Edward Francois Sr. was presented with a 50-year certificate and pin from the Knights of Peter Claver 3rd Degree by Sr. Knight Joseph R. Bernard, the Grand Knight of Council 92 at St. Mathilda Catholic Church. From left are Bernard, Francois; and the Rev. Blaine Clement, pastor at St. Mathilda Catholic Church in Eunice.
Francois honored at St. Mathilda for service to Knights of Peter Claver
As he entered St. Mathilda Catholic Church for Mass, Edward Francois, Sr. thought he recognized some strange faces present, but then said to himself “that’s not possible!” As he got closer to where he usually sits, he noticed it was possible. It was his family, it was his children with their families.
After the church service, Francois was presented a 50-year certificate and pin from the Knights of Peter Claver 3rd Degree by Sr. Knight Joseph R. Bernard, the Grand Knight of Council 92 of St. Mathilda Catholic Church.
Francois family arrived in Eunice from Georgia, Texas, Lafayette and Monroe to help begin the surprise for him on his 90th birthday. Francois was born on Oct. 26, 1930.
After attending Mass, the family enjoyed a brunch together. They spent time reminicing about times spent growing up at their home on St. Mary Road. Next thing was another surprise for Francois as he viewed Auxiliary Police Officer Jimmie Edwards lead a drive by parade to celebrate Francois’ birthday. Friends and family drove by wishing birthday greetings.
After the parade, a birthday yard celebration was held with the children making the following presentations; a proclamation from the city of Eunice, presented by Anthony Francois, Sr.; a family certificate given by Edward Francois Jr.; a presentation of family and friends scrapbooks by Angela Lee and James Francois, certificates of achievements and appreciation presented by Margaret Francois and Doretha Leday, and a presentation of a family birthday card and a monetary donation by Alana Lee.
During this time of celebration there was a special song sung by Shelsy Williams, a prayer given by the Rev. Lloyd H. Antoine, a painting done by Neketa Guillory and pictures taken by Miles Stevens.
Edward Francois Sr. was the lone band director for the Mighty Charles Drew band from 1956-1969, while Jonas E. Mason was principal. Once the schools integrated, he became a music teacher at the elementary schools and junior high school in Eunice. He became the band director at Eunice High before he retired with 30 years of service in the educational system.
Francois is a native of New Orleans, a graduate of Xavier University where he received his bachelor of arts degree. He received his masters of education in music from Southern University in Baton Rouge. He has attended LSU, UL, LSUE to attain further studies and his 30-plus hours. He is the father of six children, 13, grandchildren and three great-grandsons. His wife, Ardessie Chase Francois, also a musical major, has been married to him for the past 62 years. The two was the musical team at school, Charles Drew High School, and at St. Mathilda Catholic Church for a number of years before their retirement.