Rev. and Mrs. McQuarter
A little juke joint in Woodville, Mississippi brought Elizabeth Fountain and Rev. Lilton McQuarter together. “Mother sent me to get her a quart of beer,” says Mrs. McQuarter. Rev. McQuarter recalled that he was sitting on the porch of the juke joint and she came up the steps looking good in some jean shorts. He then looked over at his wife, smiled and added, “….that same beauty mark on her face caught my attention too.” Rev. McQuarter was in the 11th grade when he met his wife to be. “Her mama didn’t care for me!” Mrs. McQuarter jokingly adds, “He wanted to visit EVERYDAY! That’s the part mother didn’t like!”
The McQuarters were married on December 24, 1967. Mrs. McQuarter says, “I don’t want young people to think that because we’ve been married so long, it has been easy. Let’s just be real. I got pregnant and that speeded up our wedding process. However, we were brought up during a time when children were truly raised and children respected their elders. (more…)
Mr. & Mrs. Cole
Togetherness is the main vein of the Cole marriage. Herbert and Helen’s paths were destined to cross before they were even born. “Our mothers used the same midwife, so our families grew up very close.” Herbert jokingly adds, “She’s from the country (Jonestown), I’m from the city (6th Street it Gretna).” They attended school together until high school when they had to part ways. We had older siblings who seemed to be determined to get us together.” Herbert adds, “I took her to her senior prom for our first official date.” After graduation, Herbert left for the Air Force for 4 years. There was no communication between the two. He says, “One weekend I was home on a furlow. I was taking the ferry home looking fine in my Air Force khakis. I saw Helen on the ferry. I thought she was going to faint. She couldn’t keep her eyes off of me. I used to have Urkel glasses and those were gone. I had put on weight and was over 6 feet tall!” Helen adds, “He DID look good, but I don’t remember it like that!
Herbert would go on to be one of the founders of Walter L. Cohen High School in 1949. After his duty ended, and several dates, he told her that they were getting married. She said, “… one day.” (more…)
Mr. & Mrs. Celestin, Sr.
“Come and grow old with me; the best is yet to be!” is the quote that keeps Mr. and Mrs. Oliver R. Celestin, Sr. on common ground. The Celestins will celebrate 41 years of marriage on June 17. The Fischer Projects natives officially met at a quarter party when Mr. Ollie asked his future wife to dance, and she obliged. Mr. Oliver R. Celestin, Sr. and the former Shelia Dianette Dowell officially became high school sweethearts at L.B. Landry High School in Algiers. Mr. Ollie took her to the junior prom and the two became inseparable. Says Mrs. Celestin, “I fell in love with those big brown eyes and that dark chocolate skin. I had never seen a dark man with such beautiful eyes. I had always dated light guys.” Mr. Celestin adds, “Her personality drew me in.” Oliver went off to the Air Force, and Shelia graduated from Landry. He proposed via the United States Postal Service. “I opened a particular letter and I heard something hit the floor, and clink….the man mailed me my ring and proposed on paper!!” She laughs and adds, “The letter said, ‘I’ll get the answer when I get home!’” (more…)
Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Poche’
Anthony Poché met the former Monica Marie Paul in Vacherie where she lived with her grandmother. Anthony was 16 and she was 14. He saw Monica from time to time when his family traveled to the country to visit family. Monica later moved to Marrero and attended John Ehret High School, the same school Anthony attended. He said, “She was beautiful and didn’t have an attitude, very easy to love.” Monica says, “The feelings were mutual. I had clear standards for who I would marry. I was a country girl living in a big city, and I felt safe with him.” The high school sweethearts married on November 7, 1987. Monica says, “We had a big, beautiful wedding. The colors were white and mauve and all the girls were hats. The wedding was very sentimental because we weren’t just saying words, we really believed the vows.” Anthony adds, “ I truly believe God designed my wife for me. I haven’t always been saved, but my mama, somebody was praying. Marriage is a beautiful thing.” (more…)
Dee-1: Hip Hop Icon Makes God Smile
By Kimberly Dilosa
David Augustine, Jr. is the product of two blue collar working parents born and raised in New Orleans East. He is a young man who, in spite of his environment, beat the odds and graduated from Ben Franklin High School and then Louisiana State University with a degree in marketing. Armed with a resolve, “I just want to make God smile,” Augustine has evolved into Dee-1, an international hip hop icon who has taken the world by storm by creating popular music based on his truth. “I majored in marketing in college to learn how to market products. I am a product. Many rappers become “successful products” by telling lies about their lifestyles. I decided to market myself based on my real life. I’m not going to hide that I’m a Christian. I’m not going to hide that I went to college. I’m not going to hide that I’m a positive black man.” He says, “Our family didn’t have a lot of money, but I had two hard working parents. Just watching them every day showed me you can have your desires and needs met if you are willing to work hard.” Dee-1’s truth has resulted in international success.
