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An honor guard member from Barksdale Air Force Base, gives Sharon Breaux, daughter of Sgt. Carolyn Ann Mouton Carter, a folded American flag during Carter’s committal service Thursday at the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Jennings. Carter is the first female African American veteran to be buried in the newly opened veterans cemetery

JENNINGS – The first female African American veteran was buried Thursday at the newly opened Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Jennings.

“We are here today to pay the final respect to Sgt. Carolyn Ann Mouton Carter and honor her military service to her country,” Cemetery Director Dwayne Guidry said.

The committal service was among five services planned for the day, he said.

Carter, 69, a native of Jennings, died March 25 and received military honors during a brief service Thursday attended by family and friends.

Carter’s friend, Mary Ellen Semien, funeral director for Semien-Lewis Mortuary, said it was an honor to have the burial in the new cemetery in her hometown.

“It’s such an honor to have the Southwest Veterans Cemetery here in the city of Jennings,” Semien said. “That is a big honor to me and to Carolyn.”

Semien said she got to know Carter during her frequent visits to the funeral home.

“She was a wonderful person,” she said. “I fell in love with her the first day.”

Carter served in the Air Force for four years, but never bragged about her service, Semien said.

She was a very honorable person,” she said. “And now she is the first African American woman to be buried here. Who would have ever known she’d be the first? It is an honor to Jennings that she will be buried here.”

Semien thanked Carter’s only daughter, Sharon Breaux of Oklahoma City, OK for her mother’s service.

“It’s very hard to be an only child and lose a mother, but we thank you for the service she gave us to keep us safe back home,” she said.

Carter graduated from McKinney Job Corps and later enlisted in the Air Force and continued to serve until she was honorably discharged.

The 23.4-acre site, located behind the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home, is the first for Southwest Louisiana and is open to members of the armed forces, their spouses and eligible family members

The cemetery’s 1,212 ground crypts and 380 columbarium niches will provide a final resting place for 50,000 veterans and their loved ones.

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