LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was a milestone birthday for a Lake Charles lady who turned 100 years old. Celebrating with family and friends she tells us the secret to a long and happy life.
It's something Elizabeth Pete Orphey has done quite a few times. Surrounded by family and friends she's celebrating her 100th birthday.
A farmer's daughter, Orphey recalled her early years on the farm with her 12 brothers and sisters.
"I grew up in Ville Platte. It's a real Cajun area. At that time there were not many black people in Ville Platte. My daddy's daddy was Cajun and he was one of the only black landowners so he gave my dad some land and he farmed," said Orphey.
She went to school for a little while before deciding it wasn't for her.
I came home one day and I told my daddy I didn't want to go to school and he said if you don't want to go - don't go. He put me in the field. I did anything a man could do in the field. Plowing, picking - I would do anything," said Orphey. "Although I didn't have a formal education I had a lot of knowledge. It was all in my head. That's all I needed. Plus, I loved to work."
That hard work ethic followed her to Lake Charles. After her marriage to the late Charles Orphey she continued to work cleaning houses until she was 93 years old.
"I worked hard. I never wanted for anything. I bought my own property, my own house and car," said Orphey.
Now the oldest of her two remaining sisters, Orphey joked she's in better shape than they are.
"I always took care of myself. And like I said I worked for all those years so that kept me going. I'm thankful I'm still able to live by myself and do for myself," said Orphey.
She said the secret to life is to laugh often and do what you can to help others.
"Be honest to people. Help people. My daddy would help anybody and I took after him," said Orphey.
Orphey and her husband never had any children, but has a lot of nieces and nephews to keep her busy.