Ronnie and Bettie Pogue boogied on the dance floor at the Lacombe Senior Center as the band broke into “Sea Cruise,” and soon they were joined by a half-dozen other revelers as they got ready to ring in 2015 — at high noon.
The fast number proved more popular than the slow dances, Dale Pierce, activity coordinator for the Council on Aging St. Tammany, observed as Aaron Dufrene strummed his guitar and Larry Reid tickled the ivories.
The music, party hats and cider to toast the coming year were an unqualified hit with the 75 people who attended Wednesday’s event.
Director Julie Agan, who took the reins of the agency earlier this year, said the event would probably be repeated if it went over well.
It drew participants from Covington and Slidell as well as the usual groups of Lacombe residents who meet regularly at the senior center on weekdays for food and activities.
While the fare was the usual noon meal provided by COAST, turning the last lunch of the year into a midday party was a first and something that the Lacombe seniors had requested.
“There’s not one of us who’s going to be awake at midnight,” Pierce said.
But she may have underestimated the stamina of the crowd. Nona Estep, 76, said she planned to stay up for the arrival of the new year, something that she normally tries to do, even though she’s alone now.
She was 21 and a newlywed the first time she stayed up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. She and her husband went to a club in Columbia, Mississippi, where they lived, and she had her first beer. “It was yucky at first, but it got better,” she recalled.
Her friend, 87-year-old Shirley Poche, said she wasn’t allowed to stay up as a child and probably rang in her first new year as a young teen. “I’ll try to make it, but there are quite a few years between now and 13,” she said.
But for one of oldest revelers in attendance, the midday soiree was just a warm-up for the main event. Camille Voss, who will celebrate her 101st birthday in March, said she will be out with her family, welcoming in 2015 at the Silver Slipper Casino.
Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.