The Rev. Burnell Jacob Robertson celebrated his 97th Birthday on Sunday, June 13.
Robertson was presented with a key to the city and a special proclamation from Parish President Larry Richard.
Robertson was married to the late Gaynell Blake Robertson, and they had three children: Joycelyn R. LaFrance, the late Lorraine R. Doucette, & Emily R. Wright. He has six grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
He's a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in World War II and the Korean Conflict.
He pastored four churches, commuting from New Orleans to New Iberia every weekend for 10 years until he moved to New Iberia with his wife and kids. He was a pastor from 1956 until 1991; his churches were: St. Paul United Church of Christ in New Iberia; Teche United Church of Christ in Morbihan; Belle Place United Church of Christ in Loureauville; and Hubbard United Church of Christ in Gueydan.
He also served as a Chaplin in hospitals and nursing homes, and would visit individuals in the community routinely to check on them, pray for them and their family and give communion to the sick and shut ins.
Robertson is a Retired Director Pastor Emeritus of Teche Area Churches of the United Church of Christ (UCC); a Life time member of the NAACP; a Lifetime Member of the Mount Olive Branch Lodge #37 F&AM; a Past Worshipful Master; a 3rd Degree Mason; and has served on the Joint Commission Justice of Merchants Tri Parish Committee for Desegregation/ Racial Justice.
He had a vision or the people: Fair Housing, Education and Elderly Care, and promoted fair housing as a past former board member of Bacmonilla HUD certified apartments; as an original member of the St. Martinville, New Iberia, & Lafayette Headstart (SMILE); and as an advocate for scholarships, healthcare, & transportation.
Robertson was awarded the humanitarian award from the Bunk Johnson's Committe Jazz Festival and was an original member & founder of Iberia Parish Ministerial Federation.
Now that he's retired, Robertson still enjoys talking to family and friends and visiting (before the pandemic), eating, teaching, preaching, praying, praising and worshiping God, & singing. He sings & prays everywhere he goes, loves family, good food and his cake & ice cream.