New Orleans man prepares to celebrate his 107th birthday

New Orleans man set to celebrate 107th birthday

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A Central City man was born when William Howard Taft was President, the Titanic hadn't even been built and cell phones and the internet were almost a century away. Lawrence Brooks says he didn't miss a thing.

"I'll be 107," he said as he lifted hand weights on his porch.

It's just one of the secrets to beating the heck out of Father Time.

"I know I done lived over my time, but God is the cause of me living like that," he said.

He was two when the Titanic sank, and four when the Panama Canal opened. Born in 1909, he was one of a family of 14 kids. His parents were farmers in Norwood, LA.

"We raised hogs, chickens and raised our own gardens," he said.

Education was not an option.

"I went into the service and spent two years and nine months overseas," Brooks said.

He was part of the 91st Engineer Battalion. Times were tough during World War II, and tough as an African American in those times.

"You couldn't go in the restaurant. You couldn't go in there. You had to reach for it and get it out the back window," Brooks said.

From harsh segregation to witnessing the first African-American president.

"I didn't think it would ever happen, but it did," he said. "Things have changed a whole lot."

He retired from driving a forklift in 1974 and watches the new world go by from his porch, commenting on things like cell phones.

"I sit out on that porch and here they come. I say, who the hell are they talking to?"

Brooks says when he was growing up, you never even saw a woman's knee. But now?

"They ain't got no more dresses. They too short to be dresses. But I like it!"

He takes care of himself, never drank much and frowns on smoking.

"I don't never like nothing to hurt me, hurt my body - anything! I don't care if it's food I love to eat. If I find out it's hurting me, I stop eating it!"

He was 95 when he and his late wife were rescued from Katrina flooding. A helicopter picked them up from the roof of a church.

The father of five and stepfather of five says he's enjoying life, and is glad he lived long enough to enjoy what could happen. The possibilities for his life seem endless.

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