The 20-something year old rapper has appeared on HBO’s Treme, and has worked with music industry royalty including Mos Def, Mannie Fresh, Juvenile, Master P, Murs, and Lupe Fiasco. He has toured in Canada and just completed a 50-city USA tour, performing in every state in the nation! Dee-1 inspires audiences from the heart because, he said, “I don’t ever want to be in a position for God to ask me, ‘you had 20 million people loving Dee-1; how many of them did you point in my direction?’ I know this life is temporary. I want to bring people closer to God; He is my inspiration.” Obviously he loves the Lord.
Dee-1 makes crowds move to conscious lyrics set to funky beats. His arsenal of motivational anthems includes hits that make you think while you rock: “Failure ain’t an Option,” “Heart of a King,” “Proud of Me,” and “Bye to the Broke Days.” Dee says, “I want to motivate people to follow their dreams. Don’t be stopped by naysayers. Identify why you are here on Earth and pursue your mission in life.” Dee-1 continues to break barriers in the music and acting realms by incorporating his real-life experiences into his music. He spoke about his friends that came up in crazy circumstances. “My two best friends were murdered. I rap about what led to the killings. One was robbed. They were in pursuit of money (which is the root of all evil). My other friend gave in to peer pressure. He didn’t want to be seen with books, he didn’t want to be ‘the smart boy.’ He started doing things that would ultimately result in going to jail or death.” Both of his friends were good kids with outgoing personalities.
When he is home, he is dedicated to the grassroots community organizations with which he volunteered before his career skyrocketed. He is inspired by Charles Anderson (founder of United for Peace and director of Ceasefire). “This dude is not from here and still fights and connects with our struggle in New Orleans.” He goes on to say that he is also inspired by my passion, always willing to work with the YOUTHanasia kids “like we used to do at the Teen Center.” Reflecting, “Cats like Ben Brubaker, founder of Hip Hop for Hope, urges us to use our collective voices for change. I’m a member of the 2-Cent movement. We started at the same time, I’m the rapper, and the other members are the production and community organizing members.” In spite of international success, Dee-1 is a New Orleans native son at heart.
Dee-1 wakes up with a resolve to win every day. He ended the interview with his inspirational lyrics, “Yesterday is done; and tomorrow hasn’t come…SO WIN TODAY!” Job well done young man….Yes, (I believe that) God is smiling on him.
