This 91-year-old is a world globetrotting grandmother who loves traveling

When at home, she makes puzzles with her granddaughter

May 12 at 9:24 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

This 91-year-old is a world globetrotting grandmother who loves traveling
Virgie Naquin has lived in Des Allemands all of her life, but that hardly means she’s content to stay in one place.
The 91-year-old never has been, really. Her travels have taken her to England, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Nova Scotia, California, Alaska and Hawaii, to name a few.

“I’ve never been to China,” she quipped with a smile. “Or Australia. I missed those two.”

Naquin hasn’t slowed down, nor does she plan to anytime soon. The retired nurse was fresh off of a vacation to Pennsylvania, where she visited the Gettysburg Museum of History, went on a river cruise and saw a live production of “Jonah: On Stage,” which depicts the Bible story of Jonah and the Whale. Even on each individual trip, she tends to get the absolute most she can out of it.

“I don’t like to keep to myself,” she said.

Sometimes those travels come with her fellow members of the Busy Bees, a group of traveling seniors of which she is a founding member. Often, it’s with other friends or family. That love for travel began in a simple manner.

“I’d see the bus schedule out of New Orleans, where they’d advertise trips to go different places,” Naquin said. “That’s how I started. Whenever I had a vacation, I tried to get a trip in.”

Her favorite trips included a foray into Egypt, where she was able to see the tomb of King Tut.

“It was kind of weird,” Naquin said with a laugh. “I got to see the remains. It’s weird to think that it was preserved that long. We went way down there … it was fabulous.”

A woman with many interests, she stays on the move, whether it’s traveling the country or when she’s in her home community. She stays fit though regular exercise, but tends to — naturally — vary the form of that exercise up, for example through a recently found interest in dancing. “(Line dancing) was one of the adult education courses at Hahnville High and people were going, so I started to go,” Naquin said. “I’m not good at it, but it’s something to do and it’s exercise. People get up there and we have a lot of fun.”

Her explorations have yielded a rich lifetime of great experiences. Naquin regularly volunteers at St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Des Allemands, where she was awarded the St. Louis Medallion for her efforts. She was also chosen as the first Granny Catfish Queen at the Catfish Festival. She retired from a rewarding calling as a nurse at the age of 78.

She keeps her mind on the move as constantly as she does her body.

Naquin loves puzzles — she collects them regularly and pieces them together, both by herself and with family — she has five children, 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Her trip to Pennsylvania yielded another she’s set to begin soon.

“The biggest hurdle we had … with my four sons and my daughter, it took us about a week and two days to make it. It was beautiful,” she said. “It depends on how many hours you work at it.”

She’s not the only puzzle fan in the family.

“My granddaughter put one together in a day. I don’t know how,” Naquin said.

In a manner of speaking, she’s put those puzzling skills to use at her residence, where she’s fit her numerous interests together to create a beautiful home. Her green thumb has yielded a vibrant garden; her crafting skills adding life and character to the inside of her home.

A member of the St. Charles Parish Council on Aging, RSVP and the Triad, Naquin has found fulfillment and joy in her life by maintaining that “stay on the move” attitude and surrounding herself with others.

“I enjoy people,” she said, summing things up. “Seeing other places, experiencing different things and being with family and friends … I love all of it.”

View other articles written Ryan Arena

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