Jefferson Parish will hold a renaming ceremony Wednesday for a senior center, honoring Thomas Laughlin for his decades of advocacy for the parish’s elderly citizens.
Parish and civic officials will gather at 10 a.m. at the newly christened Thomas C. Laughlin Jefferson Senior Center — known as the “pink house” for its painted stucco exterior — at 4518 Jefferson Highway.
Laughlin, who died of heart failure in 2010, was known as the “godfather of the aging” and led the Jefferson Council on Aging for 35 years beginning in 1973.
He was respected for his knowledge of geriatric law and his ability to bring people together to improve the quality of life for the parish’s elderly population. Later in life, he took up the cause of combating elderly abuse.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Paul Johnston said the idea of renaming the center was born out of a conversation he had about a year ago with Nedra Cassard, the center’s coordinator.
Cassard said it would be a fitting honor to rename the east bank center in Laughlin’s honor. Johnston agreed, starting the process that led to the Parish Council approving the change in April.
“He was dedicated to the seniors; he gave his life to the seniors,” Johnston said of Laughlin, whom he first met in 1992. “He was a fine gentleman, and I thought it would be a great honor.”
Laughlin served on the board of the Louisiana Geriatric Society and worked with Gordon Wadge, co-president of Catholic Charities in New Orleans, to begin a local chapter of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. PACE helps the elderly get services they need without having to move into nursing homes.
The Laughlin Center is one of 11 senior centers throughout the parish.
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