104-year-old woman celebrates life of love, food - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

104-year-old woman celebrates life of love, food

When Mrs. Odile Washington was born in 1909, Taft was president, the average worker earned 22 cents an hour, and 95 percent of births were at home.

At age 104, she's seen changes in the world, and she's made a few of her own.

"I give myself about three more good years," she said, smiling.

She was born three years before the Titanic sank, and had her own share of tragedy: "I was six years old when my mama died. It was six of us, and I was the oldest of the six."

She was always charged with helping her dad raise her brothers and sisters. The kitchen became her job and her escape before the age of 12: "After I married my husband He saw I was such a good cook that he decided to open a restaurant."

It was the Starlight Restaurant and Hotel in Gert Town. Right now it's boarded up with memories of good eating inside. "Red beans, stew and rice, pig tails, just regular food that you cook," Washington said.

Barber Sam Green still works across the street from the Starlight. He boarded there more than 50 years ago.

"We used to get red beans, two pieces of chicken and a cold drink for 30 cents," he said. "If we didn't have that 30 cents, Miss Washington would give it to us anyway. That's why we loved her."

Odile Washington said she fed football players from Xavier on a regular basis over the years.

She remembers the early 1900's and says it was a hard time: "You had no electricity you had no light."

She's seen a man on the moon and witnessed the fight for civil rights -- a woman who dealt with racism all her life even lived to see an African-American president.

"I stared at the television. I was happy he won," she said.

At 104 she has no health problems and takes no medicine. Her secret she says is hard work.

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