Mr. & Mrs. Scott
Marrero natives Barbara Hensley Scott and John Scott, Sr. will celebrate 49 years of marriage next month! Mr. Scott married the former Barbara Gail Hensley on June 28, 1964. “We met at a dance in a bar,” says Mrs. Scott as she gushes with girl-like shyness. “I was only 17 when I met John that night.” The Scotts dated for three years before they married. Laughing, she recalled him saying, “that little skinny gal is gonna be my wife!” Mr. Scott asked Barbara’s dad for permission (to marry her). That’s what you had to do in our day. ” He laughs, “I proposed to her while we were sitting outside of her parents’ house in a car. I was nervous because I didn’t know what she would say.” The Scotts had a small wedding & reception at her parents’ home. “I remember wearing white everything….dress, hat, shoes and gloves,” says Mrs. Scott. (more…)
Mr. and Mrs. Jones
Timothy and Linda Jones have been making sweet music together for 42 years! Lincoln High School provided the backdrop for the meeting of these two lovebirds! “I just walked right up to him in the bandroom and kissed him!” says Mrs. Jones. She adds, “I was waiting for my twin sister in the bandroom….everyone was so hype because Lincoln beat Landry and I guess I got caught up in the emotion. That was my first kiss too!” THE REST IS HISTORY! Timothy talked to Linda’s mom to get permission for marriage before popping the question. “I had a paper bag with a lot of toys and trinkets and one of the trinkets was a ring.” He says. Linda jokes, “I was so excited I thought it was the real thing until I tried to adjust it and it broke! I got the real ring the next day.” The Joneses were married on June 5, 1971. “We had a small wedding at St. Joseph the Worker.” says Mr. Jones. He jokingly adds, “We were arguing at the altar. I’m Baptist, and she comes from a Catholic family. So I looked behind her and everyone was standing up, sitting down, and kneeling….my side wasn’t moving. We were up there arguing about kneeling down while the man was marrying us!” Their song is “Stairway to Heaven”. Timothy and Linda got to take a second honeymoon, a trip to Mexico City which Linda won as a contestant on the Price Is Right! “I was so nervous!” says Linda. Timothy adds, “I had to coach her from my seat on how to bid on the prizes. I watch The Price Is Right everyday!” The Joneses advice to younger couples? “Laugh a lot!” says Mr. Timothy. Mrs. Linda adds, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Accept your spouse the way they are. You cannot change a person, so don’t think that you can. Don’t run from the problems that will arise….COMMUNICATE! Follow the rules the Bible has set for marriage.” The Joneses have one daughter and two grandchildren. Mr. Timothy is the minister of music at St. Mary Baptist Church.
Mr. & Mrs. Wright
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday is the song that comes to my mind when Mr. Antoine Wright reminisces about his life with his wife, Pearl. “I was a fisherman for 27 years, and every time I went out on that boat, I would watch her and wave as the boat pulled from the wharf.” “Yep,” she said. “I’d stand there and watch until I couldn’t see the boat anymore.” Endearing memories like these allow one to believe that the Wright’s union was created in heaven.
Mr. Wright met his wife, the former Pearl Jourdan, in elementary school. Both were born and raised in Barataria, Louisiana. When Antoine went off to serve in the United States Army, Pearl entered Lincoln High School. “We wrote letters to each other while he was away. When he came out, he asked my mother for my hand in marriage. I said no; I was too young,” says Mrs. Wright. His charming charismatic personality and persistence eventually won the heart of his future wife, and they were married on April 5, 1958. “I fell in love with her because she was the type I was looking for; someone nice looking and fine. She believed in and served God, and she was wise with money. As a fisherman, earnings are seasonal, and I needed someone who could handle that,” says Mr. Wright.
Mrs. Wright said she fell in love with him because of the way he treated her. “I was spoiled, wined, and dined.”
The Wrights love attending church events together and they share each other’s passions. She loves football so he watches it with her, and Pearl often joins her husband to watch his favorite: wrestling. “She loves jewelry…and not the cheap kind,” jokes Mr. Wright. “He loves stewed chicken,” she said.
The Wrights advise young women to pray and let God choose (a husband) for you, and for men, a Godly woman. “I give God ALL the honor and the praise for keeping us together for 55 years,” proclaims Mrs. Wright. His favorite scripture is 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” The Wrights have created a beautiful legacy which includes 5 children (4 girls and a boy who recently passed away), 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. They attend Greater St. John Baptist Church.
