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Jeanerette woman celebrates 103rd birthday - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Jeanerette woman celebrates 103rd birthday

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Jeanerette resident, Maria Erna Rodriguez or as her family calls her, "Mama Erna," is celebrating 103 years of life.

"Feliz cumpleaños Mama Erna," her family sang in her native Spanish tongue.

She was born in El Salvador on February 22, 1915. She moved to New York City in her forties, where she worked as a seamstress for many years.

"She made my wedding dress, she made my sister's wedding dress," said one of her granddaughters, Sandra Marks.

Rodriguez made her way down to South Louisiana in the 70's and her family still lives today.

"She has eight granddaughters and two daughters and a son, and all her great grandchildren, I think she has 12 or 13, and it's still growing," said another of her granddaughters, Dina Rodriguez Landry.

Through the years she has held many titles: wife, mother, friend, and also a very active grandmother.

"She loves to walk, maybe that's what it is to stay young," said Marks.

"I remember my grandmother always walking from her house to my house. I mean it's a mile from her house to my house and she would walk it every day and I think she stopped at 98 or 99, so yeah she's put in a lot of miles throughout the years," reminisced Rodriguez Landry.

Perhaps another one of her secrets to a long life...

"Oh, and she loves her wine, red wine," laughed Marks.

Living for as long as Rodriguez has is not always easy, but her family says she does so every day with grace and a big smile.

"I never saw her get mad at all, I mean you really have to push her buttons to make her mad," said Marks.

"It's just awesome that her memory and her hearing and she's still mobile and all that good stuff. We're just really blessed, we're really blessed with her," said Rodriguez Landry.

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