Published on April 16, 2018
Twenty-five years ago, Marie Lobre began bringing a group of individuals to area nursing homes to perform round dances and line dances. The group, which came to be known as the Silver Liners, is still dancing today!
The Silver Liners go to nursing homes and other senior centers, including Catholic Charities’ Greenwalt Adult Day Healthcare Center, to perform for participants and residents. They don matching outfits and dance to music that reflects the season (Mardi Gras, Christmas, Halloween, etc.).
In 2006, the group gained a new member in Laura Mohajerin, who was new to New Orleans, but not to dancing.
She was already part of a line dancing group in her home town. When she moved to New Orleans, she contacted the New Orleans branch of the National Council on Aging and learned there was also a group of seniors dancing in the area.
She quickly became friends with Marie Lobre and began leading Marie’s dance classes when she became unable to do so herself. She also met Louella Lange, another Silver Liner, who was active at the Thomas C. Laughlin Senior Center (formerly the Pink House). Louella and another group of seniors made prayer pockets, which the Silver Liners began giving to those at the senior centers at which they danced.
A lot of what the group wears or hands out was donated to them, including the prayer pockets. They pay for some things on their own, but the money and the time they spend is more than worth it.
“What we get out of it is so much more than we could ever put in,” Laura says. “It’s not even about how well you dance. It’s about your interaction with the audience.”
She often tells the dancers that it doesn’t matter if they mess up as long as they don’t frown – the seniors in the crowd feed off their energy.
Laura remembers one specific Christmas that the group danced at Greenwalt. “When we got there, this one participant, he was so grumpy and didn’t feel well,” she recalls. “After we danced, I looked over and he was smiling. We made him feel better.”
At each performance, the very last number is performed to “God Bless America.” Laura says it’s touching to see everyone sing along without even being prompted.
The group practices on Mondays and Fridays at the Thomas C. Laughlin Senior Center in Jefferson and on Saturdays at the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Kenner. The Silvers Liners currently have fifteen members, but they’re always looking for more – the only membership requirement is to be 60 years of age or older!
Thank you for your service, Laura!