Thursday, July 24, 2008

Love, Grandma Betty

This block is in memory of my grandmother, Elizabeth Lay Eastwood MacConnell, a long time resident of the French Quarter who died while evacuated in Texas on September 29, 2005 exactly one month from Katrina’s landfall.

The main photograph of my grandma was taken by a photographer in 2005 at The Quarter Scene Restaurant where she ate breakfast daily. It really captures the essence of my grandmother. The smaller picture is one of the four generations (Grandma, Mom, myself and my daughter) that was published in the Times-Picayune shortly after my daughter’s birth in 2003. The excerpt is from a collection of letters written to me by my grandmother. It states, “It was nice to have Beth and Claire here for a visit-We enjoyed showing off 4 generations of girls at our favorite restaurant. We didn’t tell them-they figured it out by themselves-I guess there must be a resemblance between us.”

I used cat fabrics for both the front and back of the block as my grandmother was a “cat lady”. The beads are an old pair of glass Mardi Gras beads which remind me of the necklaces that my grandmother would wear regularly and they also represent her love of New Orleans.

One of the blessings of the evacuation (although, we didn’t see it as a blessing at the time ) was that my mother, my father, my husband, my daughter and myself were able to spend every day for a month together before Grandma got sick and died peacefully. My grandmother told my mother earlier that she dreamt that she would go to a small town and die there. Although she missed New Orleans terribly during the evacuation, small town Lampasas, TX reminded grandma in many ways of her small town childhood home, Owego, NY.

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