Catherine Degan Chrestia passed away peacefully at the wonderful age of 101 surrounded by family members on September 4, 2019.
She was preceded in death by her husband, August Albert Chrestia; her parents Sidney Wallis Degan and Pauline Thomann Degan; her sister Emelia Degan Fourmigue (Louis), her brothers, Sidney Wallis Degan, Jr. (Marion) and John Thomann Degan (Joyce). She is survived by her sons, John August Chrestia (Rickie Taylor) and Sidney Albert Chrestia (Sharon) and four grandchildren - Ariane Chrestia Brennan, Jeffrey John Chrestia, Adam Albert Chrestia, Clayton Charles Chrestia, and two great-grandchildren Riley Mains Brennan and Caitlin August Brennan. She was the mother-in-law to Sharon Chrestia and Vicki Roussel, as well as Aunt to her beloved nieces and nephews – John Degan Jr., Sidney W. Degan (Nancy), Kay Landry (Joseph), Michael Degan (Donna), Joanne Degan, Dennis Degan, Douglas Degan (Audra), Mary St. Germain (Don) and multiple great-nieces and nephews.
In 1939, Catherine married her high school sweetheart, August Chrestia. August then served as a bomber pilot in WWII and was shot down over Europe and held as a POW. For over 2 years, she waited for the love of her life to return. Upon his release, the couple remained in New Orleans and raised two sons.
Catherine was a devoted wife, mother, and avid gardener. Following her husband’s death, she accepted a position in the Public Information Office of Mayor Moon Landrieu, where she was invited to stay on for the next three administrations. She served on the Board of the French Quarter Festival, as well as the Board of the City of New Orleans Albania Plantation. Catherine loved organizing the ‘Mayor’s Day at the Races,’ as well as serving as the Mayor’s representative at Carnival organizations and presenting the Keys to the City to numerous foreign dignitaries.
After retirement, Catherine continued to actively volunteer for over 20 years at The Audubon Institute, Children’s Hospital and the French Quarter Festival. She was thrilled to travel extensively in Canada and Europe with friends and family. Catherine enjoyed dining out, a good white wine, hosting family dinners, birthday celebrations at the Fairgrounds and her Saints! She was proud of the fact that, at one time, she and her sister were the two oldest living original season ticket holders.
The family would like to thank Dr. John Wise and his entire staff, as well as the caring team at Peristyle Residences Metairie Heights and The Sanctuary at Passages Hospice. Catherine was laid to rest during a private ceremony on Monday, September 9th. Remembrances may be expressed by Masses said in her honor
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