Mr. & Mrs. Hawkins
Gary Lee Hawkins and Janice Burke were college sweethearts in Boston. Janice was attending Wellesley College and Gary was attending Northeastern University. They owe their meeting to their roommates. Janice said dating Gary was fun. “I fell in love with Gary because of his kindness; he was a gentleman, smart, and he’s good looking!” Gary interjects, “I was wondering when she was gonna say ‘good-looking’!” His wife laughs and continues, “He was the kind of guy your mother told you to look for.” Gary knows the exact moment he fell in love with his wife. “I was already in love with her when I met her parents and family during a visit to New Orleans. I fell in love with them, and the feeling was mutual. Her family caused me to fall in love with her even more.” Gary proposed to Janice during the Christmas holidays at her parents’ house. The couple was married on August 27, 1977 at St. Matthias Church. The present Archbishop of New Orleans presided over their wedding!
Gary says that marriage is a challenge, “even after more than 30 years, but you have to constantly work on it.” He advises couples to communicate about finances and raising children. “Have equal say on how the money is spent…it doesn’t matter who earns how much. Finances can end a marriage. It’s going to be rocky….you have to work at it every day.” Mrs. Hawkins advises young couples to always verbalize what’s in your head. “Don’t assume anything. Your questions may seem silly, but your mate needs to hear your thoughts.”
The Hawkinses love attending sporting events, movies, attending the theatre and concerts. They also love going out to dinner at some of the city’s finest restaurants. Her favorite fragrance is the exclusive Mariella Burani. Janice says, “Folks have gotten away from marriage being sacred. In the Catholic Church marriage is a sacrament. We have always stuck to our vows.” Gary adds, “Our faith has been the rock. Marriage is a JOB, but look at the benefits. You get to spend every day with the person you’re in love with.” Gary was raised Baptist, and Janice, Catholic. When we got married in the Catholic Church we took a vow to raise our children Catholic.” Janice said Gary honored that commitment every Sunday until their daughter made her confirmation. He adds, “My aim is to make my wife happy, and she doesn’t have to be concerned about where her next meal will come from or about having a roof over her head. If she’s sad, I’m sad.” “He’s just a wonderful father! That has made me love him even more,” says Janice, adding, “He even hand made our daughter a dress. I was too sick to do it so I told Gary what to do, and he made the dress!” Gary chimes in, “I combed hair too!” The Hawkinses both admit their stubbornness has a lot to do with their successful marriage. Janice says, “Neither of us likes failure, so to walk away would be to concede defeat. We are both determined to succeed and are both serious about commitment.”
Janice is a breast cancer survivor, being cancer free for 8 years. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Gary was overseas in Iraq. He was with me during that entire process in such a way that the nurse at the chemotherapy center STILL remembers him.” The nurse said, “when black women experience breast cancer, most black men leave. Your husband was there!” Janice says, “I have a jewel.” Mr. Hawkins adds, “It never entered my mind that she wasn’t going to make it. It was just another process we had to get through. I always say, ‘I’m gonna live forever and my wife has to live forever and a day. I can’t see myself living without her.” Janice says, “He has ALWAYS been there…even when I’m having a fit, he’s there!” Mr. Hawkins’ response? “I’m gonna be here. I’m not going NOWHERE!” Gary attends Dominion and Power Ministries, and Janice attends Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
Welcome Monica Pierre
“Praise God from whom all blessing flow.” Fellowship Journal is once again proud to announce the newest addition to the staff, Ms. Monica Pierre. She joins the staff as a contributing writer.
An Emmy-award winning journalist, author, inspirational performer and entrepreneur, Monica believes in the power of encouragement. Through her motivational books, one-woman shows, radio programs, and social media, Monica encourages people to take action on their dreams.
She “brings dreams to life” with her unforgettable motivational characters. Audiences are entertained, informed and inspired, as these characters show us how to find clarity, courage and commitment to continue working on our dreams and goals.
“Monica’s Motivational Moments,” which aired on morning radio for many years, is now on social media, inspiring followers on Facebook and Twitter.
Monica is author of the motivational books, Found My Soul in a Sweet Potato Patch – Living a Life of Victory and No Permanent Scars – It’s Never Too Late to Live the Life You Really Want. Monica’s books are perfect for anyone struggling to stay positive and motivated while working on their dreams and goals.
As FJ’s high school and college-age readership audience grows, it is our prayer that Monica’s literary talent will help motivate them to reach for their highest potential. Welcome, Monica.