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Zelma Lauderdale White

Zelma Lauderdale White
  • April 27, 1923 - January 12, 2021
  • Ponchatoula, Louisiana

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“You watched me grow . You even got to see my babies grow some . You are and forever will be such a big part of my life . You lived a long and...Read More »
1 of 3 | Posted by: Summer Johnson - Albany, LA

“Mama,I know you are now my guardian angel in heaven looking over and watching out for me. I am so proud to say that you are my Mom and that I was so...Read More »
2 of 3 | Posted by: Connie Jean - Prairieville, LA

“Ms. Zelma was a unique & fun Lady to be with. Listen to her stories. Feel her Kindness. She's in Heaven now✝❤ ”
3 of 3 | Posted by: William F. Sweetman - Aurora, CO


At 65 years of age, Zelma moved to Westminster Place after retiring from a lifelong career as a waitress in the Hammond/Ponchatoula area. She did not know she would start her 2nd career there. Moving here led her to become friends and caregiver for many of the other ladies who needed daily help. She would get calls to "come hook my bra", "come tie my shoes", "drive me to town", "make a call", "read a letter". Zelma would lovingly say "these old bats can't do nothing for themselves" yet never said no to them. Always a caregiver.

Zelma passed peacefully on January 12, 2021 @ North Oaks Hospital with her family at her side. She now needs no eyeglasses, hearing aids or hair dye. She is a fierce red-headed waitress at Zelma's Diner in Heaven.

She was born in Phil Campbell, Alabama on April 27, 1923 to Grant and Maudie Lauderdale. Her parents and siblings, Sobe, Jitter, Zola, Velma and Otis traveled to Ponchatoula and this is where she made her life-long home, as the rest of her family went on to live in Indiana.

She met and married Ansel Rodriguez and had 5 children, Patsy, Maudine, Thomas Larry, Curtis and Sheryl. After Ansel died, she met and married Joseph Zerangue and had 2 more children, Connie and Pam.

If you asked her, her children were her greatest accomplishment in life. Family meant all.

Survived by all her children, Mildred Lenze (Tommy-deceased) Margaret Griggs (George), Curtis Rodriguez, Sheryl Achord (Earl), Connie Zerangue Depew (Bobby) and Pamela Rieken (Tree). Preceded in death by parents, Grant and Maudie Lauderdale, siblings, husbands Ansel Rodriguez and Joseph Zerangue and son Thomas Larry Rodriguez.

She is also dearly loved and survived by 10 grandchildren, Troy Lenze, Mike Griggs, Deidre' Henthorn, Aaron Rodriguez, Chava Rodriguez, David Smith, Dana Horner, Danyelle Green, Richard Rieken and Darren Depew. 17 great grandchildren and 5-½ great-great grandchildren.

Zelma was a strong, determined, self-sufficient, loving and compassionate woman. We believe she learned this from her dear friend Ms. Gregoire. She met her when she was very young and since her parents were in Indiana, Ms. Gregoire stepped in as Mother, friend and mentor. The two together were unstoppable forces.

Zelma loved being outside with nature. She kept a small garden and grew beautiful roses and other plants. Her secret she would tell you was "coffee grounds". She also loved Mardi Gras or any parade for that matter and was still dressing in costume at 80 years old. She loved having afternoon coffee with "the old bats" laughing, telling lies, and reminiscing about times gone by. Bold and daring she could and did drive an 18-wheeler and took a cross-country trip on the back of a motorcycle. In 2013, as Zelma stated, why did they wait so long? She was crowned Tangipahoa Parish Senior Queen in Amite. She will live on through our memories that we will pass on to all that want to hear about Zelma. Post Office Song. How to spell Mississippi. Tacky/quirky jokes. Boney fist in the air. Cars called Ole Betsy. "Never ending do you want something to eat or coffee"? Artificial flowers. Country and Gospel music. Putting a "wrench" in her hair. Driving like a bat outta hell. Red Man. Reading the Bible.

We would like to thank the staff of North Oaks Hospital in Hammond for being so caring and compassionate in her last days. We would also like to thank the Council on Aging for being a part of her life. The Council brought so much joy to her life for over 20 years.

Pallbearers: John Rieken, Randall Johnson, Zach Green, David Smith, Richard Rieken and Earl Achord.
Honorary Pallbearers: George Griggs and Bobby Depew.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation at Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home in Ponchatoula, 100 W. Magnolia St., Ponchatoula, Louisiana 70454, on Sunday, January 17, 2021 beginning at 12:00 PM until the funeral service begins at 2:00 PM.

Interment will follow in Sand Hill Cemetery, Ponchatoula, Louisiana.

Face masks are now mandatory to attend any visitation or service at the funeral home. Thank you for your cooperation.

To view and sign the family guest book, please visit www.harrymckneely.com.