Opelousas- A Memorial Mass for Lloyd Paul Leftwich will be held on Saturday, June 5, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Grand Coteau, LA. Family and friends are invited to attend the Mass.
Private family Rite of Committal and Graveside services were held on Monday, April 6, 2020, (due to the Covid 19 gathering restrictions) at Bellevue Memorial Park in Opelousas, LA.
Lloyd Paul “Lefty” Leftwich, a former shrimper and drywall contractor, an inveterate harmonica player, beloved husband and father of six, and a man of few words, but just about all of them kind, died in New Orleans on April 3 at the age of 91 due to complications from coronavirus.
Lloyd was born January 15, 1929 in Lawtell, LA, served in the Army, and began a successful career as a drywall contractor in Opelousas after his marriage to Audrey Mae Fontenot of Washington, LA in 1951.
Lloyd caught Audrey’s eye at a dance. She was engaged at the time to another man, but Lloyd’s good looks and work ethic swayed her in his favor, causing her to overlook the fact that he didn’t know how to dance. Over time, however, the couple became a joy to witness doing the Cajun two-step whenever they got the chance.
Work brought the family to New Orleans in the 1960s and Lloyd became the preferred drywall contractor for thousands of apartments under construction in Metairie and for custom home builders elsewhere in the region. The couple built a home of their own on Bellaire Drive in Lakeview, with Lloyd doing much of the work himself. The house was a source of great pride, with enough room to house their large family and a pool in the back that became a favored spot for the couple’s grandchildren and the backdrop to gatherings of family and friends that often involved impromptu country or Cajun music jam sessions.
Lloyd stored his trawling boat "Tonky" on the 17th Street Canal running behind the property. The boat was named for his wife and brought him great pleasure for 40 years. When their father came home from a shrimp haul, all six kids would begrudgingly put on rubber gloves to process hundreds of pounds of the slimy creatures that their mother would turn into a year’s worth of fantastic dishes.
After Hurricane Katrina, the couple moved from Covington, where Audrey and a daughter owned a women’s clothing store and where the Leftwiches had relocated years before the storm, to Sunset--a place that held fond memories for Lloyd. It was the town where his grandmother, Bernadette Hession, had sheltered him from the hard times of his boyhood.
When his hands could no longer play a guitar, the harmonica became Lloyd’s instrument of choice. Even amid the decline wrought by Alzheimer’s over the past several years, he could pick up the harmonica and play his favorite Willie Nelson tune, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” or "Amazing Grace" with little problem.
Lloyd is survived by his wife, Audrey, with whom he celebrated his 69th wedding anniversary in February at the Lambeth House where they both lived; his children Carolyn Leftwich, Vikki Leftwich (husband Bryan Colwell), of New Orleans, Gwen Leftwich Geletka (husband John), of Naples, FL, Paula Frederick (husband Dan), of Bremerton, WA, Don “Kip” Leftwich, of New Orleans, and Tricia Leftwich Joseph, of Houston; grandchildren Jason “Hunter” Core, Emilie Bahr, Sean and Ian Colwell, Chris, Ryan and Danielle Frederick, Paige Geletka, and Ella and Ethan Joseph; great-grandchildren Hudson and Marley Jones; sisters-in-law Anna Foret and Lou Fontenot; cousins Earl Bertinot and Billie Starr of Sunset and his favorite music partner, Steve Vidrine, and his wife, Rose, of Opelousas.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Maude Leftwich; sisters Mae Blum and Peggy Trafficano; brother George "Bozo" Leftwich; and mother-in-law, Odette Fontenot.
A quiet but wise man of faith, he taught his children all they needed to know about excellence, commitment, love, gratitude and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.
In lieu of flowers, the Leftwich family asks that donations for Masses in Lloyd's honor to be said at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 174 Church St, Grand Coteau, LA, 70541, (337)662-5279 and also please consider a donation in Lloyd’s honor to the Second Harvest Food Bank, which is providing food and supplies to the most vulnerable in South Louisiana in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the greatest needs in the coming months will be ensuring that children, families and seniors have enough to eat. Please scroll down below the obituary to click on the Second Harvest Food Bank link.