Mothers and Sons

In time for Mother’s Day we asked local moms and their guys about differences and likenesses. The discussion, we think, makes a pretty picture.

Mothers and Sons

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Lois Andrews

“My mom is the most influential non-musician that I know,” says Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty. While he recently released his latest album Backatown on Verve Records and jetsets around the country for shows, Troy still talks to his mother, Lois, frequently while she remains in their hometown. Lois, who loves to second-line with the Money Wasters Social Aid and Pleasure Club in Tremé, says that Troy never gave her any trouble as a child: “He was a good boy,” she says. She always suspected he’d become a musician. Right after he was born, “he cried all day in the hospital, until the nurse turned on the radio – then he was content.” Troy, who has six other siblings, has fond memories of growing up: “She always let us have friends over to play music,” he recalls. “She never told us to quiet down, and she’s always dancing.”

Troy Andrews
Similarities: “We’re very calm and giving. We like to give back to the community. We also like some similar foods, although she won’t go near sushi.”

Differences: “She’s scared of flying, and some of the things she’s scared of are things that I’ve done. Also, I play with electronics all day – games and stuff [holding up an iPhone]. It’s fun teaching her – she thinks it’s so complicated.”

Lois Andrews
Similarities: “We’re both very kindhearted.”
Differences: “I don’t know! We’re not that different. He plays the music, but I like to dance.”


Mothers and Sons

J.P. Morrell and Cynthia Hedge Morrell

“My mom taught me to be respectful and polite and to always handle myself with dignity and be someone worthy of respect,” says state senator and attorney J.P. Morrell. His mother is Cynthia Hedge Morrell, councilmember of District D in New Orleans, who raised J.P. and his three brothers, Todd, Matthew and Nicholas, while also working for local schools. Cynthia has fond memories of her son growing up, and one is particularly foretelling of his future in politics: “J.P. set up a table to sell popcorn for the cub scouts outside of my office. He impressed my secretary with his professional manner and determination, and from then on she nicknamed him ‘Mr. President.’”

Says J.P., “She’s been supportive of whatever I’ve done unconditionally, even if she initially disagreed with it … The unconditional support of your mother is a priceless gift.”

J.P. Morrell
Similarities: “We both talk too much. In conversation, there’s a moment where dialogue is supposed to end and give way to a new topic and, well, both of us are completely oblivious to it. We just barrel along, oblivious to attempts to change the subject. We both enjoy history and debating issues of the day. We talk daily and have always been very close to each other.”

Differences: “She is much more deliberative when it comes to making decisions than I am. She studies a situation for an extended period of time before she takes a position or advocates a particular view. I’m much more spontaneous and more likely to follow my intuition.”

Cynthia Hedge Morrell
Similarities: “Many people think J. P. and I are just alike. J.P. was born on Sept. 2, and my birthday is Sept. 4. We are both under the sign ‘Virgo.’ I think we are both strong advocates for those we represent. We both have a tendency to give 110 percent to any endeavor. We love working with people, and we both feel family is very important.”

Differences: “J.P. is youthful and impatient. J.P. represents the future of New Orleans and has a clear vision for his generation. I, on the other hand, have knowledge and wisdom.”


Mothers and Sons

Dr. Field Ogden and Ann Ogden

Ann Ogden, a community activist who retired from the Audubon Institute in 2005 as vice president of employee training, reflects that she has enjoyed watching her son, Dr. Field Ogden, “grow in every way from a loving, sweet boy into a fine, honest, responsible young man.” Field is now an orthopedic surgeon with a young daughter of his own, and he says his mother “was always supportive and available and bent over backward to make sure I had everything that I needed.” Ann says, “When I look back on Field’s childhood, I immediately think of laughing with him. We laughed a lot; I am so very blessed. I tell him all the time that he’s the world’s finest kid.”

Field Ogden
Similarities: “We both enjoy games and puzzles. I gained a love of reading from my mother, who rarely was without a book. I think we can both be very hardheaded. I didn’t like being told ‘no’ as a child, and I think I inherited that from my mother, who has adapted to challenges and overcome the odds throughout her life. My mom and I also share somewhat of an awkward sense of humor and often find ourselves laughing at inopportune times.”

Differences: “We have a different kind of curiosity. I was always mesmerized by how things work and taking everything apart. Mom was always reading and learning about different cultures. She loves being an eco-tourist on vacations, and I’d rather go to the beach.”

Ann Ogden
Similarities: “We both tend to have quirky senses of humor and can laugh at the darkest times. We have always enjoyed games and puzzles and mechanical stuff and words – written and spoken – and we both appreciate precise vocabulary. We tend to be curious and love learning, and we can debate either side of most topics. We love a good argument.”

Differences: “A main difference is Field’s intellect – he‘s truly a Renaissance man with interests, knowledge and understanding of myriad topics. Also, he’s got a determination that I envy; I’ve never known him to quit anything because it was too challenging.”


Mothers and Sons

Gary Solomon Jr., Sam Mickal Solomon, Conway Solomon and Martha Solomon

“I realize how lucky I am to have good kids,” says Martha Solomon, mother of Gary Solomon Jr., president of the Solomon Group and managing director of Le Petit Théâtre; Sam Mickal Solomon, a student at the University of Alabama; and Conway Solomon, a senior at St. Martin’s Episcopal School. All three boys are community activists and motivated to succeed – their parents started Crescent Bank and Trust, and Martha also works in real estate development and venture capital. The family is close as can be; all three sons say they talk to their mother every day.

