In memory of
Irene Rita Breaux Griffin
In memory of
Irene Rita Breaux Griffin
Irene Rita Breaux Griffin, 77, a lifelong resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, transitioned and earned her heavenly wings on September 3, 2020, at home surrounded by family. Irene was born on August 12, 1943, the fifth child to the late Theresa Jefferson Breaux and Percy Breaux, Sr., at her family's home on St. Vincent Street in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. She was baptized as an infant at St. Catherine of Sienna Church on September 25, 1943. Irene accepted Christ at an early age and was a devoted parishioner of St. Mary of the Angels Church. She participated in various Church activities, faithfully attending weekly Sunday Mass, until her health prevented her from doing so. An early reader, Irene excelled academically in school. She attended St. Catherine of Sienna and Lowery School in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Four years after her mother's death, Irene moved to New Orleans to live with her eldest sister, Dorothy Mae and her family in the fall of 1959, establishing special bonds with Leo, Jr., the late Eugene 'Tony,' her godchild Gregory, Melvin, and Jo Iris. She completed the remainder of her 10th-grade year at Booker. T. Washington, and later transferred to McDonogh #35 High School where she graduated in 1962 with honors. Despite her move to New Orleans, she would travel home to Donaldsonville frequently to spend time with her younger siblings, father, and grandparents-whom she loved dearly. On January 28, 1963, she married the late Robert Lee Griffin, Sr., from this union eight children were born-Velda Marie, Theresa Anastasia, Robert Lee, Jr., Rodney Paul, Michael Todd, Tayakanya Makeba, Shana Maria, and Shane Mark. Irene was a dedicated and caring mother to her children while making tremendous sacrifices to support them in pursuing their dreams. She worked at Hotel Dieu Hospital for a short period and completed some college courses at Southern University in New Orleans. After the death of her husband Robert in 1984, Irene committed her life to her children, embracing every moment with them on milestones achieved. Irene demonstrated an unconditional outpouring of love for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who affectionately referred to her as "Mommie," and unrelenting love and support to her siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends. Many of her children's friends also became her children too, thus becoming a mother of many. Irene had a passion for sewing and crocheting, and was a master cook in the kitchen. She enjoyed writing, studying history, and conducting research-memorizing and documenting family stories and folklore, both shared and observed. She always had a notepad within reach to write poems and daily reflections, and document family genealogy. She was known as the family historian. If there were any fact-checking needed, it was verified by Irene. During the mid-1980s, Irene became actively involved in tenant rights organizing, joining the Iberville Public Housing Resident Council, and later the New Orleans Citywide Tenant Council. She advocated to improve the rights of the tenants and substandard housing conditions and instituted programs to support the lives of women, children, and elderly residents. Irene became the voice for the community after being elected as the President of the Resident Council in 1989. She met with various politicians and housing officials locally and nationally to address public housing concerns, secured funding for community programs, advocated for voting rights, and lobbied for jobs and workforce development initiatives. The essence of her passion was always on full display, whether in front of elected officials discussing civil rights concerns, housing conditions, and funding for communities like the one she resided in or among the many families she helped avoid evictions, bury their loved ones, or secure employment. Irene touched the lives of many people who crossed her path with her genuine spirit, generosity, and compassion toward serving others, which resulted in lifetime friendships. She traveled across the country with other housing advocates, attending conferences, and partnering on resident-led projects to support her beloved Iberville community. In addition to public housing organizing, Irene was involved in the advocacy efforts of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the Tremé Community Improvement Association, Welfare Rights Organization, Gulf Coast Tenants Association, Armstrong Redevelopment, and The People's Institute for Survival & Beyond. Outside of her activism, Irene traveled the United States from the Atlantic Northeast to Pacific Northwest and Canada. She hiked in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado's Garden of the Gods and Mount Rainier's highest peak in Washington State, experienced the World Trade Center in New York and the top of the Washington Monument in the nation's capital. Irene relished shopping for fabric on the third floor at Krauss Department Store, and later in the Cellar at Macy's for house goods and cookware. She enjoyed cooking large family meals, spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, conducting genealogy research, and participating in class reunions, luncheons, and special events with her McDonogh #35 classmates. She was present