Hattie Jane (Washington) Holmes, affectionately regarded as "Ma'am" was born on July 26, 1930, in New Orleans, Louisiana to Otis Washington, Sr. and Ethel Jackson. She was the third child of ten children. Hattie was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Orleans and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in uptown New Orleans. She married Henry Holmes, Sr., and their union was blessed with seven phenomenal children: Warren, Gwen, Marie, Henry, Lucille, Jacqueline, and James.
Hattie got her nickname, “Ma’am”, after her first three grandchildren were born - Tyneeta Morris, Hakeem Washington, and Alkaseem Colar. She taught them the importance of respecting their elders and those in authority over them with a response of “Yes Ma’am" or "No Ma’am.” That name, “Ma’am”, has been carried forth for the past 50 years and continues today.
Ma’am was a woman of faith who truly believed and trusted in God for every aspect of her life and for the lives of her family. She was devoted, respected, and always energized (like the Energizer Bunny) to provide aid and assistance to anyone. She loved her church families in both New Orleans and Dallas and was honored by both of their Women’s Ministries as a faithful and dedicated worker in God’s Kingdom.
Ma’am was a seamstress who loved sewing. In fact, she sewed the gowns for her two youngest daughters’ weddings, Lucille and Jacqueline. In her early twenties and thirties, she did some modeling. For over 40 years, she was a caregiver and a certified nurse assistant. She was a member of the Eastern Star and also participated in the Civil Rights Movement before retiring in 1977.
Ma’am loved traveling, dancing, and hosting family gatherings. Christmas and New Year’s Eve were always special at the Holmes’ family home on Music Street in New Orleans. Family, friends, guests, and sometimes even strangers were all welcomed to stay as long as they wanted, eat as much as their stomach would allow them, and take home as much food as they needed. Ma’am had several signature dishes that no one could replicate, even if you followed the directions of her recipes: red beans and rice, black-eyed peas, meatballs (with shrimp) and spaghetti, meatloaf (with a boiled egg), gumbo, collard greens, potato salad, sweet potato pie, and her famous New Year’s Eve special egg-nog and sock-it-to-me cake.
Ma’am was preceded in death by her parents, Otis Washington, Sr. and Ethel Jackson; her husband, Henry Holmes, Sr.; her siblings - Otis Washington, Jr., Samuel Washington, Nathaniel Washington, Ethel Moran, Odette Stelly, Naomi Anderson, and Odessa Palmer; brothers-in-law, Edward Harris and Lewis Brooks; sister-in-law, Lucinda Brooks; daughter-in-law, Louise Washington; son-in-law, Gerard Edwards; and her three grandsons - Hakeem Washington, Alkaseem Colar, and John Holmes.
Those left to cherish lasting memories include her seven children - Warren Washington, Sr., Gwen Washington, Marie Magee (Wardell), Henry Holmes, Jr. (Sylvia), Lucille Collins (Marvin Sr.), Jacqueline Edwards, and James Holmes (Shameka); siblings, Shirley Mae Harris and Levi Wright, Jr.; 16 grandchildren - Tyneeta Morris (Lathon), Ronald Bogan, Kimya Holmes, Mjamo Colar, Hakeem Holmes (Chauntell), Raashad Colar (Shea), Ayanna Collins-Banks (Lamar), Keiwanda Sylvester (Cody), Rahjwanti Williams (Herbert), Angel Young (Johnny), Warren Washington, Jr. (Brittany), Marvin Collins, Jr. (Kesiha), Koya Holmes, Ahmad Colar, Rasheeka Holmes (Kendrick), and Dymine Guy, Sr. (Keisha), 39 great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and longtime friends.