Many of you know or have heard about Mary Ann Valentino, an extraordinary woman who’s a former St. Charles Avenue Activist and such a blessing for our city because of her generosity! She just celebrated her 100th birthday, and she modestly told her family that she didn’t want anything “big” for her celebration.

Her son, Michael, started planning everything on her 99th birthday, and all her seven children, especially Ann Fuselier, helped create the magic! The celebration also included her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who created pictures, sang and put on mini plays for her.

Her birthday party was on a Sunday at noon and included only family, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who presented Mary Ann with a proclamation from the Pope himself! The front of the house had a huge balloon display created by Kristi Hope as well as a golden “100” surrounded by a cascade of balloons above the mantle. Jim Perrier set up fabulous tables outside with wonderful tablecloths, accented with flowers by Frederico’s. And Jessie with Elizabeth Anderson Catering created a menu with her favorite grillades and grits. The cake was by Jeann Luc of Maurice’s Bakery.

The party was set up outside of the carriage house, and Johnny Parker and the Tim Laughlin Trio played Mrs. Valentino’s favorite songs. The “piece de resistance” was Deacon John Moore singing “Happy Birthday.”

Her children decided to have a small party the day before for a few of her friends. They were invited for Champagne and sweets in the afternoon in her fabulous dining room. Once those festivities were over, the family was invited for a cocktail buffet. Michael surprised her and the whole family with a video of her early days at Ursuline and clips of her husband Anthony Valentino, along with family photos over her incredible 100-year life!

What a tribute to a very special lady! 100 never looked so good on anyone. Happy birthday, Mary Ann!

[gtx_gallery]