Fuel the brain for academic success at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s dining hall. While you are there, make sure you greet and thank one particular cafeteria employee whose love of service is admirable.
Serving love for 64 years
Angelina “Ms. Angie” Narcisse, who is 96 years old, started working for UL Lafayette in December 1954. Ms. Angie still happily makes her way to the dining hall with a word of wisdom for anyone willing to listen 64 years later.
“Its incredible how wise and thoughtful she is and how much she genuinely cares about the people she serves.”-Gabriel Godet, UL Lafayette student
On an average weekday, Ms. Angie sits on her humble throne at the entrance of Cypress Lake dining hall and offers every hungry student a customized greeting and an invitation to eat.
“You can’t work a mule if you don’t feed it,” Angie tells one of her many on-campus children.
Through the crowds of students, Angie is showered with affection through hugs, kisses, handshakes and even fits bumps. Her smile is unwavering in every circumstance.
“I got thousands of children. I love them all, and I know they love me, ” said Ms. Angie.
Bria Burrell, UL Lafayette student, talks about her daily encounter with Ms. Angie.
The appreciation for Ms. Angie does not stop with students. Employees of the the dining hall openly greet her with hugs. General employees are seen looking out for Ms. Angie through small acts.
Ms. Angie confessed that she is an avid lover of ice cream and gets upset when the machine is not working. When the ice cream machine was on the fritz, a worker quietly set a small milkshake he made specifically for her.
Renee Burgess, general manager of Cypress Lake Dining Room, talks about the “light that Ms. Angie brings into any room she’s in.”
Sarah Cannon, marketing specialist, says that she is constantly entertained and informed by Angie through her wit and wisdom.
Life beyond the cafeteria
Ms. Angie was born Jan. 2, 1954 in Youngsville, Louisiana. She is the eldest of 10 siblings. Her father, Eli Bernard, was a sharecropper who harvested sweet potatoes, cotton and sugar cane, according to Narcisse.
A sense of responsibility was demanded from her at a young age. She distinctly remembered her father waking her up in the morning to help in the field at the age of eight.
She was also responsible for the upkeep of her younger siblings.
At the age of 13, Ms. Angie said that she met her husband, Dolton Narcisse, at a societal ball.
Roughly two years later, Dolton encountered Ms. Angie at a zydeco dancehall and asked her to dance. “He remembered me, but I hadn’t remembered him from the ball. After that, he came every two weeks to visit me,” said Ms. Angie.
Ms. Angie and Dolton were married after two years of courtship.
Ms. Angie gave birth to 10 children. After her husband passed away, she relied solely on the income she received from UL Lafayette.
“I loved my children and disciplined them too, now. I put my children through school. I did my best, and God did the rest,” Ms. Angie explained.
According to Ms. Angie, she was one of the highest paid female employees in the cafeteria at the time. She made $15 a week.
“They paid me what I worked for. I’m a hard worker, and I raised my children that way too,” said Ms. Angie.
Ms. Angie has worked through three dining hall revisions. She spoke pridefully about a time where the dining hall was in O.K. Allen and how her supervisor recognized her work ethic daily.
Angie’s zest of life.
Now, at the age of 96, Ms. Angie’s relentless work ethic makes her self-sufficient.
“The students ask me: ‘Ms. Angie, how do you get to work?’ and I tell ’em: “Well, my baby, I drove.”
Ms. Angie admits although she can no longer do certain tasks, she is grateful for the tasks she can complete.
“I thank God every day. Through the aches and pains, I’ll always be who I am,” Ms. Angie explained.
To many UL employees and students, Ms. Angie is seen as a valuable attribute to the Ragin’ Cajun family. Her famous phrase, “God ain’t done with me yet,” is a declaration that she has many more stomachs and hearts to fill.