One woman's positive influence on Meridian
July 29, 2001
Louise Tamayo Bryant buried one of her friends last Monday, an old-timer named Paul McGee who died in his sleep just two months shy of his 94th birthday.
Ms. Bryant had cared for the gentlemen, that is to say she was a caregiver who delivered his food, took him to the doctor and generally checked in on him for a long time, until his failing health required that he be admitted to a nursing home.
But she also genuinely cared for Mr. McGee because she has a good heart and a spirit of making a meaningful contribution to the lives of people in her community. She was pretty much forced to handle all of the details of Mr. McGee's funeral and help get his affairs in order because he had no family in the area. A sister is in a nursing home in Chicago, but could not attend the funeral.
Louise Bryant is one of those Meridianites who has built a life around helping others. She delivers meals from Love's Kitchen. She has tended to as many as five old folks at a time, knowing that the emotional toll can be a heavy load.
Even now, doing what she's done for years, knowing all she knows about caring for other people, and telling herself she couldn't be involved any more, she's heard of a man in West End who needs her assistance.
She will find it hard to resist.
She checks in on 87-year-old Edna Evans, who operated the elevator at the Lauderdale County Courthouse for years. "Miss Edna still drives her own car and cuts her own grass," Ms. Bryant said. One day, Miss Edna turned into the wrong driveway, which prompted Ms. Bryant to ask her about needing glasses.
And that was that.
Miss Louise took special care around the old Labor and Sons Cemetery at 35th Avenue and 26th Street, which she said was for years the only final resting place in Meridian to bury black people. Vandals had overturned grave stones and the grounds had become an eyesore choked with weeds and debris.
When she saw a city crew cutting grass and doing general clean-up work at the cemetery on a recent morning, she was so appreciative she took them some bananas, cookies and water. She was thrilled.
She also dropped by the newspaper with a letter to the editor.
The same can and should be said of Ms. Louise Bryant.
People like her are helping make Meridian a better place to live because they care about their neighbors and neighborhoods.
Not that it has any connection with the marital woes of Mississippi's current governor and first lady, this article was culled from the Aug. 16, 1938, edition of The Meridian Star. The clipping included a photo of Mrs. Theodore G. Bilbo under the heading, "Considers Race Against Ex-Mate."
The brief story said, "Mrs. Theodore G. Bilbo, recently divorced from the junior Mississippi senator after she was awarded a $20,750 cash settlement, says she is still pondering running for Bilbo's Senate seat in 1940, using some of the settlement funds to finance her campaign. The Bilbos were married for 34 years."
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3213, or e-mail him at email@example.com.