Houma resident Ailene Foret reminisced and celebrated Saturday but downplayed how long she’s lived.
“I didn’t think about it. I was too busy living,” Foret said about turning 104 years old.
Foret was born in Galliano in 1913, raised in New Orleans and spent much of her young life moving up and down the East Coast with her first husband.
Foret celebrated her birthday Saturday with family and friends at Terrebonne Place where she’s lived for the past year.
She dealt with a sore throat as she welcomed each guest and was surprised by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who flew in from Houston to celebrate.
In many years of traveling, Foret said, she brought Cajun cooking to many places.
She said she took her love of jambalaya to New York during World War II.
After a local school cook tasted her Southern dish, Foret said she went on to become “a star.” She helped teach other school cooks about French, Creole and Cajun cuisine.
Foret would later go on to write two cookbooks, “Foret’s Fine French Food” and “Creole Candy.”
In 1946, Foret and her husband returned to Houma at a time when there was only one restaurant in town, she said.
They had one daughter and now has three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
During her birthday celebration, Foret was presented with a golden key to the city and a proclamation from the Terrebonne Parish government designating Dec. 12, 2017, as Ailene Foret Day in honor of her accomplishments.
The proclamation noted Foret’s lasting words of wisdom, “We can’t all be stars, but we can all twinkle.”
Before guests were served a full meal made entirely from Foret’s recipes, she stopped to wish everyone good health, love and companionship.
Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @gingerale214.