Larnell Bates and Lynette Bates

Recorded March 28, 2010 Archived March 28, 2010 41:34 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX006503


Lynette D. Bates (47) talks with her brother Larnell Bates, Jr. (51) about family, parenting and good teachers.

Subject Log / Time Code

Lynette and Larnell agree that they have a wonderful family. Their parents Lola and Larnell, Sr. were great examples of service and selflessness.
Lynette talks about the unconditional love her mother Lola offered to all. She think back on a time when her mother opened her home to an alcoholic woman who was frequently on the streets.
Larnell and Lynette talk about how their parents’ values have been passed down to the grandchildren.
Larnell was amazed when his son Jordan was born.
Jordan stayed by Lynette while she battled cancer. He often was with her during her chemotherapy. He still calls her every week.
Lola was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. She lived for three years before succumbing to the disease. Lynette recalls the day that Larnell talked with Lola about hospice care when the family could no longer take care of her.
Larnell credits his mother with the foresight to prepare for her death so that the burden on the family would be lighter.


  • Larnell Bates
  • Lynette Bates



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00:06 Hi, my name is Lynette Denise Bates. I'm 47 years old. Today's date is March 28th, 2010. We're located in New Orleans, Louisiana, and I'm interviewing my brother.

00:24 I'm the brother Lauren L Bates Jr. 51. This is March 28th, 2010. Where in New Orleans Louisiana, and that's my big sister sitting across from me.

00:39 Thank you dear. I'm excited about today because I believe that we indeed do have a story to tell we've come from a wonderful family. And I think that it's important that we tell our story because we have a rich Heritage. So I'm honored to have you interview me as I interview you on today. So I'm going to stop at the first question. Is that okay? And the first one is going to be pretty easy and some who has been the most important person in your life.

01:10 And tell me a little bit about that person.

01:13 I know that this several but I only want to hear about 1, but I can travel down that road too narrow of my life down to one individual would not do justice to all the ones that have had an influence in my life. So my parents would be first Lola take Bates and larnelle Bates Sr. Both have had a great influence on my life. I learn service and unselfishness early for my mother.

01:49 Her service not only through the church, but two other relatives in the family and I'll later in life. I saw it the service side for my father whenever you needed something. He was there he was on time and he came ready to help. So those two would have a great influence on Me Brother Martin and Becky Martin or two others that had a great influence on my life.

02:22 And that would be Herbert Martin and Rebecca Martin and his wife had a great influence on my life. Those are

02:39 Three couples I would say stand at the top of the list but there many others on Bobby.

02:50 And

02:52 That's Bobby Jean take out with the full names. That's that's okay with you.

03:05 And in terms of the influence that those individuals have had on your life outside of Daddy and Mom you you shared the service opportunities for growth are in terms of Herbert and Rebecca Martin what values that you receive from them spiritual side of my life seeing his true dedication and seen the service also threw him. I would say yes.

03:35 The the spiritual side of my life strong influence came from them.

03:42 And you also mentioned mr. Clements. Who's first name? I do not recall at this point. I believe he's

03:49 Dr. John klemmer I can't remember his first name at this time either special gifts with you.

04:00 Making

04:06 Making the

04:08 The neighborhood was a mixed neighborhood and the Clippers are a white Choice family and they made me very welcome in their wife and in their home and that I got a chance to experience and and that influence me to do or patting myself along the same manner as that the way that they treated me that he was Caucasian Jewish and I guess we need to say that you are an African American male. So that's important that that relationship was expelled us back in the late sixties early seventies if I remember correctly in terms of our neighborhood here in New Orleans.

05:01 So let's have the question asked to the person that asked me what or who are the biggest influences in your life?

05:13 Well, I would have to say all parents, of course Lola and larnelle Bates as well.