“She has always let us follow our own paths, but has a keen eye for our well-being throughout the process,” says Sam Mickal.

Gary Solomon Jr.
Similarities: “Mother and I stay up all night long working. We’re night owls.”
Differences: “I’m a procrastinator, while Mom doesn’t waste anytime.”

Sam Solomon
Similarities: “We are both organized, big-hearted, sincere, cordial and like to have a good time regardless of the circumstance. Also our favorite place to vacation is the beach.”

Differences: “She isn’t a procrastinator and she enjoys reading. She has a great deal of common and business sense.”

Conway Solomon:
Similarities: “My mother and I both enjoy staying up late and doing work, talking with one another or watching TV. We both play close attention to detail.”

Differences: “She is an organized perfectionist, and I’m the complete opposite. She makes sure everything is in its exact place or else she won’t be able to find it, but I can always find whatever I’m looking for, regardless of its organization.”

Martha Solomon
Similarities: “All three of my sons are night owls, like me. Not one of them ever slept through the night as babies, and I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong. I later learned that it was in the genes. All three of my boys have a great work ethic and are very motivated in everything they do. Gary probably has the hardest work ethic but his brothers are following in his footsteps.”

Differences: “I am a perfectionist, a neat freak, very organized and have a Type A personality. Even though all of my boys are leaders, they always leave a mess. I am a background leader or a silent leader, whereas all of the boys are front leaders. I don’t like an audience or to be the center of attention whereas all three of my boys like the limelight and enjoy a microphone and an audience.”


Mothers and Sons

Mignon Faget and John Humphries

The owner of a success-ful jewelry company, Mignon Faget has an incredible bond with her son, John Humphries. In fact, Humphries now works as a jewelry designer for his mother’s namesake company.

Though he admits to being a rebel (his nickname was once “Mr. Bad,”) his mother says, “We both went through rebellious stages at the same time – mine was delayed; his was appropriate.” The two share a creative genius, and Faget is proud of her son’s work. “Keep an eye on John,” she says. “I’ve been designing for 40 years, and I’m impressed by his first collection. There is much more to come.”

John Humphries
Similarities: “Intuition about the moment and ideas. I know we like a lot of the same people and things in the world.”
Differences: “Her forms to me are primarily derived by feelings perceived in her nature. I’m drawn more to structure and process of things by their nature.”

Mignon Faget
Similarities: “We’re both creative, driven and stubborn. We have good aesthetic sense, attention to detail and quality, and we’re interested in how things work.”

Differences: “We’re both interested in the way things work, but my interests deal more with the form and structure of nature, whereas John’s attention is to the engineering of geometric shapes. He knows I’ve always been interested in how jewelry closures work. He made a dramatic breakthrough with his solution of closures by employing the use of magnets.”


Mothers and Sons

Travers Mackel, Fletcher Mackel and Judy Mackel

Fletcher Mackel, a sports anchor, and his twin brother Travers, a senior investigative reporter, are more than just twins: They are best friends with very much in common. They both work for WDSU, and their mother Judy is not the least bit surprised: “They’ve always gotten along. They’ve always been best friends. They went to college together, they roomed together, and they even made the same grades! When they graduated from college, everyone was asking, ‘What are they going to do when they can’t be together anymore?’ But they found a way.” But the boys aren’t just close with each other – they talk to their mother daily and still look to her for inspiration. “Through her actions she’s taught us to handle everything with dignity and in a strange way, humor,” says Fletcher. “She’s battled breast cancer, my dad dying, and losing everything she’s owned in Katrina, but she’s never once said ‘Woe is me.’

She’s handled adversity with dignity and strength and found a way to smile and make others feel comfortable when they deal with hardship.”

Fletcher Mackel
Similarities: “We have the same exact nose!  I have her nose. Travers has my dad’s nose. My mother and I are also both rather compassionate. My brother and my dad (the late Frank Mackel) are a little more hard-boiled … not in a bad way, but they accept less B.S., and I like that. I think sometimes my mom and I wish we were as brazen as them.”

Differences: “My mom loves to dance. My brother and I are the worst dancers of all time!”

Travers Mackel
Similarities: “We’re all talkers – me, my mom and Fletcher. We’re also animated when we talk, and no one will ever accuse us of being shy. But most importantly, my mom is very kindhearted and loves everyone, and I think she has done a tremendous job instilling in us the idea that everyone deserves a chance, and that you should treat people like you want to be treated.”

Differences: “There aren’t many: Both my parents were great role models. If we have differences, it’s usually over politics while eating lunch or dinner – won’t get into details, but let’s just say at times we’re on different sides of the political aisle.”

Judy Mackel
Similarities: “I’m very similar to Fletcher. We’re very excitable and get all wound-up. Fletcher and I can talk really fast. All three of us are very close, and we’re all very prompt. We show up on time.”

Differences: “Fletcher and I aren’t that different, but I think Travers is a little more like his father – a little more laid-back.”


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