On Saturday, Feb. 18, Carolyn Broussard passed away after a 15-year-long battle with multiple myeloma. That alone is impressive because the life expectancy for those suffering from this form of cancer is anywhere from five to six years.
I saw this fight firsthand as she was my grandmother, or Memaw as I call her. I was there at Calcutta Hospice to say my final goodbyes, and the next part of my coping process is writing. Therefore, I find it fitting that the first article after her death is a tribute to all my grandmother has done.
For those of you who have a savings or checking account with the credit union, either at the campus branch or the branch near Cajun Field, Broussard was the secretary for the Board of Directors. She held that role from 2013 until her cancer treatments forced her resignation in January. The shelf behind her recliner has a plaque honoring her commitment to the excellent job she did.
Before she took the job at the credit union, she worked for Dr. Gerald Carlson as his secretary for 30 years, from 1982-2012. For this, there is an award that was given to her by the university that recognized her outstanding service to UL Lafayette. She received the Charles E. Dunbar, Jr Career Service Award from the Louisiana Department of State Civil Service for her service upon her retirement.
I would often remember going to the Dean’s office as a 6-year-old kid and falling in love with an electric typewriter I found in her office. Whenever I was not feeling well or left school early for any reason, she would let me sit down next to her and type things on the typewriter.
I remember in my first semester of classes, she took me to the credit union location on campus and introduced me to the workers there. They knew her by name, and my Memaw gave them “eyeballs”, which were little chocolate spheres with a cellophane wrapper in the image of an eye.
When I got a job at The Vermilion as a sports writer, she was deeply interested in what I was writing and what I would write next. She kept a binder of everything I did as a sports writer. If you were to open the binder, you would find each newspaper from the Sept. 22, 2022 issue to the first issue of the Spring 2023 semester.
Every media credential from games I attended make an appearance (minus the Florida State game because I still have that copy). Finally, at the very beginning of the binder, there is the certificate I received for placing first in the current events quiz at the SEJC Conference in Thibodaux on Feb. 11. The only thing that she does not have is the medal to go along with it, and once it is received, I will make sure it is right next to the certificate.
Memaw loved everyone no matter what. Anything that was needed, she would provide. Now that she’s gone, everything just seems empty. The chair where she would always sit is empty. Though my dog BB climbs into it to take her nap, she should be napping with Memaw.
It’s hard writing this article. I can’t sit here and pretend like everything is okay, because nothing will ever be the same. The last thing she told me before she went into a comatose state was to bring her a copy of The Vermilion. Honoring this, I grabbed a copy and gave it to her. She couldn’t read it, even though her eyes were open. Little did I know that that was the last time I would see her hazel eyes again.
Mrs. Carolyn Broussard, my Memaw, was a hard-working woman who provided everything she could. She did this not only for me and my family, she also gave all that she could for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. For 40 years of service, it should only be right that she is allowed to enter eternal rest.
Goodbye, Memaw. I will always love you. Thank you for everything you’ve done.