05:19 Mama had a unique way of loving individuals unconditionally and she was indeed that person in the neighborhood that a lot of people looked up to she treated everyone equally whether they were rich or poor socially Crypt or not and often times when I wasn't ready to receive individuals that Mama would have allowed to come into our home. She politely reminded me that we were no better than the individuals that she was allowing me to come in and cuz I can recall her allowing the local person that remained in the corner grocery store for hours drinking beer after she would get off from work and she needed to use the restroom one day and mama let her come into the house to use the restroom and I'm like what the return do, you know lady coming to the house and even though I was in elementary school, I was like we don't do this and she reminded us of the fact that we do.

06:19 Allow others to enter intraoral home because if there was a need that we can provide a resource for for that person then it's our duty as Christian individuals to meet the need of those who are hurting so definitely mama and then

06:36 Daddy because daddy Lauren L Bates senior because late in life as I struggled through illnesses with female problems are with the breast cancer. He was always there.

06:56 Not only being there in terms of physically wiping away my tears but eats time.

07:05 He shared wonderful stories about family members with us as he nurtured me back to life. And for me, it's also Brother Martin and Rebecca Martin because they taught me that living for Jesus was indeed a life. That would be true and that I would always have to strive to please God and all that I did and

07:35 Believe it or not. I was little sister Diane Thea Michelle Bates has also been a large influence in my life.

07:43 She spend that one person who?

07:47 Has always loved me unconditionally. She knows a lot of my hidden secrets that others don't know.

07:56 And even though she's younger than I am. She's so much wiser than I am and she has taught me about

08:09 The importance of learning in life when it comes to relationships with a male that everybody plays games no matter how old they are including me and that when it comes to a loving relationship, you've got to decide whether or not you like the rules that the other person has.

08:29 And if you like the rules go ahead and play ball and if you don't get out of the ball field.

08:35 That applies not only to love but to everyday life if you don't like the rules you find some rules that you can or you make your own rules.

08:44 And then someone will have to learn to play by yours.

08:49 So is Ezra look at rules in life? What do you see as one of the important values that you've taken from our family life and brought to your family life with Angela your wife and your son Jordan?

09:14 That I would have to say.

09:18 Being a family with would be the

09:21 The example that I saw

09:25 And there was good and bad in that example, not only for our immediate family, but the other families that come into our lives. It was the family sign the the husband and the wife and the children and everybody doing their best to make sure that the family survived

09:47 Well, you know I can indeed say that when I look at you and your family you you are in deed and ideal couple and an ideal family. You have your struggles. You don't always get along but you decide that you're going to disagree but still love one another and respect one another and I admire the fact that you take the time to spend quality time with your with with your family. I'm always tickled pink when I called and I'm like, what are you guys doing me like a we're headed to the North Shore we're going to make groceries are for those of you who are in the the outside of the greater New Orleans area. That's you're going to buy groceries here New Orleans. We make grocery everywhere. I think that's really need that you guys shop for groceries as a family.

10:41 You mean all families are?

10:46 Is usually the man or the woman going to the grocery store, but you guys take that time out 2 to not only purchase the food, but

10:59 Doing post Katrina hurricane Katrina when I came to live with you guys for a couple of weeks and I I watched how you guys lovingly delegated out household tasks. It was nothing for your son to to get into the kitchen. I'll go into the kitchen to prepare salad. So and I watched how you would go off to work your your wife and would go off to work join with go off to school. But when you all return home, everyone made sure that everyone had their needs met on when you would come in late at night and had prepared dinner for you. She made sure that she was up in the dinner was waiting for you in the SIMS house like that and we didn't get that when we were small but I saw how you move beyond what we knew as children in terms of what a loving couple would do for one another and you went one notch up and said, this is what I know, but I can improve upon why

11:59 I know, but I think it's really neat the way you guys love one another.

12:04 But I know it ain't perfect but you still love one another and that's life. We're not perfect.

12:17 What is your fondest memory?

12:23 Our memories in life so far.

12:26 Wow, okay.

