storycorps

Tara Ooms of Covington talks with her father, Kevin Ooms of Cedar Lake, Indiana, about his life as a steel-mill worker and devoted family man. He never got a higher education, but he says his 38 years at the mill as a worker and later in management paid for the education she used to become a veterinarian.

Tara and her sister both followed in their father's footsteps in working a job he once did as a youth. In this conversation recorded April 5th, she talks about his early years, and what he's most enjoyed about his family legacy.

ALSO: In this extended conversation, Anna Mae Martin Doucet talks about her early years living on the Bayou near Golden Meadow and tells her great-granddaughter Elise Sanchez that along with an idyllic country upbringing came the threat of hurricanes. 

Melissa Sawyer came to New Orleans from her native Canada through "Teach for America" in 1998, and was assigned special education students at Booker T. Washington High School. She later discovered that she didn't really like the classroom-teaching part of the job. She was much more successful in after-class contacts and activities. She often made home visits and took her students on field trips, forming strong emotional ties that she cherished.

Peter Seltzer was working on his new laptop and getting ready for college when he started taking notice of a hurricane called Katrina heading toward New Orleans. He was staying with his parents Uptown when it became clear that it was serious. He and his younger brother Nathan decided to stay in New Orleans while his parents evacuated.

Maryse Dejean, Al Grandoit and Marc Bien-Aime are Haitian-Americans now living in New Orleans, but maintain a strong connection to their heritage and family still living in Haiti. They met through Haitian relief efforts, and in this April 11th conversation, they discuss their experiences in Haiti as children, as aid workers over the years, and their participation in relief efforts assembled after the January 2010 earthquake.

Ronald Theriot knew there was something special about his wife, Janine, when they met on Grand Isle in 1963. They were both teenagers, and met on vacation. Their first date was on a beach, watching a meteor shower. They married two years later. In this conversation with his daughter, Isabelle, Ronald talked about his wife's love of birthday parties and sewing, and the joy she took in raising her three children.

Eric Murrell has had a long relationship with automobiles. It began as a boy, going to car lots with his grandfather, toting pencil and paper to make notes of car prices and design features. His father, Michael, taught him not only how to drive, but how to assemble the engine parts. His mother, Harriet, knew she was marrying a car buff from the start, but has enjoyed the family passion for automobiles.

Eighty-year-old Samuel Alfonso Scarnato of New Orleans has achieved academic excellence in obtaining a PhD in education. It didn't come easily to a boy growing up in the Depression in western Pennsylvania coal country.  He remembers attending a one-room schoolhouse where his eighth-grade class consisted of three students. He was in charge of keeping the classroom fire going in the cold months, and received a dollar a month for his efforts.

 John Fontenot has been working at Galatoire's since 1967 when he was in his early 20s. Throughout the decades he's swapped stories and jokes with customers he's gotten to know so well, he knows what drinks they'll be ordering. He has fond memories of Jackie Gleason giving him advice on telling jokes - it's all in the timing.

Dwayne Boudreaux has been at the center of the landmark Circle Food Store in the 7th Ward since he started as manager in 1987. He worked his way into a partnership with owner Herbert Gabriel and eventually took control.

Pages