Martha Ward and Frank Aseron had a long acquaintance. It began in the mid-1970s when she was married and had a daughter, Marlowe. Frank did some carpentry work at her home, and they saw each other around New Orleans for years. She later divorced, and enjoyed her career an anthropology professor at the University of New Orleans. Frank became involved in mortgage banking and construction lending.
In 2004 Martha and Frank met again as she was signing copies of her book, "The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau." They began dating exclusively but didn't talk about marriage. Martha was convinced it wasn't what she wanted. Then came Hurricane Katrina, a storm that tore apart the region but may have been the force that brought Ward and Aseron even closer together. In this conversation recorded April 11 in New Orleans, they talk about the marriage proposal made in front of friends, and why she agreed to say Yes.'
ALSO: In this extended conversation, Martha Ward says she was sure that her "ark" of a house in New Orleans would get through Hurricane Katrina just fine. She stored up supplies and prepared to ride out the storm. Her boyfriend, Frank Aseron, had planned on boarding up his house in the city and staying with Ward at her house.
StoryCorps New Orleans interviews were recorded by StoryCorps, a national project to record and collect stories of everyday people. This excerpt was selected and produced by WWNO producer Eileen Fleming, with support from the WWNO Productions Fund and from Villere & Co., managing the investments of New Orleans' families for almost 100 years. Listen again at wwno.org or at nola.com.