12:30 My Fondest Memories are the times when we as a family mom dad Michelle you and I would travel across the United States in the late sixties in the seventies as an African-American family to City such as Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Washington DC and all of us places in Florida, and I can remember it as

12:58 An elementary school student in the what was it? The late sixties early seventies watching our parents buy property in Florida to this day is still property in Florida that nothing sitting on but we own property in Florida and the exposure that our parents gave to us early on in life. I see that I take great pride in exposing the high school students that I work with two opportunities outside of the City of New Orleans. We travel to Houston to Dallas to Florida to Chicago and Washington DC and each time that we travel it amazes me how many students haven't traveled outside of the city when even though we were low-income individuals

13:54 I'll parents sacrifice so that we would have that exposure and now my life is centered around serving low-income individuals who would hopefully be the first to graduate from college in that family's I'm exposing them to colleges and universities outside of the greater New Orleans area, and I was reminded of that.

14:17 No, but that passion that I have in that area just yesterday. We took about our University of New Orleans Upward Bound program. We took

14:28 I think was 32 students down to Violet, Louisiana, which is about 45 minutes outside of New Orleans to service a plantation now get this African American High School students going to serve Souplantation. I see the expression on your face and they too had the same expression. Like why are we going to a plantation Miss Bates we black you know, what black folks did on my Plantation and I said, yes, but when we are arrived in the

15:00 Plantation representative shared with the students of fact that the plantation this small Plantation in Violet. Louisiana was no longer Plantation in it was in the process of being turned over into a community service.

15:16 Center so that the individuals are that Parish would be able to invite in local representatives are state representatives to have places for people to come in to hang out into partying and to Fellowship in to meet and greet one another we were now giving that to a place that perhaps once but seeing is dark and ugly. We were now providing a gradall like to that place. So that's why we were there to turn his steroid history around so I can work in Plantation. I'm new life it in some of your travels with your students and if no one has said and I'm quite sure several people have you have done an excellent job when it comes to exposing them to Opportunities outside the city.

16:06 Katrina came along and became an equalizer and whether you wanted to or not.

16:12 The majority of the people had to leave here that probably would have been born and died here. They were forced to leave and see how other communities are doing and how you can live and survive out of outside of the city that we love so much. So you do a wonderful job when it comes to that. It's because of my parents.

16:39 Yes, I do. I can remember the guys name Mister Ted. The waiter that took care of us when we were there and made us a part of his family, Florida Fair in Florida. Mr10. Yes.

16:59 So I've got a question in terms of just family life in general. You have one son your joy Jordan David Bates What feelings did you have when you saw him for the very first time?

17:21 It was amazement.

17:25 When the doctor placed him in my arms, I looked at his lips.

17:32 I looked at his ears. I looked at his eyes. I looked at his fingers. I looked at his toes.

17:40 And I had to raise my hand because I was saying this one's mine and there's no doubt about it. His features are so similar to mine. Yeah. He looks just like you that was the scary part when I saw him for the first time. I was like, wow, he looks like you he looks like a funny story. We were having Donuts. So I went to go buy some donuts at Dorignac's and the cashier looked at Jordan and she looked at me and she looked at Jordan and she looked at me and I could see her eyes going back and forth between the two.

18:22 And I asked her what was wrong. She said he looks just like you.

18:29 I said he does I never really noticed.

18:34 So that was that was comical. How old is he? He's 14. He's going to be taller than you are. So yes, he will be taller than I am. I think last summer he grew 223 in and he's only 14 hours for he has three more years for more years of growing probably so yes, I had to raise my hand. This this one is mine. I claim this one.

19:02 But you can you can proudly claim him because not only does he look like you physically but he has a heart just like yours. He's a very compassionate young man and Avid Reader and

19:18 Whether I've told you this or not he calls me every Saturday and I X I really don't have anything to say he doesn't have anything to say, but he religiously calls every Saturday just to see what I'm up to how I'm doing and

19:41 I can recall when.

