Saturday, September 23, 2017
Marybell Brazile Bakewell, Matriarch of the Bakewell Family Succumbs
By Sentinel News Service
Published October 14, 2009

Marybell Brazile Bakewell, Matriarch of the Bakewell Family Succumbs

Marybell Bakewell


Marybell Bakewell was born April 10, 1925 and passed away in her sleep October 7, 2009 at Arcadia Methodist Hospital.  Mrs. Bakewell suffered a massive stroke on Saturday, October 3, 2009 and never recovered.  “Mamie”, as she was affectionately known by her entire family was always the life of the party.  She preached “Family First” and anyone who knew her immediately fell in love with her glowing personality.  She was full of life, love, laughter and a lot of glamour.  She was the family matriarch. 


Marybell Bakewell was a native of New Orleans and lived there 79 of her 84 years of life, only leaving her beloved city after it was completely devastated by Hurricane Katrina.  Marybell was the daughter of Edward and Camille Brazile, the granddaughter of Louis and Mary Winnier and Frank and Emily Brazile and the mother of Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. and Pamela A. Bakewell.    While living in New Orleans she was a life member of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, and also had a deep rooted family connection to the Sisters of The Holy Family.  Marybell was a part of 4 generations of women who attended St. Mary’s Academy School operated by the Sisters of the Holy Family.  Her Mother, Grandmother and Daughter were all graduates of this esteemed institution of higher learning dating back to the turn of the century, which was once located in the historic New Orleans French Quarters and later moved to its present location on Chef Menteur Highway.  In fact, Marybell remained friends and stayed connected with her St. Mary’s classmates in New Orleans and in Los Angeles until she transitioned.    


Early in her life, Marybell found herself divorced and a single mother of two children and worked in a garment factory.   She later went back to Straights Business School (an all Black business school in the segregated South), where she received her secretarial certificate.  Shortly after she graduated from business school, her friend, Phyllis Duplicate, got her a temporary job at the National Maritime Union (NMU).  As a result of hard work and determination, she was hired full time and stayed on the job for forty plus years until she retired in the nineties.  Marybell lived in the same home on Prieur Street in St. Peter Claver’s Parish since she was a young girl, married in that home and remained there until 2004 when she moved to the Park Esplanade Apartments after selling her home (a year before Katrina hit the City).  Marybell was also inseparable from her childhood friend and sister-in-law, Delores Brazile Lewis (also Danny’s Godmother – Nanny).  Everyone knew that when you saw one of them, you knew the other was close by.   And, after Katrina sent both of them to Los Angeles, Delores moved with her son, Eric (Marybell’s nephew), so they were able to talk every day and maintain the special bond that existed between them since childhood.  Marybell spent over forty years in a loving relationship with Eddie Trepagnier.  Her Mother, Camille, introduced them after Eddie did some repairs to the family’s kitchen fan.  The family teased them all the time saying that he did such a good job, her mother wanted to keep him around so Marybell agreed to go out with him..  Forty years later, Marybell and Eddie were still together, enjoying friends, traveling to California for Christmas with the family, entertaining at home and watching TV (which they both loved).       


Marybell loved her “Treme” neighborhood and the City of New Orleans.  She had lots of family and friends.  Mardi Gras was her favorite time of the year.  Marybell’s house was the stomping ground (a true New Orleans phrase) for people walking the streets after each parade.  You could get a plate of red beans and rice, some hot sausage, crabs and jambalya and resume your day of walking and viewing the parades.  Her brother, Eddie, was known to have an umbrella waiting to follow funerals that passed their home.  A good old New Orleans funeral with a “second line” procession was a meaningful part of the city’s tradition that Marybell cherished.   “Fun” could have been her middle name.  She also kept up the New Orleans tradition of celebrating “King’s Day”, January 6th, with a Kings Cake (a Mardi Gras colored purple and yellow cake with a baby in it), The person who found the baby in their cake would host the King’s party the following year.  King’s Day marked the beginning of the Mardi Gras season.    After she left New Orleans, Danny had a King’s Cake shipped directly to her.  This helped to fill the void she felt after leaving her beloved city.  She was also a diehard New Orleans Saints Fan; she loved to play cards, Bingo, Pokeno, slot machines and was always ready to hit the casino (even with her walker) at any time with her main casino road warrior and close family friend, Brenda Marsh-Mitchell.  Her family says she never met a slot machine that she didn’t love and you could find her in the New Orleans casinos with long time friends, Gloriadine, Tony and Billy (Danny’s Godfather).   In New Orleans, she was a long time member of a club named the “Diors”, with 12 of her long time New Orleanean friends who got together once a month in a member’s home to play pokeno, eat, drink, laugh and gossip.


