There’s a saying that if mama isn’t happy, nobody’s happy. That’s not a problem this weekend for at least one south Louisiana family.
This weekend is not only Mother's Day, but Cathy Thompson is spending it with her 11th and youngest child after having followed a family tradition — graduating from LSU.
When Mac Thompson picks up his bachelor’s degree in history on Friday, he joins older siblings Catherine, Owen, Tricia, Charlie, Anna, Jimmy, Louise, Elizabeth, Maggie and Frances in getting their degrees from LSU.
Mom Cathy and dad Bruce Thompson also attended LSU.
If that weren’t enough, the six siblings who have wed are married to LSU graduates. The Thompsons are Tigers through and through.
“LSU was the only place I even applied, not only because of everyone going before me and wanting to follow those footsteps, but growing up, I’m a huge sports fan, and we watched LSU sports growing up,” Mac Thompson, 22, said.
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Although he couldn’t have known it at the time, the youngest Thompson’s birth may have helped create the trend.
“We started out with the first one saying, ‘Wherever you want to go, it’s up to you,’” Cathy Thompson said, referring to Catherine, who goes by C.C. “She actually thought about going to Alabama. It was LSU-esque, but smaller, and she thought that would be a good thing.
“Eventually, she said, ‘Mom, I just decided I’ll go to LSU, because if I go too far away, I’ll never get to see the baby.’ Mac was born in March; she graduated from high school in May.’”
So, C.C., now 40, enrolled in Baton Rouge, where her paternal grandparents, Ben and Pat Thompson, lived.
In addition to her trips home to Lake Charles, the family would visit her on campus, and her siblings grew attached to LSU. Really attached.
The oldest four were one school grade apart, so, by the time C.C. was an LSU senior, Owen, Tricia and Charlie were there as a junior, sophomore and freshman, respectively. Tiger fans may remember Charlie, who was a member of the basketball team, graduating in 2004.
The parents bought an apartment so that the children — usually there were at least two on campus at any time — could live there. So it is for Mac and Frances, who has graduated but remains in Baton Rouge as a teacher.
“It’s the best investment they ever made,” said Elizabeth “Bit” Thompson.
And it kept mama happy.
“I think she definitely wanted to see everybody stay close to home and be easily accessible and come home for different things, for them to come celebrate different milestones,” said “Bit” Thompson. “She definitely had an interest in being close by, and LSU was just the place for that to happen, I guess.”