19:45 I was when I had my last chemo treatment and the two of you came to sit with me doing a treatment it meant a lot to me to to watch him sit patiently doing that hour to two hour. As I went through the chemo session and

20:09 Although he would struggle with what should I say to me? I could just see all of the love and compassion in his eyes and

20:20 I just want to thank you for allowing him to go through that difficult. With me to be there for you. And I must say that he was patient without a video game and he was patient without a telephone. I think that day we had a book and he said any read his book.

20:45 I really enjoy having a son.

20:50 I really do and he is I am extremely

20:57 Happy with the way that he's growing up.

21:00 So tell me how has he surprised you.

21:05 He surprised me.

21:09 Because

21:12 I see myself in him.

21:15 I think it was a saying at one time.

21:19 Been there and done that.

21:22 What you trying to do or the game you're trying to play of the game. You're trying to run. I've already done that. I've already played that game.

21:31 And I see that in him. I see the things that I did.

21:38 That he is learning and he's doing so I have to caution him every now and then that's not the way to go.

21:47 You going to hear this and you going to repeat the words later in life to someone else that I've already learned that lesson if you'll listen to me and learn from my mistakes. You won't have to take the same path and suffer the same bumps and bruises that I did but it's it's something that everyone has to learn on their own and some of us will just like I did some of us will take the advice of people that have been there before us and avoid

22:19 The the challenges that life will bring and some of us will choose not to follow him not to listen.

22:27 And take the challenges on what they went through because I'm going through that now and he will find out later in life. Also with his kids or with others that are he can mentor.

22:52 That yes, we can talk. Yes, they can listen or somewhat listen, but the final decision will be theirs as to whether or not they will take that advice and move forward or take the Hard Road.

23:07 Well, I can honestly say that both you and I'll sister Michelle have done a great job in terms of raising your children. Our sister. Michelle has two children Brianna mccastle and Julie and Mikasa when she has a wonderful husband by the name of author mccastle and and they too are great parents and I think we've really been blessed as individuals to have such a great family. We've had some struggles in life, but overall I like it's really been great. It's been awesome had great families around us to give us a great example, so,

23:48 Once that we were related to and once that have been neighbors to us and ones that have come through through life as we journey through life. So we've had we had good teachers are good teachers.

24:04 So speaking of teachers

24:08 In this time, I do want only one one person answer what I can but I will not I will not I will not I will not.

24:23 Well, I won't ask that question. Then let's move to the next question. Then. I'm going back to the Press today.

24:33 Would you give me the names notice how I changed from name to names for share with me the names of

24:42 Teachers who have been influential in your life

24:46 I would say the first one.

24:50 That I can remember at Agnes L both weed in New Orleans.

24:56 I can't remember the teachers first name, but his last name was Mac.

25:04 Ann Arbor and I'll little grade school across the street from our house. Mr. Mac and African-American grade school teacher during that time where we had quite a few and we're going through the Builder time and education. Where are African Americans in the classroom have dwindled to very low numbers and they're starting to climb up again. But mr. Mac was a disciplinarian.

25:35 And we tried our best to play and and do whatever we wanted to but he set the rules and he was a very good example didn't appreciate the example at that time because I wanted to do other things, but now that I look back a very very good influence in my life.

25:57 After that, I would say

26:01 Mr. T show

26:04 On our teacher that we had at McMain who later became an administrator in the school system. Very good example. Mrs. Grey.

26:15 Very good disciplinarian didn't appreciated. Yes. I don't want to see those fingers fine. She would say and remember those words midget Simmons.

26:30 A very fun teacher

26:32 Pain at times when you got out of line a very strong disciplinarian, but I would say that.

26:42 Her style of teaching was one that was for me a softer side of teaching.