“Friends” were very important to Marybell.  “Ms. Marybell” as she was referred to affectionately, “talked” to everyone and knew everyone.  She stayed connected with friends from childhood, school, work, church and in neighborhoods through the City of New Orleans to neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles.  She left an impact on everyone she touched with her witty ways and graceful sense of “style”.  If someone wasn’t her friend, they soon became her friend.  Marybell’s home was always open to her family, friends, and her children’s friends.  Her kitchen was the social setting for good home cooking and the place where everyone gathered to eat, drink, debate, argue and sometimes collapse from too much…..  She stayed connected by phone with her friends even after she moved to Los Angeles after Katrina.  She reconnected with many of her long time New Orleans friends from childhood and from St. Mary’s Academy, who live in Los Angeles.  She enjoyed spending time and socializing with her old friends Marion Carter, Berydlle Franklin, Dave (Roland) and Beryl Davidson who picked her up and took her to Church, luncheons and their club events.  In fact, during the week she passed away, she had planned (with her LA buddies) to attend a tea party, a birthday luncheon, and the Xavier University Alumni Luncheon.  Marybell never slowed down and refused to let too much dust settle under her feet.  She remained active until October 3rd, when she was rushed to the hospital.  One of her grandchildren remembered her by saying “Mamie stayed on that phone”.  Her friend, Evelyn (who also moved to LA from New Orleans), called her every day to check on her.  They were both members of St. Peter Claver’s Parish in New Orleans and moved to Los Angeles after Katrina.  Talking on the phone made them happy and helped Marybell to stay connected to the people she loved.  One of the other friends she made after she moved to California was Anna Maltez, who helped make her life comfortable and who will miss her terribly after spending valuable time with her daily.          


Marybell lived a wonderful life and was very proud of her two children.  Those who knew her can remember seeing her waiving her hands, like a queen, at the Brotherhood Crusade dinners as she was announced as Danny’s Mom.  She was so proud of her son and all of his accomplishments and deepened that bond while living with him and his wife after moving to the West Coast.    And, she was also very proud of her daughter, Pam’s accomplishments, and spoke to her at least 4 times daily to check on her and ask about her day and the most important questions of all had to be answered – “Did you look cute today? – What did you wear today? And, how does your hair look”.  Marybell was a woman of style with a great sense of humor that remained with her until her passing last week. 


Marybell was also proud of the fact that she got the opportunity to travel the world with her family and met dignitaries, politicians, actors, singers and a host of celebrities.  She lived a full life and traveled the world in her later years with her family to South Africa, Mexico, Bahamas, Jamaica, Hawaii, Bermuda, St. Tomas, Turks and Cacous and went on cruises with her friends from home. 


Marybell “Mamie” Bakewell’s loving family included her two children – son, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. and wife, Aline Bakewell, Esq. and her daughter, Pamela A. Bakewell.  Grandchildren included Danny J. Bakewell, Jr., Tana Bakewell, Brandi Bakewell, Sabriya Bakewell (deceased), Donny Brooks, Candy Torres Brooks, Jamie Brooks, Brandon Brooks, Fatima Elswify, Amira Elswify,  six great grandchildren, Taelor Bakewell, Danny J. Bakewell III, Devyn Bakewell, Bryce Bakewell, Donny Brooks, Jr. and Adrian “AJ” Brooks. Her love for over forty years, Edward “Eddie” Trepagnier died right before Katrina.  She also loved her lifelong friend and sister-in-law, Delores Brazile Lewis, wife of her brother, Edward Brazile (deceased), her nephew, Eric Brazile, Paula Brazile, great nephew, Eric Brazile, Jr., great niece, Lauren Brazile, nephews, Lawrence Carter and Vernell Bakewell, brother-in-law, Earl Bakewell (Pam’s Godfather), sister-in-law, Marion Bakewell Carter (deceased – Pam’s Godmother).  Other lifelong friends and family members included Brenda Marsh Mitchell, Tamala, Pamala and Tracy Mitchell, Noel Foucher, Ramona Dupre, Phyllis Winnier, Charmaine Watts, Geraldine, Tyrone and the entire Lavigne family, the Brazile family in New Orleans and in Los Angeles, the Winnier family, Vera Mougeous  (deceased), the Bougeous family, her Prieur Street and 6th Ward neighbors, her St. Peter Claver Church members and all of her St. Mary’s Academy classmates in New Orleans and in Los Angeles as well as a host of cousins, family and friends.   

Categories: Celebration of Life

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