” Hawkins noted, “I’ve never had a coach, and I’ve never been trained. I just got out there and ran. If I had been trained … well, I didn’t want to do it that way. I just liked to run on my own … “

After competing in the Senior Games in Louisiana this November, Hawkins will face Friedman at the National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in May, 2022.

Hawkins made news earlier this year when she got her COVID vaccination early — on Jan. 8, when she was still a month away from 105, at Our Lady of the Lake. 

Hawkins had thought that COVID would put an end to her running. She had planned for the Masters National Indoor Track and Field Championships at LSU in 2020 (which were eventually cancelled) to be her last race.

But something must have changed, because she’s still running. “I’m amazed that I can still do it, but I can,” she told WBRZ 2. “I can’t see what I’m doing, but I can still do it.”

Hawkins grew up in Baton Rouge and spent her whole life there. She told BR Proud, “when all those computers came in, I was probably 80, or something like that.” At the time of that 2019 interview, she noted, she had already appeared in Sports Illustrated four times. “The first time I ran was in Lake Charles,” she said. 

In addition to winning the gold medal for the 100 meter dash in those Senior Olympics — held when she was 99 — she ran the 50-yard dash for the first time. In each subsequent year, she’s finished first in the 100-meter dash at the event. 

Her advice to others approaching her age: “It’s important, when you get old, to have passions; to care about things … Whatever your passions … the more you have … the longer you’ll live, because you have something to live for.”

Hawkins has written an autobiography titled It’s Been Wondrous! it’s available on Amazon. 

The Wildcat Brothers

Another phenomenon that seems to be a thing in south Louisiana is rum-making.

A new operation called Wildcat Brothers Distillers is now producing rum in Lafayette.

The venture is run by old friends Tait Martin and David Meaux. When the two were buddies in college, Martin was set on going to graduate school while Meaux aimed to become a lawyer.

Tait eventually moved into marketing. And while Meaux did become a lawyer, he eventually got bored with that. He took up the hobby of distilling rum in his garage in his spare time.

“I’ve got certain skill sets,” says Meaux. “And whenever I discovered that making rum was one of them, I decided that this is it.”

It seems that when the two decided to create a new Lafayette distillery, they moved very quickly. “I came over with David, bought half the distillery and then told my wife, which was the wrong way to do it,” said Martin. Apparently Meaux spoke with his wife before he made his commitment.

The resulting Wildcat Brothers distillery now produces nearly 20,000 bottles of rum a year. The liquor is presently sold in 30 states. The Brothers staff say they “hand-bottle each bottle.” According to the Wildcats’ Andy Montesano, “all of our rum is definitely hand-crafted, and it’s made with premier ingredients.”

Located at a place called Gator Cove, tastings, music and events will become common features at the distillery once COVID restrictions ease a bit more.

“Conservation, innovation, celebration, moderation,” says Meaux, are the “four buzzwords that go into the Wildcat Way.” If the rum is as distinctive as that grouping of nouns, it must pack quite a punch.

Queen Of Pink

The annual Queen of Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Walk is set to take place Saturday, Oct. 2, 9 am to 1 pm, at the Purple Heart Memorial Park (at the intersection of U.S. 171 and 190) in Ragley.

The Queen of Pink organization is a 501(c)3 that is dedicated to helping breast cancer patients in Southwest Louisiana who are in financial need. During the 14 years the walk has taken place, the organization has donated more than $100,000 to local residents with breast cancer.

Features of the event will include a raffle, merchandise booths, kids’ games, a silent auction (9 to 11 am) and a live auction at 11:30 am.

Those 13 and older will need to make a donation of $20 to register; the donation for those 4 to 12 is $10. Breast cancer patients register for free. For more information, call event coordinator Joyce Bennett at (337) 842-1448 or visit

Each month the Queen of Pink organization gives a one-time gift of $500 to an individual who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and who lives in the Greater Calcasieu area.

Community Garage Sale Fundraiser

The St. Francis de Sales Oratory in Sulphur will hold a community garage sale fundraiser on Oct. 15 and 16 in the Fr. Vecchio Hall at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Sulphur. 

Proceeds will go to the construction of catechism classrooms and the confessional; for the purchasing of books; and for repairs needed to the priest’s home, the church building and other structures on the property. For more information, text Melanie Trahan at (337) 764-5183.

The Saint Francis de Sales Oratory was established in 2020 at 802 S. Huntington St. in Sulphur at the original location of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church. As a place of worship, it offers options for those who prefer the traditional Latin mass.

Railroad Museum Reopens

The DeQuincy Railroad Museum, located at 400 Lake Charles Ave., is welcoming back guests during the hours of 10 am to 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays.

The museum is situated at the intersection of the two major railroads — an intersection that was the site of the town of DeQuincy in 1895. The museum is trying to preserve the cultural flavor of that time with a number of  historical landmarks. A steam engine, passenger car and caboose are all on display. A library upstairs includes materials about the heyday of the railroad era.

On the grounds is a playground with rides for children, picnic tables and a pavilion.

Membership in the museum and donations to it are always welcome. The attraction is open year-round. For more information, call (337) 786-2823.

Good-bye To The Godfather

Warren Storm, Photo By Warren Storm

Warren Storm was a South Louisiana musician of such stature that he was often called the “Godfather of Swamp Pop.”

Born in Abbeville under the name Warren Schenxider, Storm began performing in the late 1940s. In 1958, his “Prisoner’s Song” charted on the Billboard Hot 100.

Although Storm always returned to his South Louisiana roots, he eventually became known as a talented and reliable musician and singer in Los Angeles. Ringo Starr praised the drumming of Storm, who frequently performed with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant.

In the 21st century, Storm joined the group ‘Lil Band of Gold, in which he played with Steve Riley of the Mamou Playboys. In a strange twist, at the same time Robert Plant began touring with ‘Lil Band of Gold in 2013, Storm left the band to spend more time performing with swamp pop legends Willie Tee and Cypress, who played almost weekly in Lake Charles until the outbreak of the COVID pandemic. Storm, who had been hospitalized for a month, was 84 when he died.

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