Funeral service for Vastie Nelson Shabazz will begin at 1:00pm on Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Escude Funeral Home in Mansura. Burial will follow at the St. Paul Cemetery in Mansura.
Visitation will begin at 11:00am until 1:00pm on Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Escude Funeral Home in Mansura.
A true New Orleans Native, Vastie Nelson Shabazz, was born on Tuesday, February 10, 1942, at Charity Hospital, the youngest child of both Leander “Lee” Nelson and Vastie “Tie” Ainsworth Nelson. The daughter of shopkeepers, Vastie grew up in historic Tremé, in the kitchens of “Busy Bee’s” and “The Rolling 20’s.” As a child, her brothers lovingly called her “Jew Baby” because a Jewish couple would help care for her while her parents ran the businesses. The name remained for the entirety of her life.
An audacious Southern girl, as a teen she had the courage to travel to New York, with a cousin to work. And In 1964, she met and married a professional boxer, and the love of her life, David (Dupas) Shabazz. Together they raised ten beautiful children. More than anything else, she and David were committed to their family. Active members of the PTA, they consistently served as Presidents when their children were school-aged. Vastie often even worked at the schools where her children attended.
Vastie loved the theater and passed along a passion for the Arts to her offspring. One way in which this was done was by picking for them activities with purpose, like music classes, athletics, and the Sea Cadet program. Far from typical, she always encouraged her children to be the best, urging them on in their career advancement and professional endeavors. And for a time, she held a unique distinction, the mother of six United States Navy members all serving at the same time.
Whether working as the once personal Chef to the priests of the Immaculate Heart Rectory, or helping to feed families and children in the neighborhood, Vastie was in the business of caring for others, helping those less fortunate, and robustly supporting St. Jude Hospital for children. Vastie was a phenomenal woman that expressed her faith through her good deeds.
An entrepreneur in the catering industry (who earned a certification in Culinary Arts from the University of New Orleans), Vastie created dishes with the power to shift moods and heal the soul. She cooked healthy food before it became popular. And to her, the presentation was everything.
She is preceded in death by her husband, David Shabazz, whose passing occurred only one month prior to her own; her parents, Leander & Vastie Nelson; a beloved aunt, Eva Mae “Eenie” Ainsworth Johnson; brothers, Joseph Ainsworth Husband, Curtis “Nine” Ainsworth, Jack Downs, Eugene Nelson, Eurreal “Brother” Montgomery, Peary Nelson, and Donnie Allen; a sister, Gladys Nelson; and a son, Leander Omar Shabazz.
She leaves to cherish her memory her sons, Jules (Jeanette) Shabazz, Sr., Raymond (Audrey) Shabazz, Sr., David (Nanami) Shabazz, Sr., Kamal (Shenika) Shabazz, and Rashid (Chantál) Shabazz, Sr.; stepson, Rashad (Betty) Qaasim; daughters, Zina (Otis) Lewis, Alexis (Neil) Riley, Mali (Willis) Bailey, Sr., and Um’Rani (Mohamed) Thiam, Sr.; grandchildren: Jules Shabazz, Jr., Brigette (Lavondric) Luckett, Najja Davis, Mark (Ayana) Humes, Jr., Clarence Smith, Jr., David Lewis, Raymond, Jr., Courtney, and Demetric Shabazz, Brittany (Daryl) Ames, Josiah and Jaima Fentress, Zakara Lewis Shabazz, Kayleigh and David Shabazz, III, Chanquielle Watts, Jovan Espadron, Dajounique and Golden Shabazz, Christen and Saniah McClendon, Anesiah Abron, Marsha Perdue, Khaleelah (Michael) Miller, Willis, II and Leander Bailey, Rashid, II, Gabrielle, and, Giselle Shabazz, Mohamed (Caitlin), II and Aladji Thiam, and Rashad Qaasim, Jr.; great-grandchildren: Kayla and Jireh Ames, Joshua Jones, Jr.,Liam and Rian Luckett, Justice Alexander, Jhalieya Espadron, and Olivia Lewis; along with a host of nephews, nieces, family, and friends.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Escude Funeral Home (318-964-2324) 6608 Porterie St. Mansura, LA 71350.