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Louisiana veteran about to celebrate 107th birthday

The Victory Belles singing "Happy Birthday" to Lawrence Brooks at the World War II Museum for his 105th birthday two years ago. Photo: WGNO

The Victory Belles singing "Happy Birthday" to Lawrence Brooks at the World War II Museum for his 105th birthday two years ago. Photo: WGNO

NEW ORLEANS — Lawrence Brooks has seen a lot in the more than a century he’s been alive.

The New Orleans man was born in 1909, according to WVUE. He was raised on a farm in Norwood, Louisiana, alongside 13 siblings.

Brooks left Louisiana to serve our country overseas during World War II in the 91st Engineer Battalion.

According to WGNO, he is one of the oldest veterans in Louisiana.

But life wasn’t easy as an African-American, he told WVUE.

“You couldn’t go in the restaurant. You couldn’t go in there. You had to reach for it and get it out the back window.”

He lived to see the end of the Jim Crow laws and kept on living to see our country’s first black president.

“I didn’t think it would ever happen, but it did,” he said. “Things have changed a whole lot.”

He retired from his job as a forklift driver in 1974 and continues to marvel at the many changes that have taken place in the country, such as cellphones and less modest styles of dress for women.

Brooks was 95 years old when Katrina hit New Orleans, but that wasn’t enough to take him from this world. A helicopter rescued him and his late wife from the roof of a church.

As he gets ready to ring in 107 on Sept. 12, we wish him all the best in celebrating a long, accomplished life!