26:52 That Drew me and made me more interested in learning but when we got out of line the the softness turned and you got the disciplinary aside of her and you find out that she wasn't playing let's do this. Correct. Let's do it right the first time and let's move on Mary high school. And I think your name is Laura now and I'm 4 years behind you and you graduated and I entered the year after you graduated and I think my name is Lynette, but my first year at McMain my name was Lanell until finally, you know, it's very shy back then I begin to correct them and said no, my name is Lynette always thought it was the nail because you know, your brother-in-law so, you know, I've always followed you but because you were such a great career.

27:52 And I had these big shoes to fill and I think I feel them by now. But anyway, I want to talk to talk to you about Simmons. She was one of your favorite teacher. She also was one of my favorite teachers and

28:08 I graduated in what 80 and today's 2010 and Ruby Simmons and I are still together. She walked me through my chemo. She took me to every chemo session that I had. She's been there for me and you know, she's psychic she is my second mom particularly since our mom is now deceased she

28:32 Pass because of her struggle with cancer, but she was a real trooper. I'll mom and that Lola Bates was diagnosed given 6 months to live and she phone and she farted very spiritual person trusting God and went in and out of remission for about a three-year. And finally the cancer was stronger than her body. But the great thing doing that difficult time with caring for Mom was even though my professional life was real busy our sister who lives out of town. Her life was not as busy and her husband author was very understanding when I had to leave town for professional reasons. I was just to Michelle would come in town and help you to care for Mama and doing mom's latter days.

29:25 Is you know the hospice individuals assisted us with caring for Mom at home? And when they care at home became too great became too great. Rather. One of my Fondest Memories that I have in terms of taking care of mama was the day that you Michelle and I decided that

29:45 The care for Mama was too great for us to handle that homegirl. Remember the end.

29:53 You took on the role of sharing with Mom of the thought that we would have to place her in hospice and I can remember.

30:01 You're going into her bedroom.

30:04 And I could see you from down the hall and both you.

30:12 Mama with leading out of the bed and you were leaning into the bed and both of your heads were touching your foreheads were touching.

30:22 And that was just a beautiful picture for me because I could see that you were both in agreement and she was okay with us releasing her the hospice which that was her decision to go. We just didn't want her to be there and when you came out and we ask for what did she say? And you said she said, okay and

30:44 She was more okay with it than us because after releasing her to hospice on that particular occasion that next early morning. This is when she released her spirit and went on to heaven and remember that I never.

31:03 You know, I don't like looking at dead bodies, but

31:08 When I ran back to the hospice facility, but first of all, I was a little angry because you know, it's about 3 or 4 in the morning and I was with us on it snowball I can think of a first name right now cuz I'm a little nervous. Well when I woke her up to tell that Mama was passing, you know, she went in the bathroom and start brushing your teeth. I was like a snowball my mother is dying to get out of the bathroom when I get to the hospice. But anyway when we got there mom had already expired and it was it was nothing for me to go up to her and kiss her and just say bye baby girl in

31:45 That was the first time that I've ever been comfortable around a dead body.

31:52 Very first time

31:56 I didn't know that very first time but I'm headed chance to to thank and it looks like the biggest influences from teachers have been the ones that established a discipline and I'm thinking back and I would have to add coach Mark. I'm and mrs. Markham to that list.

32:23 I can remember in gym class. He would have us doing military drills.

32:30 And I hated it hated it because everybody else was out playing football basketball all the recreational type Sports and we would be in the building doing military drills left face right face, March.

32:50 And I couldn't wait to get out of his class.

32:54 Little did I know leaving his class. I didn't know at the time but his wife also taught and I was a student her and her class and she was strict with the discipline just like it was but looking back at those instructors. Those teachers are the ones

33:20 That I love the most.

33:23 Because I can draw back on what they taught me at that time.

33:29 And use it to go forward in my life.

33:32 I really appreciate.

33:35 Those teachers now I really do.

33:39 Great great for discipline is important for you. Yes. It's a solid foundation and its you can stay away from it. But you have a foundation to come back too. And if you don't have it you completely lost.

33:59 Well, I'd like to.