at graduations, weddings, family reunions, homecomings, recitals, parties, church events, and holiday gatherings. Irene loved the color purple, as she adorned herself with its essence as she not only fashioned herself in it but painted her home in its hue, inside and out. Purple was more than just her favorite color but the embodiment of who she was-a royal matriarch. In her last days, Irene enjoyed listening to gospel music for spiritual mediation and strength and reminiscing on her life and childhood in Donaldsonville. She leaves to cherish her memories: her loving children: Velda M. Griffin of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, Theresa A. Griffin, Robert L. Griffin, Jr. (RoSelina) of J.B, Andrews, Maryland, Rodney P. Griffin, Sr. (Tammy), Michael T. Griffin, Tayakanya M. Griffin, Shana M. griffin (Brice White, III), Shane M. Griffin, Sr. (Chaka); her sister Rosia Mary B. Ellison (Willie), brother Bruce Anthony Breaux (Maria) of Lewisville, Texas; her sisters-in-law Elizabeth Merrity, Carolyn Wright, Sherlita Wright, Gail Wright, and Jeannette Wright and brother-in-law Willie Wright, Jr. She also leaves 19 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and devoted friends, including Benjamin (Poppie) Francis, Eva Mae White, Ann Boatner, Pashenia Thomas, and Jacqueline Griffin. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert L Griffin, Sr.; her parents Theresa and Percy Breaux Sr.; paternal grandparents, Irene and Paul Lumpkins, Jr.; maternal grandparents, Charles and Josephine Jefferson; her sisters Dorothy Mae B. Jones, Marie Theresa B. Johnson, Barbara Ann Breaux, and Judy Mae Breaux Fisher; her brothers Percy C. Breaux and Edmond W. Breaux; her brothers-in-law, Leo I. Jones, Sr. and Eddie Fisher, Sr.; and her beloved nephew Eugene Anthony "Tony" Jones. Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend her viewing on Friday, September 18, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., followed by Mass Service at St. Mary of the Angels Church, located at 3501 N. Miro Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70117. Socially distanced guidelines will be observed. A second viewing will take place in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, for 1:30 p.m. at St. Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church, located at 421 St. Patrick Street, followed by interment at Ascension Catholic Cemetery. Service is entrusted to Majestic Mortuary Service, 1833 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, Louisiana, (504) 523-5872.
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Services Provided By
Majestic Mortuary Service, Inc.
1833 ORETHA CASTLE HALEY BLVD
New Orleans, LA 70113
Past Services ╲╱
In memory of
Irene Rita Breaux Griffin
Irene Rita Breaux Griffin, 77, a lifelong resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, transitioned and earned her heavenly wings on September 3, 2020, at home surrounded by family. Irene was born on August 12, 1943, the fifth child to the late Theresa Jefferson Breaux and Percy Breaux, Sr., at her family's home on St. Vincent Street in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. She was baptized as an infant at St. Catherine of Sienna Church on September 25, 1943. Irene accepted Christ at an early age and was a devoted parishioner of St. Mary of the Angels Church. She participated in various Church activities, faithfully attending weekly Sunday Mass, until her health prevented her from doing so. An early reader, Irene excelled academically in school. She attended St. Catherine of Sienna and Lowery School in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Four years after her mother's death, Irene moved to New Orleans to live with her eldest sister, Dorothy Mae and her family in the fall of 1959, establishing special bonds with Leo, Jr., the late Eugene 'Tony,' her godchild Gregory, Melvin, and Jo Iris. She completed the remainder of her 10th-grade year at Booker. T. Washington, and later transferred to McDonogh #35 High School where she graduated in 1962 with honors. Despite her move to New Orleans, she would travel home to Donaldsonville frequently to spend time with her younger siblings, father, and grandparents-whom she loved dearly. On January 28, 1963, she married the late Robert Lee Griffin, Sr., from this union eight children were born-Velda Marie, Theresa Anastasia, Robert Lee, Jr., Rodney Paul, Michael Todd, Tayakanya Makeba, Shana Maria, and Shane Mark. Irene was a dedicated and caring mother to her children while making tremendous sacrifices to support them in pursuing their dreams. She worked at Hotel Dieu Hospital for a short period and completed some college courses at Southern University in New Orleans. After the death of her husband Robert in 1984, Irene committed her life to her children, embracing every moment with them on milestones achieved. Irene demonstrated an unconditional outpouring of love for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who affectionately referred to her as "Mommie," and unrelenting love and support to her siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends. Many of her children's friends also became her children too, thus becoming a mother of many. Irene had a passion for sewing and crocheting, and was a master cook in the kitchen. She enjoyed writing, studying history, and conducting research-memorizing and documenting family stories and