Thirteen years ago, Anna Norbert came to SMILE to get assistance with her light bill, and ended up on a career path with the Agency.
For Anna, it was yesterday when she asked SMILE Director of Field Operations Irma J. Bourgeois if there were any positions available. She remembers being told to check the board — that is, the bulletin board where available positions were posted.
She was in luck — there happened to be a few listed.
“One was a janitress, one was a food services associate, and one was a food services manager, and so I applied to all three because I was desperate and in need of a job,” Anna recalls.
The culinary class she had previously taken at LSU in Baton Rouge helped the Lafayette resident become Food Services Manager at the SMILE Early Childhood Development Center in St. Martinville — a position she still holds to this day.
It has been a perfect union because Anna says, “I love to cook — I love to feed people.”
But she doesn’t have a favorite dish. “I love them all,” she says.
Anna grew up in Lafayette’s McComb neighborhood. When she was 19 years old, the eldest of 11 children, Anna found herself taking care of her siblings after her mother died.
Even though their father was still there, Anna took care of everyone. “I raised my sisters and brothers,” she says, “and we were a very close family.”
In 1999, tragedy struck again, and Anna found herself raising her two grandchildren after their mother, the eldest of her four children, died in a car accident.
Anna is a giving person, and that is why when asked what is something people don’t know about her, she didn’t hesitate to respond.
“What they don’t know about me is that I will give them the shirt off my back because I love people,” she says, “and I want them to love me.”
Aside from cooking, Anna also loves bingo — that’s her hobby. “It’s relaxing,” she says. “I get my ‘me time’ alone.”