34:03 Somewhat move away from

34:07 Perhaps the traditional type questions that are perhaps

34:13 What to the table doing these particular sessions and I have four hats are strange question at this time, and that question is

34:22 What animal best describes your life?

34:27 Yep, I see the look.

34:33 I've never really thought about that I think about it.

34:37 You going to Spring me a question on me at this time where it's going to take a 3 seconds? I can see you're going to allow me.

34:51 Give me another question. Let me think about that one a while.

34:55 That was that was a question your animals best describe your life.

35:04 Since we are on the animal track, I think we better make it up there before 5. Maybe I can come by sometime here.

35:11 And then you probably

35:14 What a y that question well because I enjoy watching National Geographic and if you look at their episodes and watch the animal kingdom, they really behave just as we do as humans if you look very closely at them.

35:34 Or is it the other way around I don't have I told you I've had chemo and my system so some things I just can't handle in my brain. I'm going to

35:47 By that one from you, but don't use that too many times as you can.

35:59 I like the question. I asked don't have a response at this time. I don't I

36:06 I'll send you an email. Thank you. I appreciate.

36:17 And to return to something that the two of you were just talking about it occurs to me that it would take incredible discipline emotionally and intellectually to have had the conversation that you had with your mother about hospice, and I'm wondering

36:33 What did you say to her when you had that conversation?

36:38 It was not a lot of talkin it was.

36:44 Let me give you a little bit more information.

36:48 My mother gave me an example.

36:53 Upper pairing

36:55 Ford F and eternal life the best example that I could probably have on the planet.

37:04 She

37:06 Took matters into her own hands.

37:10 She paid for the entire.

37:15 Funeral process

37:17 She made sure that all of the decisions were made. She made her own decisions.

37:25 She made sure that it was paid for.

37:28 She

37:33 She stared death in the face and all those she was angry.

37:39 She fought back as long as she could she wanted to she wanted more time.

37:47 To enjoy retirement and her first grandchild. Yes and grandchildren to come after that.

37:58 But being prepared getting yourself ready spiritually getting yourself ready.

38:05 Financially getting your family ready for the event that you know is going to change their lives.

38:14 I truly appreciate what she did.

38:18 And I took it upon myself to Champion the cause and and spread the word to other family members.

38:25 We came here and someone else paid for it.

38:30 When we leave here, that's our financial obligation.

38:34 So we should prepare.

38:37 And have things the way that we want.

38:41 So that the decision process is already made and when the family members are grieving they don't have to take that responsibility and and make decisions at that time.

38:53 You know what you want when you leave here, you know, what type of funeral you would like to have?

39:00 Pay for it.

39:02 And make the decisions and if anything is going to change that would be on someone else but the foundation is laid because you have made the decisions.

39:15 And the only thing you have to do is follow the plan that's been laid out. So I love the fact that my mother did that and I wish other families are had the opportunity to experience death.

39:36 And

39:38 The continuing of the family after a loved one is gone with that process instead of

39:46 What do we do next another words prearranged funeral your Range Funeral get your turn and get your will have all of that settled while you can make the decision to one else does not have to make a decision on the distress.

40:03 Well, this is very awesome. We've learned a few new things about one another and I truly truly. Thank you for this opportunity to sit down and share a life story with others. I love your whole bunch and you've always been a wise person continue to grow in wisdom and may God's peace forever be with you. Thank you for this opportunity. I was surprised when you called a little bit hesitant.

40:37 You tried to prepare me for it. But once again, I made the decision not to prepare myself, but I believe it's come out pretty very pretty. Good day. Write. Thank you very much. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about family and my son and my wife one of the one of the main reasons why my son is done. So well is because she has put a lot of time. She's been very dedicated in and put forth tremendous effort and raising a very very very fine son. So I do appreciate that a whole lot. I thank you for this opportunity to talk with you and to tell others about small snapshot of Our Lives.

41:28 Love you very much, too. Love you back.