When Scotty Ann Gonsoulin climbed atop the boot of the blue Corvette her thoughts were on the great honor she was living out, appointment to the court of Debbie Chauvin, queen of the Krewe of Hyacinthians, which is the oldest women’s Carnival club in Terrebonne Parish.
“She is a beautiful and wonderful queen, I have been knowing her 25-plus years and I love her, she is beautiful outside and in, and she asked me to be a maid,” Scotty Ann said a few days after the parade.
For the first leg of the parade, which for the record was held on Feb. 8, a gorgeous day for the start of the second month. At the place where West Park Avenue meets West Side Boulevard, at the big lot for Cannata’s Family Market, Robyn Gonsoulin – Scotty Ann’s stepson, who was driving her – noticed that something was wrong.
The Corvette was pushed off to the side, and after a few tries at resurrecting the vehicle it was determined that nothing could be done for it, at least not on site.
The parade continued on, and Scotty Ann had a decision to make.
There was the offer of a ride in a police car to the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, where the parade would eventually terminate, and where a party for the court was scheduled.
There was the potential that Scotty Ann could hitch a ride on any of several parade vehicles and floats, transforming what had started out as a glorious Carnival celebration day to the defeatism of an unconventional taxi ride in obscurity.
Scotty Ann would have none of that.
Her dear, saintly mother, Vallie Bernice Matherne, who left this earthly plane in 2007, was whispering in Scotty Ann’s ear, as often occurs during times of trouble.
“Walk,” was the message Scotty Ann heard. “Walk.”
And so she did. Clad in the Carnival outfit worn to honor Hyacinthian’s 64th queen, with nothing but ballet slippers on her feet, yes, ballet slippers, Scotty Ann Gonsoulin began the walk of a lifetime, appearing at points almost like a one-woman-parade.
She walked so that she could wave to her youngest grandson, Drake Fick, and she walked so that she could properly meet up with her husband, Jerry, serving as a duke, of course, and so that she could wave to the many relatives and friends awaiting her. A lot of the gifts she would shower people with had to be left behind. But no matter. It was about the walk.
“Why are you walking?” little Drake asked upon seeing her.
“Because God gave me legs,” was the radiant maid’s reply.
“My husband always said I am so stubborn,” Scotty Ann said. “I was going to walk for my queen and walk for my duke and walk to see my grandkids.”
The walk wasn’t all peaches and cream. At some spots there were mean men and boys who called out things not printable in a family newspaper, the specifics of which Scotty Ann did not wish to disclose.
But there were so many wonderful people, like the little girls she walked up to, who thought she was a living, breathing princess.
“They were calling me, ‘Look at the princess’ and I had to give them high fives. The little girls were precious. I had one little girl blowing kisses and I kept blowing them back,” Scotty Ann said. “Little girls love to see big girls to dress up as princesses, they look at us and say, ‘I want to do that.’”
To the turn at Hollywood Road she walked, and then down the leg of the parade that passes Terrebonne High and then Morgan Street.
Onward Scotty Ann walked and near the reviewing stand, by the old Houma City Hall, her duke awaited, flowers in hand.
She walked all the way to the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, where followed a reception fit for a queen and also a walking maid. But she made no disclosure of what had occurred.
“I saw the queen getting ready after I got back to the Civic Center and I didn’t want her to know,” Scotty Ann said. “It was not about me. It was her day.”
She should have been exhausted. But Scotty Ann didn’t allow that to happen.
And so when the party started and the music cranked up, she danced with her husband.
Ballet slippers and all.
Maid Scotty Ann Gonsoulin heard her deceased mother’s voice say, “Walk,” after the Corvette convertible she was riding in during Hycinthian’s parade broke down. And walk she did, all the way to the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center.