Mrs. Louisa “Dorsey” Cezair was born in 1900.
Louisa Cezair’s father was a Chinese immigrant named Afat. And her mother Margaret Strong was a mixture of local Amerindian and African.
Louisa had one (1) sister named Henrietta, and two (2) brothers, Emerit Mendez and Montbroom Mendez.
Louisa’s primary education was gained at the Arima Girls Roman Catholic School.
And her childhood interest became centred around the Santa Rosa Catholic Church.
Because of her Amerindian blood, she partook in the Arima Amerindian cultural activities, to keep the culture going.
Serving her community became a major part of Louisa’s life.
She envisioned a respectful and harmonious society and shouldered that responsibility.
The older generation before and during her time was the embodiment of community building.
They were the ‘village uncles and aunts’ who raise up the children as a collective parental institution.
Remember the saying – “It takes a village to raise a child.”?
Well instructing the youths in proper social behaviour and mannerism was one of her foremost principles.
She stressed the importance of respecting the elders in her Providence Circular “Dog Patch” community at all times.
Her love for children and their upbringing was to personally affect her very own children.
Louisa Cezair had all together twelve (12) children.
With her first husband, Mr. John she had Louise and Cecil. Cecil died in World War 2.
Photo of Mr. Leotaud and Mrs. Louisa Cezair
Then with Leotaud Cezair, she had Elaine; then Percival, better known as ‘Percy’; then Erma who died around age 12 or 13; then Cleo; after which the baby Courtney died.
Shen then had Michael who contracted polio as a child. Then another one of her babies died. Thereafter she had Lennox, Francis and finally Tony.
Louisa Cezair served during the tenure of Charles Netto, former Mayor of Arima in the late 1940’s, early 1950’s.
She was initially an Alderwoman, and then contested for and won as a Councilwoman in the Arima Borough Council.
Thereby making history by becoming the first woman Councillor in our Trinidad and Tobago nation, and in the Caribbean.
After resolutely serving her beloved Arima in the Arima Borough Council, Louisa was a great influence in her 2nd eldest son Percival “Percy” Cezair.
Percy went on to become one of Arima’s most notable Mayors in terms of the infrastructural development of Arima, which included the construction of the Arima Velodrome.
Percy Cezair in the photo with Dr. Eric Willliams, former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
Percy was an industrial relations consultant, a former president of the Federation of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and served as CEO of BWIA, Head of the Port Authority Services, and was initially in charge of the National Lottery Board. He was also a keen businessman and a newspaper columnist for many years.
Louisa’s first child Louise, her son, Dave McIntosh became a doctor, he attended Stanford University in LA. Now retired, Dave served as head of the Environmental Management Authority in Trinidad and Tobago.
Louisa Cezair’s daughter Elaine Mayers had a son who became quite popular with his songs. Richard “Nappy” Mayers was well-known in the nation’s music industry as a composer, musician, arranger and producer.
His evergreen song “Bring Back ‘The Old Time Days’” is alluded to his growing up years living in Providence Circular.
Dr. Lincoln Bartholomew, son of Cleo Cezair-Batholomew, his education consisted of BS at City College of NY, MD at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters of Public Health Columbia University.
Dr. Lincoln has served for over 20 years as a General Internal Medicine Physician.
He is presently Associate Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in New York.
Louisa’s son Francis served as a qualified international FIFA football referee. And was also a customs clerk for the Arima Printing and Packaging Company.
Louisa’s last child, Tony Cezair has been an ambassador for our pan instrument in different parts of the world. And has been a strong influence as pertains to our Steelband culture.
Tony in his musical career was a leader and drummer with the World Whirls Combo, and captained the Melotones steel orchestra of Providence Circular “Dog Patch”. He also played for Desperadoes.
His love for the pan instrument is known in local circles for he helped serve the local pan sides.
He went to Jamaica, and under the auspices of Edward Seaga taught steelpan playing there for over 35 years. He has established a pan culture in schools in several states in the USA.
Louisa was a strong supporter of her husband Leotaud. He was an overseer in the Works Department in North and East Trinidad.
He designed the street layouts in the districts of Laventille and Nettoville, Arima.
Leotaud suffered a stroke and he was often seen in his wheelchair together with Louisa on their front porch at their home at Providence Circular.
Louisa attended to her husband faithfully all those years together.
All children on passing in front of 27 Providence Circular and seeing the ardent, unstinting and dutiful Louisa Cezair, knew instinctively that they needed to pay their respect.
Which in actual fact was a part of their very own proper upbringing, even though we did not know it at the time.
Because of her courageous, steadfast and unwavering care for the younger generation she was known as the unofficial matriarch of the Providence Circular “Dog Patch” Neighbourhood.
These children who have grown up into respected men and women of the world owe a debt of gratitude to this indomitable woman.
Her fervent efforts are seen in these adults, one of whom is Edward Metivier who was born and grew up as an adult in Providence Circular, and who also became a Mayor of Arima.
Edward “Eddie” Metivier still remembers some of these encounters with the resolute Louisa Cezair.
And one of her grandchildren – Michael “Junior” Cezair who fondly and tenderly still refers to her as “Ma” shares that his life is immeasurably enriched because of her – in terms of his values and integrity.
He shares that his childhood years during her official days as a Councilwoman leaves a lasting impression and influence on him. Because of the wonderful, kindhearted, nurturing and loving person she was to him.
And this exemplary image of her lingers on in our memory of her.
Louisa Cezair is known for her dedication in the raising, training, and her overall parenting of her children. She embodied an untiring work ethic. That her offspring have gone on to serve the world steadfastly is a true testament to her unbounding spirit and fortitude.
The family of Louisa Cezair has graciously and generously contributed to this excerpt of her life.
Those who were primarily instrumental in contributing and collaborated have been Louisa’s daughter, Cleo Bartholomew; Cleo’s son, Dr. Lincoln Bartholomew; Louisa’s son, Tony Cezair; and Louisa’s grandchild Michael “Junior” Cezair.
Mrs. Louisa Cezair died in 1977. Her spirit of tenacity still lives on in us even to this day.
Penned by Kazim Abasali 13th July, 2020
Invaluable, enormous credit must be paid to all here mentioned:
- Our former Arima Mayor – Edward ‘Eddie’ Metivier
- Lynette ‘Lyn’ Quamina
- Penelope ‘Penny’ Bhawanie-Rojas, Pheniola Bhawanie-Hislop and Charles Bhawanie (RIP)
- Our members of our entire Providence Circular Dog Patch Group.
All of whom provided me overwhelming, tremendous support. And without whom this would not at all been possible. Thanks and appreciation to you all.
For this is how this whole project started and has evolved over the years, and continues to do so presently.
Kazim Abasali is a multimedia artist who enjoys creating his empowering and inspiring art, music, videos, ebooks, published articles, and websites, for himself and others. To access his artistic projects, kindly visit his website.
“Empower with Art” – Hearts empowering lives.