VIDALIA – Miranda Thibodeaux wheeled her father Jimmy Higgins outside his home on Robert Gray Street near where The Dart landed on Thursday afternoon. A huge gray slide covered the lawn as her nine grandchildren ran between the pool and the slides.
Higgins was born in Wisner on November 19, 1951, but grew up primarily in Vidalia. He said he had lived in Vidalia for 60 years.
He also said times were tough growing up. His parents divorced and his mother broke her leg, so he had to take a job in ninth grade to support the family.
“I didn’t go to university because I had to work and my mother got sick. It was an uphill battle,” Higgins said. “I got out of it by the grace of God.”
Instead of going to college, Higgins joined the service and fought in Vietnam with the United States Army. The Army dropped an education and he got his GED. When he returned from the war, he started working in the grocery store.
He said he worked at Piggly Wiggly, Kay’s Groceries and The Markets. Higgins said he spent around 20 years with The Markets and Harley Loy before working at Kaye’s Groceries for 21 years.
In 2018, he retired from the grocery store after working as a manager for many years.
“It was a job. I made a lot of money and enjoyed working with people,” Higgins said. “I miss the customers the most. I miss Mr. Loy.
Now retired, Higgins tries to keep busy.
His favorite job is entertaining grandkids and neighborhood kids. Pam and Jimmy Higgins have nine grandchildren and three children and have been married for 50 years. One of their children lives in Lake Charles, one lives in Jackson and the other lives in Vidalia.
Passionate about hunting, he traveled all over the United States to experience the outdoors. Pam said they would go as a family to Colorado to ski and Jimmy would go hunting in the woods. In all his travels he chose to stay in Vidalia.
“It’s a good place to live,” he says. “I don’t like heavy traffic and saw this place. It’s slower. »
Like a cowboy from a western, Higgins has a big mustache and he gets cut every once in a while. Pam said he’s had a mustache since they were married. His daughter Miranda said she doesn’t think she’s ever seen him without.
Her favorite time of day is visiting old friends at the grocery store or her nurses who come to visit. Higgins said he had Parkinson’s disease and believed exposure to Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the US military during the Vietnam War, was the cause.
Although he doesn’t like to talk about his time in the war, he enjoys the 4th of July and America.
“I have a lot of respect for the 4th of July because I served,” Higgins said. “Any way you can respect your country and your neighbor, do it.”