Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, was more than the start of a new year for New Orleans native Owen Joseph LaCour Sr. It was his 100th birthday and the start of a new century.

“Now you’re looking at an antique,” LaCour told his family. Married for 77 years, LaCour and his wife, Lorraine Armagnac LaCour, 96, have seven children: sons O.J., Ronald, Charles, Barry and Eddie LaCour, and daughters Judy Drez and Karen Puente. They also have 22 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren.

“To think that we started off with two and now we’re 85 in our family,” LaCour said. “My family makes me a millionaire.”

LaCour shared his centennial birthday celebration with the Brother Martin High School student body. He is the oldest known alumnus of St. Aloysius High School, which merged with Cor Jesu High School in 1969 to form Brother Martin.

A Mass was held in the chapel of the Gentilly school in honor of LaCour, a member of the St. Aloysius class of 1934. He enjoyed the event with sons O.J., class of 1962, and Ronald, class of 1967.

“They had a gathering for me a couple of weeks ago,” LaCour said. “I had 1,200 students get up and give their applause.”

LaCour said he is “feeling great,” and his wife said “he remembers better than an elephant.” He loves to hold court and entertain people.

“When I was 98, I said don’t be late at 98,” LaCour said. “And at 99, I said don’t forget to drink good wine. But I’m still trying to find something to rhyme with 100.”

After living in New Orleans and raising their children in Gentilly, LaCour and his wife moved to Kenner after Hurricane Katrina. For decades, LaCour ran a family business called Bonded Carbon & Ribbon Co., which specialized in typewriter ribbons.

“He would head out to work at 6 a.m. and stay until 9 p.m.,” said O.J. LaCour, who remembered working for his father as a young man and thinking a rainstorm would save him from hitting the pavement. “I asked my dad, ‘What do we do?’ and he said, ‘Do you eat when it’s raining?’ and walked away.”

But it hasn’t been all work and no play for LaCour, who for many years was an avid golfer. He also has enjoyed decades of dancing the night away with Lorraine at the Jefferson Orleans ballroom in Metairie. But he laughed at the thought of dancing during his recent birthday party.

“I’ll be 100 years old, and my legs will be 100 years old also,” LaCour said.  

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at jensencolumn@gmail.com.