This blog usually features Gretna residents and events, but today’s story reflects on a local Westbank business that has touched so many Gretna lives, one way or the other. Let’s face it, for most Gretna citizens and Westbankers in general, a Mothe Funeral Home service will be their very last visit on this earth!
Selected Independent Funeral Homes, considered by most in the funeral profession to be the most prestigious funeral association in North America and Europe, announced that Boyd Mothe Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Mothe’s was selected for the inaugural award, “Funeral Service Ambassador of the Year.”
Serving the Westbank Community since 1895, last year was the 125th Anniversary of Mothe Funeral Homes. A leader in death care, Mothe’s now enjoys six generations serving families. Not many family-owned and operated businesses can pay claim to such longevity.
Guillaume Mothe began business operations as “G. Mothe & Co., Entrepeneurs de Pompes Funebres et Embaumeurs” in New Orleans, providing carriages for all occasions and undertaking services across from the old French Opera House in the French Quarter.
Emile J. Mothe Sr. became one of the first licensed embalmers in New Orleans and held funerals in private homes. In 1895, he opened the first funeral home operations on the Westbank located at 222 Morgan St. in Algiers Point, which was destroyed by the 1898 Algiers fire. He moved to 40 Morgan St. and later 619 Seguin St. which was large enough to house an Embalming Room, Casket Selection Room and garage for carriages. Additional locations were acquired including 313 Opelousas Ave. in Algiers and 505 Amelia St. in Gretna.
Emile J. Mothe Jr. and Charles J.D. Gerrets Jr. made historical steps in the family business in 1938 by building the elegant Colonial-style home at 1300 Vallette St., the “Showplace of Algiers,” which remains in operation today.
Licensed in 1959, Boyd L. Mothe Sr. saw progress with the addition of the funeral home in Harvey in 1961 and the first funeral home in Plaquemines Parish in 1966. Hurricane Camille destroyed this site in 1969 and the entire facility was rebuilt that same year. This location was again destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.
Boyd L. Mothe Jr. joined the family business in 1979 and obtained his license as a Funeral Director/Embalmer in 1981. The Mothes built the Westbank’s first formal Chapel at the Harvey home, and in 1987 acquired Westlawn Memorial Park Cemeteries in Gretna. In the next decade, they acquired more Louisiana funeral homes, Brown McGehee Funeral Home in Bogalusa and the Falgout Funeral Homes in Raceland, Houma, Lockport and Galliano. In 1997, Samart-Mothe Funeral Homes in Matthews and Cutoff were acquired.
In 1995, the 100th Anniversary was celebrated with the opening of the new Acadian-Colonial style funeral home in Marrero. In 2000, Laurie Mothe Knowles joined the family business, earned her Funeral Directors license and was named Secretary-Treasurer. In 2008, Boyd L. Mothe Jr. became Chief Operating Officer.
Mothe’s now enjoys its 6th generation with Nicole Mothe and Kathryn Mothe Illg as Funeral Directors and Boyd “Beau” Mothe III as Funeral Director/Embalmer.
“You can walk into our business and ask to see the owner and one of the Mothes will be there. We make ourselves available and pride ourselves on traditional family values and traditional funerals where families tell us what they would like us to do and we get those things done. We coordinate religious rites along with the place of interment and customize the needs of the family to create a memorable service.”
“What has enabled us to survive and grow is the ability to maintain a professional business climate within our family structure,” Boyd Mothe Jr. said. “We combine that with a dedication to providing uncompromising service and value.”
Together they will continue to serve the death-related needs of these communities. They have helped to project and expand this family business into the 21st Century.
The six generations include 1st Generation, Guillaume Mothe (1847-1907); 2nd, Emile J. Mothe Sr. (1876-1944); 3rd, Emile J. Mothe Jr. (1905-1960) and husband of Camille Mothe, Charles J.D. Gerrets Jr. (1907-1988). Also were the 4th Generation, Emile J. Mothe III (1930-2003), Boyd L. Mothe Sr. (1933–present) and Charles J.D. Gerrets III (1933-2004); 5th, Boyd L. Mothe Jr. and Laurie Mothe Knowles; and 6th, Nicole Mothe Lawson, Kathryn Mothe Illg and Boyd “Beau” Mothe III.
Mothe’s steps up to be a good sponsor where needed and participates in special events within Gretna and the Westbank community. Mothe’s presented a little levity into their extremely serious business of funerals at the last “Chili Cookoff on the River” event in 2019 when they named their cooking team, “Chili to Die For!”
Good people, a good family who now have 126 years of proof that their business model is successful in serving locals for their funeral service and cemetery needs. Congratulations to Boyd Mothe Jr., Mr. “Funeral Ambassador of the Year” for being honored with this prestigious award.