folklore, both shared and observed. She always had a notepad within reach to write poems and daily reflections, and document family genealogy. She was known as the family historian. If there were any fact-checking needed, it was verified by Irene. During the mid-1980s, Irene became actively involved in tenant rights organizing, joining the Iberville Public Housing Resident Council, and later the New Orleans Citywide Tenant Council. She advocated to improve the rights of the tenants and substandard housing conditions and instituted programs to support the lives of women, children, and elderly residents. Irene became the voice for the community after being elected as the President of the Resident Council in 1989. She met with various politicians and housing officials locally and nationally to address public housing concerns, secured funding for community programs, advocated for voting rights, and lobbied for jobs and workforce development initiatives. The essence of her passion was always on full display, whether in front of elected officials discussing civil rights concerns, housing conditions, and funding for communities like the one she resided in or among the many families she helped avoid evictions, bury their loved ones, or secure employment. Irene touched the lives of many people who crossed her path with her genuine spirit, generosity, and compassion toward serving others, which resulted in lifetime friendships. She traveled across the country with other housing advocates, attending conferences, and partnering on resident-led projects to support her beloved Iberville community. In addition to public housing organizing, Irene was involved in the advocacy efforts of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the Tremé Community Improvement Association, Welfare Rights Organization, Gulf Coast Tenants Association, Armstrong Redevelopment, and The People's Institute for Survival & Beyond. Outside of her activism, Irene traveled the United States from the Atlantic Northeast to Pacific Northwest and Canada. She hiked in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado's Garden of the Gods and Mount Rainier's highest peak in Washington State, experienced the World Trade Center in New York and the top of the Washington Monument in the nation's capital. Irene relished shopping for fabric on the third floor at Krauss Department Store, and later in the Cellar at Macy's for house goods and cookware. She enjoyed cooking large family meals, spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, conducting genealogy research, and participating in class reunions, luncheons, and special events with her McDonogh #35 classmates. She was present at graduations, weddings, family reunions, homecomings, recitals, parties, church events, and holiday gatherings. Irene loved the color purple, as she adorned herself with its essence as she not only fashioned herself in it but painted her home in its hue, inside and out. Purple was more than just her favorite color but the embodiment of who she was-a royal matriarch. In her last days, Irene enjoyed listening to gospel music for spiritual mediation and strength and reminiscing on her life and childhood in Donaldsonville. She leaves to cherish her memories: her loving children: Velda M. Griffin of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, Theresa A. Griffin, Robert L. Griffin, Jr. (RoSelina) of J.B, Andrews, Maryland, Rodney P. Griffin, Sr. (Tammy), Michael T. Griffin, Tayakanya M. Griffin, Shana M. griffin (Brice White, III), Shane M. Griffin, Sr. (Chaka); her sister Rosia Mary B. Ellison (Willie), brother Bruce Anthony Breaux (Maria) of Lewisville, Texas; her sisters-in-law Elizabeth Merrity, Carolyn Wright, Sherlita Wright, Gail Wright, and Jeannette Wright and brother-in-law Willie Wright, Jr. She also leaves 19 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and devoted friends, including Benjamin (Poppie) Francis, Eva Mae White, Ann Boatner, Pashenia Thomas, and Jacqueline Griffin. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert L Griffin, Sr.; her parents Theresa and Percy Breaux Sr.; paternal grandparents, Irene and Paul Lumpkins, Jr.; maternal grandparents, Charles and Josephine Jefferson; her sisters Dorothy Mae B. Jones, Marie Theresa B. Johnson, Barbara Ann Breaux, and Judy Mae Breaux Fisher; her brothers Percy C. Breaux and Edmond W. Breaux; her brothers-in-law, Leo I. Jones, Sr. and Eddie Fisher, Sr.; and her beloved nephew Eugene Anthony "Tony" Jones. Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend her viewing on Friday, September 18, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., followed by Mass Service at St. Mary of the Angels Church, located at 3501 N. Miro Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70117. Socially distanced guidelines will be observed. A second viewing will take place in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, for 1:30 p.m. at St. Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church, located at 421 St. Patrick Street, followed by interment at Ascension Catholic Cemetery. Service is entrusted to Majestic Mortuary Service, 1833 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, Louisiana, (504) 523-5872.
View Full Obituary ›
Services Provided By
Majestic Mortuary Service, Inc.
1833 ORETHA CASTLE HALEY BLVD
New Orleans, LA 70113
Past Services ╲╱
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