Louisiana Lighthouse, formerly known as Lighthouse for the Blind, recently changed its name to reflect its new, broader focus on helping people with many different kinds of disabilities. A beneficiary was Morris Felder, of Metairie, who lives with hearing loss. Lighthouse installed a simple device in his home that alerts him with a light when the doorbell rings. Lighthouse will gather community support with a gala at Arnaud’s on March 28. For information, call (504) 899-4501.
WHEN WAS YOUR HEARING LOSS DISCOVERED? My brothers and I attended St. Henry grammar school on Gen. Pershing Street — a wonderful school — and were schooled by nuns. On March 8, 1944, when I was in the fifth grade, the department of health came to our school for examinations and they listed me as defective in hearing. My brother had the same thing, but he had it the worst.
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT LIGHTHOUSE?
I was trying to find someone to fix my doorbell since I could not hear it at times. I called Hamilton Relay (a telephone captioning service) and (was eventually) referred to the Lighthouse on State Street. They asked me if I knew where that was. I said sure, I grew up right there, at 521 Valence St. I truly believe that is a great organization to help people with their hearing and sight.
WHAT WAS THE ANSWER?
A nice gentleman by name of Clinton LeBerge came to my home and installed lights in my bedroom and kitchen, so when the doorbell rings the lights blink.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP UPTOWN IN THE 1940s? In those days we did not know the difference if we were rich or poor, but we were happy. We were delivered by a midwife as were most of the other neighbors. The residence was a double shotgun house where my parents and my brothers lived on one side while my grandparents lived next door.
YOU GROW ROSES, YOU WALK AT THE MALL. WHAT ELSE DO YOU ENJOY?
I have a passion for genealogy and sports — football, basketball, etc. Two relatives and I have been doing research on our families and have been greatly successful.
YOU ARE 79 YEARS OLD, AND THE DOCTORS SAY YOU’RE IN GREAT SHAPE, EVEN THOUGH YOU OCCASIONALLY HAVE A CIGARETTE. WHAT IS YOUR SECRET?
I don’t inhale!