By Lauren Pope
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “The footsteps of the farmer are the best fertilizer.” In business, that translates to the daily presence of the owner – the magic formula that makes it thrive.
Barbara C. Waguespack, 85, can still be seen working daily in Leblanc’s Drive-In. She sets up shop in the same booth every day, so she can see everyone that enters and everything that’s happening. But she’s also known to get behind the counter and show ‘em how it’s done. And Barbara’s current husband, James Waguespack, is there most mornings prepping things for the crew.
Barbara’s journey into the restaurant business began in 1978 when her late husband, Lionel LeBlanc, opened the first LeBlanc’s Drive-In. She joined him in 1983, and together they built the renowned establishment. She highlights the importance of doing things right to make them easier, as exemplified by her late husband Lionel’s go-to saying:
“There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the LeBlanc way.”
She also emphasizes the significance of having a well-functioning kitchen as the engine of a restaurant, supported by a competent front-of-house team. Many of the employees are like family, having worked there for 40 years.
The sense of community, connection and purpose by being at the restaurant daily contributes to her overall well-being and demonstrates the importance of maintaining social connections for healthy aging. And while her favorite menu items are their fish sandwich and burger, she understands the necessity of watching her diet. As a result, when she eats at LeBlanc’s, it constitutes her main meal of the day.
Finally, she draws on her faith for strength to keep going. “Without Jesus, I wouldn’t have the strength to keep going. He allows me to grow old gracefully,” she said.
See more stories from the Healthy Aging Special section of the July 2023 edition by clicking here.